A Story of Love

Cold Mtn

I did this picture for a good friend of mine who inspired me with the amazing story that goes with it.  As you know I don’t usually write much so thank you for taking the time to read.

One of my best friend’s dad built the Cold Mountain lookout tower cabin in the Idaho wilderness, northeast of McCall, Idaho. As a young man, he built it in 1932, by hand, with the tools he had, obviously no electricity and every 30 minutes he would climb up in the tower and look for forest fires. He lived there during the “fire” season from late spring to fall.  The greatest adventure for a single young man in the remote wilderness mountains and streams of Idaho living among the deer, elk and bear in the unadulterated beauty of the land in the 1930’s…*(insert “Lonesome Dove” theme music here…)

Later, when my friend’s parents married and were trying to start a family in the early 1940’s they weren’t able to have children without a costly operation for his mother.  In order to get enough money for the operation,  he decided to go overseas and work for a construction company for 9 mos. building an air strip on Wake Island, in which he would earn enough money for the operation. *(people worked and paid for things in advance back in the olden days, today we’re smarter and more advanced and go into debt…)  After 7 1/2 mos. there, with only a month and a half left till completion,  Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and then headed to Wake Island, and took control of the island and the air strip. He was captured as a  prisoner and taken to Japan where he spent the entire World War in a P.O.W. camp.  All his wife knew, was that Wake Island had been taken over by  Japan and hadn’t heard from her husband.  (There was no texting, or face time or Facebook, ironically, people used to know how to have conversation face to face and see and feel emotion instead of emojis, and they used to listen to one another and develop true deep and meaningful relationships.)

She waited all those months and YEARS for him. Nobody knew anything about the men, where they were, if they were alive, on the other side of the world. No communication. These were not trained soldiers, but construction workers. Eventually, she received a letter from him and that he didn’t know where he was being held, but she at least knew he was still alive.  His dad said he knew when the war was nearing its end because he recognized U.S. planes flying overhead and heard bombing nearby.  A few months after the war, American troops discovered the camp.  So many men didn’t make it and died in the camp, some came home mentally ill and some turned to alcohol. Some of the men’s wives had remarried believing their husbands would never return.  My friend’s dad was very meek and patient and helped so many to survive the experience by keeping his mind focused on helping the other men and on his wife back home.  Finally, after about five years he returned home to his wife.  And they did receive the money to get the operation and it was obviously successful!   My friend was born the youngest in the family, the only son.  By the time he was born, his parents were a lot older and it was in some ways like being raised by grandparents, so, double blessing!

As my friend was sharing this story of his parents, I felt like I was watching a movie. I could see it all happening in my mind and being inspired by  this kind of love and devotion. And at the same time, feeling so grieved at how far, far away our nation is from the foundations of  love and commitment to one another and the value of  children and human life in general.  The value of family and the value in a person’s word. Used to be, that was everything.  Yes there are too many injustices in the world, the greatest being pride and selfishness and the horrible fruit it has produced in our relationships, family, neighbors and communities. There are waaay too many tragic stories involving women and children today but for me, this is a great story about a real hero.  Growing up without a father but now being one, listening to this story, I recognized something was being deposited in me of real value.  We should all be so blessed to have moms and dads like that.  To be moms and dads like that.

Thank you for reading all the way here, happy Mother’s Day moms, you fill your children with memories and provide love and security like nothing else.  Blessings!

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22 thoughts on “A Story of Love

  1. Thanks for sharing this special story and blessing us with inspiration and encouragement in troubling times. Also really enjoying your drawing of the fire tower and cabin in the woods. Takes me back to another time and place. Blessings upon you, your home and your family, Norma

  2. So, first, this is such a cool illustration. It’s always the little things that I love with your illustrations: the tower, the trees, the colour blue and how you did the sky. I really really like it.

    Your blog, the love story, is amazing, beyond words. You’ve written about harsh times, the human spirit, survival, and an amazing love story. My parents left Europe after the 2nd world war, and anyone who has survived a war and can tell about it offer so many life lessons to those of us who take so much for granted. The greatest lesson I learned from my mom was appreciate the little things. I consider myself lucky that I was born mid-sixties and grew up in a time of no Internet.

    A great blog. I really enjoyed reading it.

    • I love hearing people share those kind of stories because it puts life in such perspective. Appreciate the small things–that’s wisdom through experience. Me too, born at that time and I tell my kids we used to write letters to each other! Appreciate your comments! Thanks!

  3. These are the stories that make life all worthwhile. Thank you! And for your lovely very detailed painting. I would’ve liked to be a forest-fire watcher too.

  4. That’s a wonderful post Brad. I’m looking forward to a lovely day tomorrow with my 3 wonderful kids as well as my mum – so I’m very fortunate.

  5. Oh brad what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are a dad. I’m guessing a heck of a good one 😉. And your painting is beautiful too.

  6. I did read through your friend’s wonderful life story honoring both his loving, strong and patient parents. Thanks for sharing the story that has left a positive impression and memory in the direction of your own life and your friend’s. It’s great.

  7. Thank you Brad for sharing your thoughts. Thank you for the inspiration you give me. I feel a connection. A loving mom (67) who likes to draw and write.

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