L MILTON HANKINS

Hico Fayette Co West Virginia
L MILTON HANKINS
Hico Fayette Co West Virginia
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The Last Token

I was five years old when the war was over
August,1945, and my daddy sent word
He was on his way home from Guadalcanal.
Grandma was already preparing a feast
For the family to celebrate his homecoming.
Momma took her last ration token from the box
She kept high on the kitchen counter cabinet
And filled up the old, worn-down Chevy with gas
So she could pick up my daddy at the bus stop.

Everyone was super excited except for me.
You see, I could not remember this man.
I didn't know this person coming into my life--
Why was everyone so excited?
He had been gone to war since I was a baby.
The only man in my life was my grandpa.
One uncle was fighting with Patton in Italy;
Another was somewhere in Japan, we thought.
I tried to ignore the party goings-on,
And I reckoned I would make the best of it.

I was climbing the sour cherry tree next to the porch
When this man I did not know came up the hill.
He had a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder;
He wore a white uniform with a strange hat--
"A navy man, " he later told me, and he said, "I
Will make a navy man out of you! "

Later I heard Momma saying she'd taken
The last token to buy gas she hadn't needed to.
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