Reading Mrs. Adkins

Anne Adkins has been writing an occasional column for the Winston-Salem Journal for a while now and I must say that, to me, her writing is consistently the best in the paper. From this Sunday's column

George got a job and over the next few months he paid back his loan and appeared to be doing just fine. In those years immediately following World War II, our generation was full of halcyon dreams springing from the conviction that after years of war, we would bring to the world lasting peace. Who would have thought that early one morning on a Virginia mountain road, George’s body would be found face-down in a ditch with a bullet hole in the back.

That was nearly three-quarters of a century ago. As far as I know, no one ever found out who killed George. As the years went by, Al and I, like most of our generation, worked hard, raised our kids, saw more wars come and some of them go, and squeezed the best part out of living. And like every generation before us, we also buried our dead.

Last week a beat-up, yellow truck sped past me on the highway. Suddenly the years peeled away, leaving me with the sharpness of a memory unexpectedly returned. I shut my eyes and there George was, my young lost friend, tossing me one more smile.

I smiled back at the bittersweet thought of a young lost friend who never had the chance to find his way, but for one shining moment in time was King of the Road, gridiron hero of the Golden Wave, the sweetest guy in town.

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