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Gilly the Brave

Tags: war, deafness

Gilly wasn't born deaf. He had painful inner ear infections as a kid. These days, they wouldn't remove parts of his inner ear like they did then. My mom's oldest sister was a student nurse who helped operate on him, she felt bad about it later. He managed alright by reading lips and watching what other people did, so when he was drafted and everyone else was raising their right hand and wiggling their pointer finger, he did too. 

He was on point, because Indians are always scouts. The VC killed everyone behind him. When he got back, he was blamed, and court marshaled, and sent to Leavenworth, and dishonorably discharged.

My mom's youngest sister married his youngest brother. My uncles and my cousins and I collected whatever the season in the woods had to give us. Huckleberries, and morel mushrooms, firewood, poles for fences, meat, fish, and Christmas trees. Uncle Gilly could run a chainsaw all day without getting a headache. My uncles fought forest fires every summer. Gilly never said a lot, but he worked hard and always smiled.

Gilly became a diabetic, and was insulin dependent, so he quit drinking when he was in his thirties. About ten years ago he went on a drinking binge and died of diabetic shock. 

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