A WHEAT FIELD IN MAINE
December 7, 2013 is seventy-second anniversary of the Japanese secret attack on Pearl Harbor. In honor of Americans serving their country during that time, I dedicate this non-fictional story.
During one visit to his Warm Springs retreat at the height of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited my dad and me at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge near Round Oak, Georgia. That is an event I shall recall as long as I live.
Although The Chief Executive and my dad were political adversaries, they were able to reach a compromise on that day.
My dad, Rummage Ira Fulks, was a Republican while Franklin Roosevelt was a Democrat. Back during those days, what political party one supported was sometimes an important consideration when choosing friends.
Anyway, I watched and listened from a short distance as The President Of The United States Of America and an agent stepped from out a cluster of Georgia pine and brush.
My dad and The President shook hands, exchanged a few respectful words; treating each other cordially.
Their meeting was brief and not at all wordy.
"Mr. Fulks," said The President to my dad. "I know that you don't think very well of me, but I need to ask that you perform an important duty for your country. I am asking you to drive a heavy load on a truck from here to a port city in Maine. You're a good driver and man. You've never been involved in a traffic accident. Will you drive that truck, that far, to Maine and deliver it safely for your country and me? The outcome of the war and lives of many American are at stake. Much depends upon your success at delivering a load safely and on time."
I, George Fulks, was a four-year-old boy. What dad answered has stuck with me.
"Yes, I will. You can count on me," my dad replied.
As The President and Rummage Ira Fulks again shook hands, they exchanged quiet
conversation that was inaudible to me.
Then Franklin Roosevelt and his agent retreated back into those woods and that brush and disappeared into somewhere else.
That night at dinner, Dad sat at our kitchen table and made an announcement to his family. Sharing with him that time and meal were my four older sisters, my mother, and I.
"I have to be gone for a week or more," Dad said. "I have a job to do. I've been asked to drive a heavy load on a truck from here to a seaport in Maine. That's a long way. I have to be there three days from tomorrow. I don't know what it is that I'll be hauling, but it has something to do with the war."
Five days later, a picture postcard arrived in our U.S. mailbox. On the front of that postcard was a photo labeled "A Wheatfield In Maine." On the obverse, Dad had written: "Load delivered safely and on-time. On my way back home. See you all soon. Love, Rum."
What Dad delivered to that port-city in Maine, I don't know. Neither did Dad, but it was something very important. It had something to do with the outcome of WWII.