Maddog and Miss Kitty, Gerald Decker and Kathleen Timmons have come a long way in both time and distance. Their story is the story of the journey of two warriors and it is the story shared by every warrior since the beginning of time.
It so happened that Gerald and Kathleen became warriors by serving in Vietnam. But the truth is, their story could have been about any man and woman swept into a war, who met and fell in love while the war raged around them, and who separated and fought to save their souls before realizing they had walked away from the love of their lives.
I wrote their story after I visited Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial near Taos, New Mexico, on May 1, 2003. It snowed that morning. Great big billowy flakes covered the land in minutes, taking away the promise of spring as they settled to earth. I pulled my motor home into the empty parking lot and was pleased that I would have this hallowed ground to myself, at least for a few minutes.
The director of the facility was glad to see me, and her pleasure was magnified when I told her that I was from Alabama. She explained that every month Angel Fire did a special tribute for a particular state, and Alabama was the featured state for the month of May. She asked if I’d raise the state flag over the memorial, and I told her I’d be honored to do so.
As we talked, she mentioned that the weather was keeping visitors away, but there had been one couple there earlier in the morning. “Where were they from,” I asked.
She looked at me and smiled, and I knew what I was about to hear was special. “They didn’t talk much about where they were from. They just talked about where they met, which was Vietnam, and they grinned a lot, mostly at each other, and they walked through each of the rooms, holding hands, and crying a bit. They left when the first snowflakes fell. But they said they would be back, one day soon.”
She paused, gathered herself a bit, looked in my eyes and said, “And I know they will. I know they will.”
I recorded Gerald and Kathleen’s story for myself and for my friends at Vietnam Veterans Southern Command, in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Last week I published it on Amazon.com because I have an idea that about now, you might enjoy a good love story.