A midday flight from San Diego to DFW. I got on the plane and across the aisle was a little old man. Tiny, stooped, arthritic, wearing a ball cap that clearly indicated he was a veteran. Come to find out he was in the wrong seat, he was supposed to be in the center seat next to my window seat.
After he changed seats, he remained pretty quiet for a while, till I ordered a cheese snack tray from the attendant. He asked what it was and how much it was... He also said it was a shame it cost so much. I had to agree. He did order one, for which the guy in the aisle seat kindly paid.
My friend pulled a book from the seat pocket in front of him, put on his glasses and read a bit. I kept looking at the photo on the front of the book. It was clearly about a very honored veteran. The title was Hardcore "Iron Mike " Conqueror of Iwo Jima. Finally, I asked "is that you"? He said "YEP, that's me". Then the floodgates opened. Sort of.
His name is Mike Mervosh. He is 94 years old. He is a 3 War Veteran. Yes, I capitalized that. Think about it. A THREE WAR VETERAN. WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. It nearly made me cry, except that he was making me laugh so hard.
I asked him about the small purple heart pin on his cap. 2 stones were on that pin. I asked if that meant he had 2 purple hearts? "Yep, got two of them". When I asked about the details he said I had to buy the book! I did read on the back of the book jacket he was also a middle weight boxing champ! But for the details.... I had to buy the book. LOL. I asked about his nickname, Iron Mike. Yep, gotta buy the book. LOL.
He did tell me he lived alone. Remember he's 94! He also said he drives from Oceanside CA. to Las Vegas to go gambling. He then asked if DFW had slot machines! No friend, not in Texas I told him.
He asked me my name and I told him. He said "OH, I'll remember that, I had a girlfriend named Lisa! wrote her a song". He proceeded to sing me that song. He said she broke up with though. I asked when. "oh,'bout 5 years ago". He cracked me up.
I tried to video some of our talk on my phone but the plane was too loud and nothing was audible. I was honored though, to get a selfie with him.
He did tell me he was traveling to Branson MO for a reunion of 3 War Veterans. What once was 20,000 is no down to 20.
When we landed and were waiting to de-plane, I couldn't resist, I had to stand up and tell everyone who could hear what an honor we had to travel with this man. A round of applause, some HOORAH's and of course we escorted to his wheelchair to make sure he got to his next gate.
He'll be in Dallas on Veterans Day and I plan on crashing the event to see my friend. I will have bought the book by then and I want Iron Mike to sign it.
I may have fallen in love a little with this man. Sorry Ray, he stole my heart.