Thursday, January 5, 2012

I never thought I would get sentimental over a tank of all things...

I'm not a military enthusiast, a war history buff or anything like that. To be honest, I feel like I am being a little punished when my husband chooses a military show on the history channel. I know it's important to our history and I do appreciate the education, but I still find little interest in it. That said, I was a little shocked at myself this week when an old army green tank had me with teary eyes. The local newspaper specified it as an M47 Patton, though I didn't know or really care what kind of tank it was, it was one that sat in the front yard of a neighbor's house for decades. It was something of a landmark in the neighborhood as it aided in giving directions, "you're going to go past a house with a tank in the front yard," and was a definite topic of conversation for anyone that wondered about such a large and unique lawn ornament.  I didn't know anything specific about the tank, I never climbed upon it or sat in it's turret, but I did sit in the company of it's owner many times and for that I am very grateful.

What makes this particular tank special is that it was Harry's. Harry McCauley was one of my dad's best friends which gave me the opportunity to sit in his presence many times to enjoy intellectual conversation and debate. Just having a tank in his front yard should be evidence enough that Harry was a one-of-a kind man. To know him and have the blessing to be part of his life only confirmed that fact. Against social faux pas, many of our discussions centered around religion and politics. Both of which he had solid and unashamed stands on and would substantiate his opinions with innumerable historical and biblical references. He wasn't someone who just talked to hear himself or waste his breath, his words had literal and figurative meaning reaching varying degrees of perspective. His words made you think, ponder, study and even question yourself at times. He had a great and unique sense of humor which only colored conversations brighter. As much as Harry could talk, he would listen too and no matter how much more knowledge he had about a subject, he never educated with arrogance or condescension. That is what I loved about our talks, they seemed to just mean something and I always walked away knowing a little more than I did upon sitting down.

Harry passed away last March. While we know that death is inevitable, he was as I said, my dad's closest of friends and to witness my father's quiet grief was a new experience for me and hard in itself. When my dad told me last week that the tank had been sold and he was helping oversee it's move off the property, I was upset. I wanted to be there to see it's move and to somewhat commemorate the day, but I really didn't think that a tank transportation day would constitute a sick day in my employer's eyes or understanding. It's monumental presence seemed like a lasting reminder of Harry and was an emotional link to him. However, the tank was moving to a museum which was in my opinion the most honorable place for it as more people could enjoy and appreciate it than just neighborhood passersby. When people view it in the museum it went to or the the next place it will move in it's journey, they will not see the man I see when I would pass through the neighborhood or will see in it's pictures. They will see a relic of history, of wars fought and battles won and monetary worth. But Harry will be there too, just a piece of him forever memorialized in this tank, forever a part or our personal history and now rightfully displayed in a museum of valued history.   


  1. I will miss that old tank too. This is a very sweet tribute to him Nica. Good job.


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