Monday, May 29, 2006

In Memoriam

This post is in honor of Jack and Asher Sublett, and Willard Chancey, my wife's grandfather who served bravely in the air force during World War II.

On March 13, 2006 my Step-Grandfather, Jack Sublett, a World War II veteran passed away at the age of 80. I have posted the eulogy I delivered at his funeral and a link to an article I found about his family's hope that they would one day be able to give a proper funeral to his brother, Asher who was killed in The Korean War.
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I first met Jack when I was eight years old and my brother, John, was five. We had come to visit our Grandmother, and she invited us to Captain D’s to meet her new “friend.” It soon became apparent that this man was more than a friend. If I remember correctly, I liked him by the time we left Capt. D's, but maybe that’s revisionist history on my part. John was still skeptical. I guess he was willing to exert the extraordinary amount of effort it was obviously going to take to not like this man.

Any resistance on either of our parts was short lived. Soon after our first meeting, Grandmother took my mother, John, and I to “Sublett’s Barber Shop.” There was a lot of stuff in there that I had never seen before, and Jack kindly explained to us what everything was. We then noticed a piece of machinery there with which we were very familiar: the gumball machine. We knew how that worked -at least we thought we did, until Jack used it. He pulled a coin out of his pocket and inserted it into the machine and asked John what color he wanted. Like I said, I knew gumball machines and they don’t just give you what color you want. Your stuck with that you get. “What color do you want? “ He asked again. “Green” John said with either the disinterest or cynicism needed to prevent inevitable disappointment. “Okay, you want green?” “Yes,” said John. Jack turned the knob. We heard the ball roll out and hit the machine’s door. Jack lifted the door. Green. No way!

I stepped forward as a silent gesture indicating that I wanted to try. “What color do you want? “ he asked inserting the next coin. “Blue.” He turned the knob; we heard the roll, then the clank as it hit the door. Jack moved the door. Yes. He had done it again. It was blue. “How did you do that?” Surely this was coincidence…or a trick. We he had to see it again to figure out how he was doing this, since he refused to tell us. This time we picked red. Turn, roll, and clank. Red. Why hadn’t anyone else thought to make a gumball machine that responded to voice command? As amazing as this was, there was an uneven amount. If John had two, then I needed two, and I wanted white. We left Sublett’s barbershop with four gumballs: Green, Blue, Red, and White, and a story we would talk until this day. John and I both thought to tell it today, but he was gracious enough to let me.

Years later, we asked Jack how he did it. “Oh, that was just luck,” he said. Well, I don’t believe in luck. I do believe in the supernatural. Perhaps this was God’s way of giving us peace about this new man in our lives, and letting us know that he was going to be our grandfather, things were going to be good with him, and if we wanted something, even if it seemed impossible, we could just ask.
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The article about Jack and Asher:
Soldiers' families hope bodies can come home
Science helps to ID war dead
By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

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Jack and "Chancey," we love you. (Matthew 22:31-32)
Love,
Richie, Kristina, and the Bug

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