LightStream Productions

Rhia’s Corner

                          August,  2006

By Rhiannon Waits

George Quincy Adams



I have written about extraordinary people in my life that have touched my heart and enlightened my soul. In this column, you will meet a man who will always be a legend in my life. His name was George Quincy Adams and he will forever be in my heart.

The first time Quincy came to our home, I eyed him suspiciously because of appearance. Woman and children he encountered would react by screaming and running and men would stare awkwardly. I did neither, which made him extremely happy.

Quincy was a very young man when he entered the army. He had graduated medical school and, by all rights, was a doctor. This fact did not deter him from his military duty or his patriotism. He became a foot soldier in combat instead of a military doctor. He marched in horrible weather and was involved in many battles. His last battle left him scarred for life physically and mentally. It would cast him into a solitary world where very few could look past his scars.

I was neither scared of him nor did I stare at him as if he was different. I could see the energy around him was good and loving. Looking even deeper in him, I could see loneliness and a sense of loss behind his deep brown eyes. Yet no one ever truly heard Quincy complain. He was an exceptional man.

His rare visits to our home became a nightly ritual. Mom and Dad gave him the recliner as his chair to sit and watch television with us every night. Usually he would eat dinner with us and chat about what happened in our small rural community or tell us of events in his workday.



Every night Quincy would bring me something and teach me lessons. Every new type of fruit or vegetable was brought so his “Baby Girl” could try it. He would find inventions, books, or treasures and would appear nightly to give to me so I could be experience the outside world. I can still remember the first night he pulled out his new reading glasses while blushing and exclaiming, “Well, if I am going to help you with your homework I need to be able to see the questions better”. He smiled and went on looking at the book while I inspected his face with his new glasses. I wonder now if he thought it strange I would inspect how he looked with glasses on but never reacted to his scarred face that had most of its features burnt off.

One night we were watching a movie after Mom, Dad, Quincy, and I had shared a couple of 16oz RC Colas. I was stretched out on the floor in front of the television watching it intently as the movie suddenly killed one of the main characters. I hide my face inside my arms as hot tears streamed down my face. I tried hard to hold in the sobs that were trying to rack my body. I still remember Quincy’s 6’3 frame bending down as he swept my blonde hair away with one of his lobster claw hands. He very gently said” Baby Girl – do not ever be ashamed for feeling sad when you see someone killed. I am glad that life has not hardened you so you cannot feel compassion for another living being. Let me see those tears because they make me proud to be sitting by such a compassionate little girl. The day you stop crying while seeing death is the day I will start.”

As the years came and went, Quincy was a very important part of our entire family’s lives. I learned that he lived alone in a very small damaged camper out in a field. He never married because no one could see past the scars he was inflicted with on the battlefield. He had special devices to help him dress, cut trees to support himself and drive a car. However, most of all I learned that the most awesome people on earth may be hidden by disfigured bodies.

Much later in my life, I was told the story of how he had been injured. Quincy had just pulled the pin on a phosphorus bomb when his friend behind him was shot. His friend fell on top of him before he could throw the phosphorus bomb he held in his hand. As he lay on top of it, it ate away his face, neck arms, and hands. The damage was so severe that when his sister came to see him in the hospital – she could only recognize his warm brown eyes.

Through out his life, many people missed the exceptional spirit of George Quincy Adams because of his physical scars. They deprived their selves of angel placed on this earth with lessons to share with everyone. He didn’t receive government grants as he worked everyday to support himself in spite of his hands being short digits or lobster shaped. He did not think anyone owed him anything nor did he want anyone’s sympathy. The best way to see George Quincy Adams temper was to feel sorrow or pity for him. He would rather you screamed and ran then to offer him charity.

The last time I seen Quincy, I was grown and visiting him in the Veterans hospital in Memphis TN. One day while he was cutting logs and trying to roll them in place, one broke free and rolled over him breaking his neck. Being paralyzed from the neck down made the last part of his life bed ridden in a VA hospital, miles away from us all.

I would visit Quincy, trim his hair, feed him, and adjust the TV for him. I would not be able to go regularly but when I did, I would tell him how much he meant to me. That was so little in comparison to the impact he had made on my life.

This little Lesson on Love and Life is on Angels. Angels are not always beautiful or have perfect facial features. Not all angels have feather wings, halos, or work miracles for themselves. They are not always easily detected. Sometimes an angel is disfigured with its entire splendor lying beneath the skin. Yet these angels have important messages to share.

If Quincy was here today, I think he would want me to tell everyone that beauty, color, or nationality is only skin-deep. The inner energy – the spirit is what is important.


Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Bible, Hebrews xiii. 2.


The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

George Eliot (1819 - 1880)

Little Lessons on Life and Life by Rhiannon Waits

ISBN 0-9779502-3-9

$14.95 US Plus S&H


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