Profiles in Courage: Mr. CharlesApril 2, 2018
To hear Mr. Charles’ daughter, Alisha, talk about him, you can’t help but to picture him as a young adult sitting in a big chair in the corner of the room with his two younger kids in his lap, his son on one knee and Alisha on the other. In this image, Mr. Charles is lecturing his children about life. He is telling them to always think independently. “Always think outside of the box,” he says. Alisha hears her dad, but is distracted by the motorcycle on his t-shirt and begins asking questions about Harley Davidson and why he always wears these shirts. Her dad explains his love for motorcycles and why riding is important to him. And Alisha listens like it is the most interesting thing she has ever heard.
As the kids grow up, they keep asking questions and their dad keeps answering, but every once in a while, the answers fall just a bit short, like when he talks about serving in the Navy, aboard the USS Iowa during WWII. It is obvious that the memories are too painful, but he does reveal that a part of his job was to train new sailors and that long the way, he lost a lot of people who meant a great deal to him.
When Mr. Charles gets older and moves in with Alisha, he speaks a lot about the Native American Indian heritage and influence in his life. He reminds her of the time she was under the weather and he prepared a special drink for her, clearing her of the illness within hours. She laughs at the memory of her father picking up the smallest insects and the scariest of spiders to place them out of harm’s way. And the constant whistling might get old if it wasn’t for the family of birds who decides to create a nest on his porch just to be close to him.
You see, Mr. Charles is a natural teacher. It was his way when the kids were little. He was recruited to teach in the Navy. This talent follows him wherever he goes that even the insects and birds want to learn from him! And then there are the rest of us; we learn from him too. We learn that sometimes it’s the big conversations that make the largest impact and sometimes, sometimes it is those quiet moments, the ones where we sit together and whistle that teachers us that if we are still long enough, the world will come to us and we will begin to see things from a new perspective.