Junk Mail

“I gave!” she said forcefully, throwing the mail to the floor. Surprised by my usually tranquil ninety-year-old mother’s vehemence, I picked up the envelope addressed to her from a veteran’s organization, along with the solicitation letter and preprinted donation envelope. “My son . . . an’ fo’ what?” she whispered.

“What timing,” I thought. Earlier that morning we had been making plans to pick up flowers in Chinatown to take to Punchbowl for Memorial Day. For more than 40 years she’s been walking up that hillside to the grave of an Army captain, killed in Vietnam on his 26th birthday.

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