Who I Am


Several Airmen were assigned to a communication class designed teach us how to process our feelings as we continued in our careers. One of the main assignments the Chaplain had us complete was righting a brief statement titled, “Who I am.” It was a free-form assignment as long as we developed 10 sentences about how we saw ourselves. I chose to create a free-verse poem:

I am my father’s son,
I am my mother’s child.
A Person,
Unnoticed by some,
Seen by many.
Like a curving path,
Straight as an arrow.
The same as everyone,
A little different.
Forever changing.

After being asked to get-up and read it aloud, a guy came up to me and asked, “Are you Tommy Darby, the sprinter?”

I didn’t recognize him immediately. He, like me was shaved bald and wearing the same green-weenie uniform as everyone else. As soon as I answered that I was, he smiled and introduced himself.

It was Jerry Ballard.  He and I went to Del Norte High together. We had even been team members on the cross country team.  We made plans to get a beer on our next weekend-liberty. But it never happened as we never had the same liberty schedule.

While I don’t know whatever became of Jerry, I owe him a beer for making this kid feel like he wasn’t all that far from home.

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