Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

June 21, 2014

There are some debts you can never repay

— Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

For as much as I enjoy telling funny stories, talking about my family and chronicling the adventures of Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy at Gettysburg, I am otherwise reluctant to talk about myself.

In my line of work, I have run across no shortage of people who feel no such self-restraint. Just having to listen to them sometimes makes me uncomfortable.

My grandfather, father, Uncle Abe, Cousin Craig and I would say the same thing about such folks: They’re as full of (you know what) as they are of themselves.

But I have decided to make an exception, for reasons I hope you will understand.

This, as memory serves me, is what I recently told a room filled with people who have become an important part of my life:

——————

When was it that The Moving Wall came here? Fourteen or 15 years ago? (The Moving Wall is a one-third size replica of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington that travels with a devoted entourage to places like Cumberland. Both bear the names of more than 58,000 men and women who died in the Vietnam War or remain Missing In Action.)

I went to see it because I wanted to find Jim Bosley’s name.

Jim was one of my Keyser High School classmates of 1965 and my friend. Some of my buddies and I agree that we’d be proud to have had Jim as our son. That’s the type of man he was.

Jim was engaged to marry a girl who has been like my sister ever since we were old enough to walk.

By far, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was to go see her the night we found out he had been killed. That’s the night I began to grow up.

When I found Jim’s name, I felt a lot of the same emotions that I’m feeling now, only tonight it’s different.

Back then, I was alone. Tonight, I am not alone, and that’s because of guys like you.

The only thing that could mean as much to me as this are the hospitality and friendship I have found here. This has made a difference in my life that at one time I never would have believed possible.

I owe you and all of the others a great deal. I hope that I have been able to repay at least some of it. God knows I have tried, and it’s a work that’s still in progress.

Thank you. Welcome Home.

——————

That’s what I said during a meeting of Cumberland Chapter 172, Vietnam Veterans of America, after President Bob Cook announced that I am now an honorary life member of the VVA.

This became possible because of a recent change in the national VVA’s policy. It wasn’t something I asked or applied for. The chapter nominated me, and I was told that few of these memberships have been granted.

Don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but I also am an honorary member of the Marine Corps League, whose pin I wear every day.

The only other thing I have to say about it is this:

It has been my privilege to meet two recipients of the Medal of Honor: Hershel “Woody” Williams, who was a U.S. Marine on Iwo Jima; and John Baca, who was an American soldier in Vietnam.

Both of them told me the same thing: “I don’t wear it for myself. I wear it for all of the others.”

Nor will I wear this for myself.

I will wear it for Jim Bosley, Craig Haines, Grady Cooke, Sam Umstot, Bobby Taylor, Wendell Brown, Richard Vincent, Carl Davis, Bill Gunter, Joe Sanders, Bobby Hartsock and 2.6 million other men and women who went there and, in many cases, didn’t come home.

Even though much of America once turned its back on those who did come home, they never turned their backs on America.

For too long a time, America collectively treated Vietnam Veterans in a way they did not deserve. I am thankful that many of them, and I, have lived long enough to see that attitude has changed.

To all of them (please say it with me): Welcome Home.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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