“The heart is the only muscle that never rests.” Today I was at the VA Hospital with my husband waiting for him while he had several pints of blood taken for lab work. Sometimes he has had more than the 4 tubes required, much more. I went with him because I had the day free and wanted to be supportive.

While I waited for him, there was a Vietnam Vet who began a conversation with me. We continued the conversation and I continued wanting to breathe but unable to say much as he shared a story with me of his time in Vietnam and being captured, his escape into the jungle. As he described his captors torturing him with needles, my eyes closed. I prayed inwardly and squashed my emotions not wanting to seem weak. I sensed some people don’t want sympathy but only an ear to listen and perhaps a pen to write the story. The nurse called and he left. Several other veterans came in with Vietnam hats and memorabilia pasted onto their body.

I listened to their conversation traded like trading cards and then I, feeling worried and antsy, about my husband and his upcoming surgery this week to remove several tumors, posed a question, “Who did you vote for?” I needed to know….when I told my husband his jaw dropped as usually I just sit there quietly taking it all in.

“I would have told you it was none of your business.”

Yeah, but somehow I did not think these men would mind and with bated pause, the first one said to me, “Trump.” The others nodded in ascension. I said, “Thank you for telling me.” I smiled and laughed. To me it was interesting that every single vet, all 5 of them of different cultures, had voted for Trump. One Vietnam vet wearing a t-shirt with a tribute to Martin Luther King was praised by the nurse for wearing the shirt this day. Everyone was comfortable with one another and there was no fighting. The true fights had already taken place years ago. Or maybe they learned that when the shoe drops, the war begins and as soldiers they did not want a repeat performance.

My husband came out and the wait was short and I dropped the phone. It made a heavy thud. There was a guy opposite me and his eyes never left my face as he watched me apologize for the loud bang and then quietly pick it up. They had just been discussing PTSD, and this guy told me proudly, “I voted for Trump both times.” Idly, I wondered why the media never prints these stories of the vets for Trump and why they feel that way. Somehow I doubt if many of the reporters have served in Vietnam. The most we can do for history is to remember, so that to the younger generation one day they won’t ask or be fed a tale like some about the Holocaust…it never happened….I want people to feel the same curiosity after meeting these Vets and hearing their stories to look up this war and I want them to pause and wonder about their vote. In other words, it isn’t sexy and it is not a Harlequin novel and not part of the in crowd but for me it tinges my heart and exercises my muscles.

I told him, “I hope your vote counted.” He laughed but I will remember the way his eyes silently watched me pick up the phone. The stories I heard from the first Vietnam Vet were heart breaking. Again, I wondered if I had the stamina and mental discipline to volunteer if I had the time with the vets and not show my emotions.

The heart is the only muscle that never rests. This week is a long one. Thanks for listening.

Note to self: Although the heart never rests, my hips and back are feeling 45 minutes of intense exercise this long weekend and lifting weights. When I have a rough week, I do the physical easily but as always it is the mental and emotional that one must practice daily….here is to a good week.