Haunting Flu Shots

Comes a point when it’s okay to say no, and other times, when it’s not okay.

At my father’s “funeral,” one of my cousins was talking about the flu shot scenario. She explained that, as long as her mother was alive, my dad’s sister, that cousin, all of them, had to get flu shots. Apparently, a member of her mother’s family died in the great flu epidemic in whatever year it was, early 1900’s. After that, the family flu shot was required.

I get exposed to enough alternative medicine suggestions, from friends and family, from business cohorts, and so on, and in some cases, I’d have to agree the annual shot does more damage – cure is worse than the sickness.

Her point, my cousin, her point? It wasn’t until her mother was laid in her grave that it was okay to skip the flu shot season.

I know my aunt, though, and I wonder if that’s the gentle murmur of her figure rolling in her grave at the thought of a child – her child – without a flu shot.

Haunting image:
I was in line, as I left El Paso, at the security gate, I was behind a service man’s wife. I’d bet Army and I’d bet enlisted man. Soldier. Only he wasn’t real solider like.

Spend enough time in military towns, like El Paso and San Antonio, and the image of an army soldier is unmistakeable. He was of anglo heritage, bald, military stance that can’t be faked, and he was watching, kissed her good bye, then watched as she wound her way through the empty lines, fumbled with her bag and purse, pulled change out her pocket, turned, smiled a happy smile, waved, and got caught up going through the metal detector. I followed her through. Blonde, young, attractive. Wedding ring.

The soldier was still standing there, not crying and no tears evident, but there was a limpid appearance to his eyes, sadness and almost despair, saying goodbye for what might be the last time.

My friends dropped me at the airport. They are staunch McCain/Palin supporters. No question how they will vote. The early voting signs were up as we had been driving to the airport. I told them to vote. Not much of a question about how they were going to vote, and I found it funny, in a black humor way, the very issues my friends felt so strong about were the same issues addressed by the Democratic front runner. However, I know when not to make a point. Besides, that wasn’t the point.

That soldier, saying goodbye to his young wife, at the airport. Doesn’t matter how one decides to vote, but failure to do so? That sadness in his eyes alone, the sacrifice he’s obviously making? He might be outbound, going into a war zone by now. His eyes spoke volumes that can’t be covered with mere words.

If you’re not part of the process, you’re part of the problem. Participate, it’s a right that people die for – to this day.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ssmith04 Oct 24, 2008 @ 16:07

    Hallelujah, amen. Preach it, brother kramer!

    It was the “Spanish” flu of 1918. My mother was born that year, and her mother, a vigorous, healthy woman, was dead of the flu 6 months later. The family has never truly recovered.

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