Skip to comments.Night Watch – An Old Sergeant Story
Posted on 03/07/2018 8:51:39 PM PST by Steve Newton
Claire adjusted the night vision goggles and again scanned the desert horizon carefully. Thus far it had been a very quiet night. Nothing but the desert wind continually stirred the silence.
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(When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.)
Claire adjusted the night vision goggles and again scanned the desert horizon carefully. Thus far it had been a very quiet night. Nothing but the desert wind continually stirred the silence. The occasional howl of a distant animal or the nocturnal noises of the few in camp going about their business (that required them to be awake at that hour even as she was) were all that punctuated the peaceful somnolence.
In the stillness of the wee hours of the morning, she took time as she often did to meditate upon the wonder of the life she found herself coming to love more reverently with each passing day. It was a life of service she cherished and a life she felt led to by the examples set before her in the lives of both her most cherished father and uncle.
But more than that, in the innermost recesses of her heart, she believed with all faith it was a life she had been .well, called tofor lack of a better word.
In Claires life the people of valor and honor were not those of myth and legend. They were the people of an Old and New Testament. People who recognized the might and power of the God of all creation. As she pondered the oft thumbed memories of stories sown in her heart from childhood, one consistent commonality contained them all: each had believed and served that same God with the idea that some things are indeed worth fighting for; worth preserving, defending, and should it be required, even worth dying for.
It was a belief she herself subscribed to wholeheartedly; it was the foundation upon which she was building the life she now had.
Claire had quietly observed Pappy during these few months. She noticed his never failing practice of calling upon the Padre in times of earnest indecision or doubt. Knowing that even Pappy, for all his gruff and impatient demeanor wisely knew that there is great benefit in seeking the counsel of those who walked with God deepened her respect and admiration for him.
Seeing this side to the hard bitten old sergeant gave Claire a much deeper appreciation for the man her uncle had sent her to watch over. It also gave her food for thought.
She let her thoughts drift back to the day she first encountered the angry glare of enemy fire aimed directly at her and her unita unit she had grown fiercely loyal to and protective of. It would be absurdly dishonest to brush off that initiation as anything but terrifying.
There was no shame in the healthy honest fear of danger, she reasoned to herself. Only fools and idiots would regard a fight where the opponent was insanely, insistently intent upon making you die as something to be taken with casual lightheartedness. And she considered neither herself, the unit she served with, nor Pappy fools or idiot.
But hand in hand with that knowledge came the even deeper awareness that had it become necessary, every single person on the ground that day, herself included, would have given their life in a heartbeat and believe they had done so for a cause worth that sacrifice. It was indeed knowledge of an idea that deserved to be meditated upon, long and often.
Claire peered again thru the goggles, panning the surrounding environment with a thorough eye. In so doing, she keenly picked up on the subtle changes in the skys light.
Lowering them she took in the rugged beauty of what would be the last of the star scattered darkness. Dawn was fast approaching, and her night watch would soon be over.
Staring pensively into the rapidly lightening horizon Claire zeroed in on a thought that had been simmering on the back burner of her brain for several days now. The longer she stayed with Pappy and his men, the more she vowed to learn from them.
The ways to take charge and the ways to delegate. The ways to care but not coddle. The ways to make a difficult decision and stick by its results, no matter what they may be. The ways .to lead.
Ultimately, Claire considered thoughtfully, it was totally within reason that she could find herself in a position somewhat like Pappys at some future time: responsible not only for herself, but for those under her whose job it would be to follow her instructions.
It went without saying that the weight of those instructions could and would at times involve potential danger or even death to those who carried them out. To lead was to accept that responsibility ever how heavy it may be. Better, in her opinion, that the person bearing that responsibility be one who did indeed meditate in the night watchesand so she resolved to be.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
The Old Sergeant is fictional. © Story by Gayle Rae
Great story Gayle
Thank you, Steve. I appreciate it.
By the way Gayle-———are these Freeper nite time stories?
Not necessarily. It’s just a coincidence they keep appearing in the this time frame.
Thank you!!! Definitely a philosophy to embrace and a goal to achieve.
Thank you, Glenn. I’m glad you see it so . :)
Food for thought.
Thank you for a very nice realistic story. One that anyone who has stood a watch can relate to. I really enjoyed the part where she meditates on her leader and considers how one day it might be her.
I appreciate that observation. As both a night owl and diagnosed insomniac I spend a great deal of time in the wee hours of the morning doing what Claire did. It really is a most opportune moment for such meditations. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
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