Joseph Comes Home

The news spread like discovering diamonds–
Tab and Sue’s boy was coming home!
He stayed in the South Pacific when the war
ended — that great war — the war that took the
Ellington’s other sons before the bomb dropped.
Their boys grew up on the farm, all five of them,
and they were tough as timber rattlers.  Uncle Sam
was proud to get them when all but the youngest
joined up.  Not quite eighteen, Joseph worked
on the farm. Ed, the oldest, died saving his squad
leader. James died at Normandy. Later, the
black-edged letters told the fate of Al and Silas.
Joe joined the Navy. His folks gave up the farm and
moved into town. When the war ended, they longed
to see their one remaining son. He didn’t return.

The gray in Sue’s hair made her old. Yes, it was
the gray that made her old — it was not her grieving
for her sons because . . . they still played at her feet.  Tab
spent most of his time outside, feeding the birds.  His
shoulders stooped. He heard the good news. His son
was coming home. Why should that matter now?  Then
Tab saw him on the walk, a woman with slanted eyes
beside him, a baby in her arms. Four small boys behind
them. Joseph bear-hugged his father and asked, “Where’s
Mom?” Sue came running, and Joseph took her hand,
“Mom, meet my wife and your grandsons. This one’s Ed
and here’s James, Al and Silas. That’s Joseph.” Sue’s eyes
shone. She touched the hands that held the baby, and
smiling, said, “Welcome home.”

Copyright 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols