Dying Vet Rallies

001 The most amazing thing happened yesterday. I’m still processing it. This summer I wrote about my visit to WWII Vet Nick Gaynos. Nick was on his deathbed. Here’s the column I wrote about that visit.

Yesterday, I went to return his photos. His caretaker met me at the door. “Come in,” she said, smiling. Her eyes sparkled. “Nick’s at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. He’ll be so happy to see you!”

Stunned, I just looked at her. “But. He was dying!” I said. Shaking her head she said, “I know! But not anymore. He’s 96 and the only medication he takes is vitamin supplements!”

I walked into the kitchen and there sat Nick, now with a scruffy beard. “Hello, there,” he said. Tears filled my eyes. I said, “Oh, Nick, I came to see in July, but I don’t think you knew I was here. I just held your hand for a bit.”

His eyes clouded. “Tex died, you know.” (His wife had died on June 3rd.) “Yes, I know. I’m so sorry.” He sighed. “She was an amazing woman.” I spread out the photos that will be used in War Bonds.

He lingered over Tex’s picture. “Oh, I knew I was in trouble when I saw her.” I pointed to a photo of him with two other soldiers. “Ah,” he said. “California. Those two had come down from Washington to inspect my operations.”

Laughing, I said, “It sure looks like you were in charge.” He replied, “Well. That’s the way I always looked.”

We visited a bit and I promised to return to bring him his copy of War Bonds. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

So am I, Nick. So am I.

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