FRIEND, ENEMY AND FAMILY
Harold, known as "The Jumper" by his old paratrooper buddies from WWII and his wife, June, had left their home in Louisiana. They were traveling to Germany to look up some long-lost relatives, which June had discovered after joining a genealogy chat room on the Internet.
"The air feels and smells good this time around," said Harold as he and his wife disembarked from the airplane, which had just landed in Berlin. That same air had been somewhat bitter the last time he and his army buddies drove down these same streets in an old army jeep. The first time, he and his buddies had weapons in hand. This now seemed to Harold to be many life times ago.
After checking into the hotel, Harold and June got a bite to eat and then returned to their hotel. It was there they laid out all their files and genealogy papers on the bed and were deciding where to start their search the next morning. "Schultz would be the most common name to start with," said Harold.
"I think Clause R. Shultz is from my mother's side of the family, somewhere," said June as she placed the paper at the top of the bed.
The next morning, Harold got up early and decided to walk down several of the streets that he, as a 22-year-old soldier, had driven with his young friends more than 50 years ago. All of a sudden, Harold stopped dead in his tracks.
"My God! That's the house," Harold thought as he stared in amazement. "I cannot believe that it is still there."
In the heat of battle, Harold and his buddies captured a wounded German soldier and were taking him back to the headquarters building. The soldier asked them if they might consider stopping for just a moment when they passed his mother's house just up ahead - the same house that Harold now stood before. They stopped the jeep in front of the small, white house, and Harold walked up and knocked on the front door. An old, frail-looking, white-haired woman peeked out through the small crack as she slightly opened the door.
"American!" shouted Harold to the old woman.
"No American here. No American," said the woman shaking her head back and forth.
"Momma!" yelled the young German soldier.
The woman opened the door and ran toward the jeep. The Americans raised their weapons and stood silently. The old woman ran over, hugged the wounded soldier and started to cry.
"Please don't kill my boy. He is a good boy," she cried.
Harold walked over and pushed several of the weapons that were still being pointed at the old woman to the side.
"Your boy will be okay," said Harold as he placed his arm on her shoulders pulling her away from her son. "We have to go now."
Several hours later, the prisoner was delivered to headquarters. Harold and his squad headed back into battle.
Harold nervously and slowly walked up to the front door of the house, and knocked. The door opened and a young girl stood before him.
"Excuse me. Is you mother or father home?" he asked.
"My grandma is here,” said the young girl.
Just at that moment, an older woman appeared at the door and smiled.
"Excuse me ma'am. I'm looking for a gentleman that lived here many years ago. He was a soldier in the German army and he was wounded in the shoulder and neck. Would you have any idea who he might be?" asked Harold.
"Yes," said the woman. "That is my husband and he is the minister of the church just down the street."
He thanked her and headed off down the street to find the church.
"Sure glad we didn't have to shoot this guy. Him turning out to be a preacher and all," thought Harold.
As he reached the church, Harold opened the large door and entered the darkened room. He saw no one except the cleaning lady, who was wiping down the pulpit.
"Excuse me. Is the minister or pastor here?" he asked.
She looked up, said nothing at all and pointed toward a side door located at the front of the church.
Harold walked over to the door and reached out to knock. As his closed fist hit the hard oak door, he looked up and saw a small hand-made wooden plaque, which read, "Clause R. Shultz, Minister."