My daughter asked me if it bothered me to use a cane. My answer was “no.” I had grown up with a father who lost a leg at Anzio during WWII. He used a cane all of my life and it never slowed him down. Now I use a cane but it is very natural for me.
After WWII, America was moving away from coal and oil to a new way of heating and cooking—bottled propane. My dad delivered bottled propane gas for a living. The cylinders weighed nearly 100 pounds empty. He never complained. Also, many of the rural homes needed copper tubing strung for the heat and cooking. Most of them just had crawl spaces with no basements. He would usually take off his artificial leg so that he could crawl under the old farmhouses to get them gasified. He also built the house that we grew up in as kids with never a complaint.
I remember one time when handicapped parking places were very new. As he and I pulled into the parking lot, I said “Dad, look, you can park near the front door.” He commented that there were a lot of people who needed it more than he did and we parked farther out in the lot and walked in. I didn’t think of it at the time. He was just my dad and that’s the way things were.
But as I look back, dad was one of those people who never complained. There was someone who always needed it more than he did. Today I look back and think that nobody needed it more than him but he was an example that someone always needed more help than him.
Here was a “kid” that never really left our hometown until he was drafted into the Army. Then he was sent to England and from there sailed to North Africa. He and his friends fought against Rommel all across North Africa. Even though he was hurt in North Africa, he requested that he stay with his buddies as they moved on to Italy. It’s been well documented that poor leadership in Italy left them exposed on the shores of Anzio where the Germans surrounded them and picked them off at will. That’s where he lost his leg and ended up being shipped home.
In one of my recent blogs, I talked about being aware that someone was always worse off than you and never lose your humor.
I can’t think of anyone who was in worse shape than dad. He lost a leg.
Don’t Lose Your Sense of Humor
But I’m also aware that he never lost his sense of humor. Growing up we were very close to my mother’s family. We were often there but I do remember that my dad was often the center of humor. Even today, my cousins speak highly of my dad and how much they enjoyed him. He never complained and he always kept his sense of humor.
Regardless of your circumstances, remember that there is always someone who has it worse than you, and never lose your sense of humor.
I had a great role model and will never forget the lessons I learned from my dad in the short time he was around.