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Veterans Day is special at my house


Two men helped develop me into the person that I am today.
Of course my wife Becky and several other people may not give them a passing grade for the finished product. However, they tried as hard as they could. Sometimes your lump of clay has a few rocks in it.
My father Dean Brasel and my father-in-law Harley Thomason were big influences.
Both served our country, and I am very proud of that.
So many life lessons were learned at the feet of these men.
I am very thankful for what I have gleaned from them.
Veterans Day is not usually a day to discuss romance, but in the case of my father-in-law it is.
Mr. Thomason, or Meryl as I called him sometimes because he had a work shirt with that name on it, served in World War II.
"Meryl" had an army buddy that was in his group. Uncle Lester was a man that I never met, but I am thankful for his actions.
Lester was writing to his girlfriend back home in South Arkansas. Mr. Thomason asked if he could write to her.
Lester quickly told him no, but suggested he write to his girlfriend's sister.
That is what happened.
Mr. Thomason wrote to this girl for two years before finally getting to meet her in person. He had a long pass from the Army. Not really having family, Thomason chose to go to Hamburg to meet his pen pal.

Upon arriving in Hamburg, he went to see his friend. His plans were to take her on a date.
She already had a date for that night but told Thomason they could go out the next night.
It was a whirlwind romance over the next week that resulted in a marriage, not only for Thomason and his penpal, but also for Uncle Lester and his girlfriend.
After the wedding that included honey suckle and roses, Thomason and Uncle Lester were back to the Army.
Thomason then was called to the Pacific Rim and fought in the Philippines.
After being married for two days, he was gone two years.
He continued to write his young bride. He gave her hints to where he was located. Since letters were censored, he spelled out his location by changing his middle initial in each letter.
That marriage lasted more than 70 years.
I appreciate these men. My dad took a snotty nosed kid and loved him. He showed me how to lead a household.
Now, he gets to love my children and grandchildren or maybe I can say that my grandchildren love him. Their arms are always ready for Paw Paw.
Happy Veterans Day, Dad. I love you. Happy Veterans Day, Mr. Thomason. I miss you daily.
Thank you, men, for your legacy.

Jeff Brasel is the sports and managing editor of the Newton County Times. E-mail him at sports@newtoncountytimes.com or follow him at twitter.com/jeffbrasel.