A Most Appreciated Gift
From my Father
While I Was In Vietnam
By Charles G. White

Right before I went into the Army, my wife and I sold our home, our cars, and bought only one car, a brand-spanking new MGB for $2,800.00. Afterward, I entered into basic training on Private E-1 pay, next to AIT, and eventually to OCS at Fort Sill. While at Fort Sill, I decided that I wanted to change the color of the MGB from a baby blue to a dark blue. I was told that I could use the painting facilities at Sill. To make a long story short, after I finished painting the car, it looked like I had painted the new car with a maize head in a West Texas sand storm. I left for Vietnam before I had the time or money to remedy the mess.

When I went to Vietnam, my wife who was a school teacher, could no longer stand the embarrassment of driving that awful looking MGB. She stored it with my dad, and bought her a Dodge.

I returned from Vietnam on Christmas Day 1968. My dad, being an excellent cook, had prepared for me my favorite dessert -- two pumpkin pies, both of which I ate in one sitting. When I went to retrieve my car from my dad's garage, I dreaded the embarrassment of having to drive that awful mess that I had made. When I opened the garage door, I discovered a beautiful new-looking car. I learned that during the time I have been gone, my dad spent many evening hours sanding my mess from the car, and then had it professionally painted.

Only recently, my dad told me that he prayed for me every day while I was in Vietnam. My dad is now dead, but I will always remember the generous devotion of his time in preparing three special surprises for my return home -- two pumpkin pies and a refurbished car.