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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
last time I seen
Quincy, I was grown and visiting him in the
Veterans hospital in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(1819 - 1880)