Over the last several years I have put into print what was previously just a lot of memories of the past seven decades of my life in and around Bandera. I like to dwell on the happier events simply because they were the best of times and they help to relieve some of the stress and pain of growing old.
Occasionally just to prove that life isn’t always fair something will happen to bring back the sadness and heartbreak of tragedies of bygone years. Such was the case of events unfolding in Afghanistan over the last few days and weeks as I was writing recently. Any loss of life in our military abroad is difficult to accept. Immediately the loss of friends who were serving their country during dark times come to mind. My brother-in-law Tony Kunz along with my childhood friends Angel Martinez and Charles Kalka paid the ultimate price while serving in Vietnam. Many of my tales contain stories of Angel and some of Charles who was a little older. Because we were close friends and neighbors through the years while attending St. Joseph’s Catholic School their loss was especially troubling. I wish that I would have had the opportunity to build a closer relationship with Tony but his time in our family was very short. He would be pleased to know his daughter Toni Kunz and I are very close and she holds a special place in my heart.
For over 50 years I have maintained contact with one of the men I served with in the U.S. Army. Comparing his life in Rochester, New York to what I have here in the Texas Hill Country has made for some interesting e-mail conversations. I have searched on the internet for others that I served with in an attempt to reconnect but with little success. I did locate one other who had left our company in Germany to go to Vietnam but unfortunately he had passed away just a few months before I located his residence in Dallas. It was a relief to know he made it home safely from Vietnam.
As I continue this Growing Up In Bandera journey with a family that now includes three great-grandkids I pray that the future for them turns out to be better than what it appears at this time. Sadly I fear the worst enemy we face today is not in some foreign country.
Editor’s Note: This is Mr. Clark’s 300th installment on Growing Up in Bandera. We’d like to wish Mr. Clark a well-deserved congratulations on this milestone and thank him for his contributions to the Bulletin.