A scribble of a first draft (a notion) of something I might do something with...it's fictional...but draws from something that actually happened. I grew up in a day when many of my friends were going to Nam. We were all military kids...socialized in the culture. Most volunteered. Some were drafted. 3 never came back...
Billy was a prairie god of Kansas wheat and winter-sown cornflowers. He was the youngest of six children, the second of two sons, and the only one of her own to take after his mother, Miss Kiowa County and Queen of the Gunter Electric Supply Memorial Day Picnic - two years in a row.
His eyes were sleepy with lashes you were tempted every time to touch, to find gold dust on your fingertips. And they were not intense, but intent, so when you looked into the deep of them, you could see the skies above his grandmother’s farm.
With a smile he shared all his secrets, so that he had none. And we were never in doubt that he was happy to find us in his world.
He was adored. And no woman was immune, including his mother, the little girls in his class, and every teacher who found him standing in front of her desk. From Kindergarten to his last days in High School, Billy Westergaard was the name even the prim smiled at, and touched a thoughtful pen to, before placing that delighted tick, present.
In 1968, Billy was drafted into the Vietnam War. And nine days after he stepped off a CH-47 in the province of Quang Tri, he was killed with a single shot to his left cheekbone.
Two days after that, MSgt. Westergaard’s CO and the base chaplain followed MSgt. Westergaard’s station wagon into family driveway. Mrs. Westergaard refused to let them in the house. She stood barring the doorway, and when her husband went to put his hand on her cheek, she slapped him across the face, and called the chaplain a son of a bitch. And when she went back inside, she locked the door behind her.
For 5 minutes, the three uniformed men stood on the porch, looking down the street, at their shoes, and eventually at each other. And in a collective sigh, they separated. Watching his CO and chaplain walk back to their sedan, MSgt. Westergaard pulled out his keys. In a short bend, he slid one of them into the lock. And then he straightened, and for a moment stood with a small prayer before opening the door.