Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Dog Tag

Happy Valentines Day.  On this day, I wanted to write about renovating and love.

There's a series I enjoy on HGTV called If Walls Could Talk with episodes full of stories about new owners of old homes finding things in the house and many times it's part of a renovation or restoration effort.  Over the years, I've found plenty of interesting things inside walls, closets, in the attics, and in those cavities where the flooring and walls meet.  At times the discoveries are valuable, maybe not to me, but to someone.

I shared this story with Renovation Style magazine and the following was included in their Winter 2005 issue. 

...During my work on the house I found a military dog tag in one of the walls.  At first I set it aside, but eventually with stories about military families and war on the news every night, I became motivated to try to return the tag to its owner. 

 I looked up the name in a local phone book.  The woman who answered the phone advised me that she was the widow of the man who had worn the dog tag during his service in World War II.  She lived a few blocks from me and invited me over so I could return her late husband's tag.

She was old, and feeble, but invited me to sit for a few minutes.  She couldn't have been sweeter as she told me about her husband, her children, and her grandchildren.  Her family never lived in the house I was renovating, but as we talked , she concluded that years ago her son must have been playing with the dog tag along with some boys who lived in the house.  That was likely how the tag came to be there.

As we talked, she carefully held and caressed the dog tag and told me several times how glad she was that I had taken time to bring it to her.  She was struggling to talk and breathe, and explained that she had cancer.  She wasn't bitter or angry but seemed very satisfied with the long, happy life she had enjoyed.

We concluded our talk, and I told her I needed to be going.  Because she was struggling to talk and breathe I encouraged her to keep her seat while I let myself out.  However, she ignored my suggestion, worked to stand up, gave me a big hug and said, "I want to get up - because I want to give you some love."   

Thank you and Happy Valentines Day to all the men and women serving our country and the families that sacrifice with them.  Think of this story the next time you see them and give them some extra love.

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