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thedrifter
12-28-05, 07:31 AM
Widow has soft spot for Marines
Sioux City Journal

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- The story is there in the picture.

A woman in pink, old and a bit frail, tears in her eyes, hugging a tall, handsome Marine.

And the Marine, smiling, hugging back.

Christa Yoakum knew the meeting would be special. She's the program manager at The Arbors, an assisted-living home for people with Alzheimer's.

She knew the woman in pink, Kay Teddlie, the woman who lives in Room E4.

She knew some of Teddlie's best memories were of her days as a Marine wife.

All Yoakum's nephew knew was his aunt wanted him to go see some "old lady" on Thanksgiving Day.

Robert Burks, 21, had come home in October to say goodbye to his folks before shipping out to Iraq.

But he ended up in the hospital waiting for an infection to clear and his unit went without him.

Thanksgiving morning, he slipped on his uniform and his shiny black shoes.

He walked into E4.

He knew the woman in pink couldn't remember things. He knew she might be confused about who he was and why he was there.

"She looked up and her mouth opened, like she couldn't believe it," Burks says. "Then she jumped up and started crying and came and gave me a hug."

Her Roger had worn that uniform, too. Handsome Roger, with his curly blond hair and his white teeth, so straight.

She met him at a dance before the war. They married when he got home.

They lived together in Lincoln until he died.

Roger is gone.

Teddlie knows that.

She's happy now, most of the time. The people at The Arbors love hearing her stories, her wit, her sense of history.

The day the young Marine corporal came, she touched all the ribbons on his jacket.

They talked for five minutes. She told him about Roger. He was a gunner. He flew with Pappy Boyington, the famous WWII pilot.

Burks told her his godfather flew with him.

And then she talked about Roger all over again.

Burks told again about his godfather.

Everyone was in tears, says Yoakum.

Robert left for North Carolina and Camp Lejeune in early December.

He's glad to be going back, and he's glad he went to see Teddlie on Thanksgiving.

Other Marines have come to see Teddlie in E4. The staff at The Arbors knows she has a soft spot for them.

When you ask her about them, she doesn't remember.

Yoakum made her a copy of the photo from Thanksgiving. It's there somewhere in her room, but she can't find it.

She doesn't have a picture, she says. She doesn't remember if she ever did.

Yoakum reminds her of her nephew, the tall man with the shiny shoes.

That's right, says Teddlie.

"I had a visit with a handsome young Marine."

And, yes, of course, she knows why she cried, hugging that soldier in blue, touching those shiny medals. She says so, her voice strong and sure.

"Because he was a Marine and I lost mine."

Ellie

hrscowboy
12-28-05, 07:41 AM
Orahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Outstanding devildog...

GySgtRet
12-28-05, 08:03 AM
Ahh Geez. The alergies again. Thank you Ellie