1. hortysir
    I worked at a convenience store at a busy highway intersection.

    There was an old homeless man that frequented for the coffee and beer that he could buy with the dollars he begged from travelers.
    Sometimes, working the graveyard shift, my wife would come and sit with me and talk and visit with Jim.
    Jim was a free spirit of sorts. He was homeless by choice.
    Apparently he had scads of cash but his son would ration it out to him, I guess to try to keep him from a Poe existence.
    Thanksgiving came around and it was getting unusually cold that year for central Florida so we invited Jim to our house for Thanksgiving dinner.
    I have spent a few years hitching around the country so we had plenty to talk about. We let him shower while my wife washed all the clothes in his bags before bedding down for the night.
    When I left that store to take another job I would still see Jim from time to time around town. I could always count on a wave and a smile if I didn't have time to stop and chat.
  2. hortysir
    As often happens, I got wrapped up in my day-day life and hadn't seen Jim for a little while.
    One day in November I opened our local paper and saw his picture.
    He was being interviewed as part of observing Veterans Day.

    With all the talks and chats I had enjoyed with Jim through the years I never learned that he was there at Iwo Jima. He was there for the famous photograph.
    What really touched my heart, besides knowing that I was "friends" with a war hero, was, when asked about heroism, he told the reporter that the biggest heroes he ever knew were a kind couple that brought him into their home for Thanksgiving and opened there hearts to a virtual stranger.

    Today I'm thankful for so many things.
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