The buzz of his cell phone jerked him from where his memories had taken him.
“I’ve an apology for you.” Granger? What—–? “Uh . . . o–kay.”
“As we visited yesterday I meant to shake your hand and say how much I appreciate your military service. I’m sorry I neglected to do that. Perhaps this will help make up for it.”
As with most veterans, Dickerson had long since accepted that few who never served really ‘got’ how much it meant to be appreciated. His mind flickered back across myriad places and experiences while in uniform . . .
“Thank you. Coming from another vet, that means a lot.” Aw, grits. I hate it when I start getting all emotional and wussified.
“I won’t keep you; I know you’re on call. I understand you never really relax because your whole system is waiting for the phone to ring.”
“Insight. Whoa. I’m impressed.” There. Captain Snarkyshorts once again in command. He heard the smile in Granger’s voice.
“I do have one question, though.”
“How did someone as physically imposing as you get the nickname ‘Sparks’?”
Laughter. I really thought he knew. Granger seems to gather information like my Bissell sucks doghair. “I got brave not too long after I’d been fitted with my prosthesis and decided to take my bike out for a spin. It was the first time since I’d lost my leg and I guess you could call it a rite of passage. Or getting back in the saddle. Like that.
“Anyway, my nervousness at not having ridden for awhile just disappeared. Man, it felt good to get out there and cruise again! The problem is that I sort of forgot about the new prosthetic leg and stuck my foot out going around a corner.”
He could hear Granger stifling his laughter. “You mean—-”
“Yup. I wasn’t used to wearing that brand new shoe and as I dragged my new foot the shoe came off. I found myself using my new prosthesis to slow down to go back and get it. I made sparks fly for about a block!”
They both hooted together. As Granger was able to answer, he said, “I’d never heard that story before! Thanks for sharing it with me.”
“Hey, no prob. I’m over the embarrassment now. In fact, I love the nickname.”
“Well, thanks again, Sparks. And – sobering now – thank you for your time in uniform. Next time we meet I owe you a firm handshake.”
After he’d disconnected, Dickerson sat there, thinking.
Yeah. It feels good to have somebody who’s been there say, ‘Thank you’.