Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Through Another's Eyes

We met a lot of WWII vets in Germany. Our first landlord's father regularly called Kirk a hero because Kirk spied on the filthy Russians who had left him walking with two sticks when he was only 17. Funny thing was that almost all of them exclusively fought the Russians. You'd get nearly identical stories: 'oh yes, I fought in the war. But on the Eastern front. I never shot Americans. Would you like to buy some memorabilia?'

Except for Karl. We met Karl outside his daughter's Imbiss stand - Kirk was still in uniform so it was pretty obvious who we were. 'Sure I fought in the war. I fought the damn Americans! I fought damn hard too until they captured me. Then those bastards sent me to some hell hole they called New Mexico!' Then he remembered that most of the daughter's business came from GI's. 'Americans are okay now though. But I'm never going back to that damn place.'

He was, to be honest, a thoroughly nasty old man. His language was foul, he hated the world (and talked about it for hours whether anyone was there or not), and he didn't smell very good. But when we first stepped out into the blasting heat of a New Mexico summer day, we remembered Karl, and we felt a deep spiritual connection.

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