I stretched out and got comfortable with my fiction novel and waited in the main lobby of the VA Hospital while the pulmonary experts tested my husband in the lab. I lifted my head to see a glorious sight. A maintenance man wheeled a popcorn machine right in front of the dark mahogany leather couch I sprawled out on. He plugged in the unit and soon the lobby smelled of fresh buttered popcorn.
I’m a sucker for popcorn, my favorite snack. There I sat alone next to the man and his machine and hoped he would use my taste buds for a free test run of that first batch of yellow popped delight. What’s his purpose to make popcorn? Will he deliver it to a staff meeting somewhere in the building? Or was all this about fixing the machine? Was it broken? Who knows?
The noise and smell of fresh popcorn drew attention of doctors and staff passing by wearing scrubs with badges hanging in the front like necklaces. An Old guy with a grey pony tail, kerchief headband and vest with tons of buttons on it, probably a Viet Nam veteran, walked fast hurrying to his appointment.
No one invited me to try the snack. Do you know why? The popcorn guy, not a maintenance man at all but a VA veteran, volunteered his time and machine to raise money for VA volunteers. He takes them to dinner in nice restaurants. The first customer, a doctor, dropped a buck in the pail for a large bag. I approached him and he taught me the ropes.
I paid for a large bag and kicked up a conversation with the popcorn maker.
“If I don’t average at least $110 per day I’m surprised,” he shared.
Wow! The volunteer dinners must be very fancy, I thought to myself.
Just then my husband found me, not surprised, eating popcorn with the friendly vendor. It’s his favorite snack too. He grabbed my bag and dug in!
The moral of this story shows nothing in life is free. We must pay. The veterans paid for our nation’s freedom offering their very lives.
Thank you, veterans. Thank you to those currently serving our country too.
Happy birthday to the United States; may our freedom that many fought for remain. May we always be one nation under God.
Happy Fourth, everyone!