Reflections: I Come From A Long Line Of War Heroes

Enjoy our “Reflections” post — one of many vignettes and stories featuring memories of days gone by. This installment is from J.W. “Jay” Mitchell of Coldwater, Mississippi, as seen in “The Oxford So & So.”

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Jay Mitchell and his wife

I have documented family members that fought in these wars: Revolutionary War, War for Southern Independence, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. I call all of them heroes because I think that anybody going off to war is a hero.

I didn’t go to war. I was born at the wrong time but mainly because I have been one-eyed since I was only 4 years old. I wanted to go and prove that I was as brave as my ancestors but they wouldn’t take me.

Secretly, I have often wondered what kind of soldier I might have been. I wouldn’t admit it but a lot of things scare me. The thought of somebody shooting at me makes me think that I might been a deserter. I was on the Ole Miss campus back in 1962 when the James Meredith riots broke out. I told some bystanders that I was going to my apartment to check on my roommates but I really needed to get the hell out of there are the shooting started.

In my youth I had a complex about my eye and tried to compensate by acting like a little smart alec. I wasn’t big enough to be a big smart a–. But I bluffed my way though a lot of tough situations without having to prove it.

I shouldn’t even write this story; I would die if my grandkids read this while I’m still alive – probably going to delete it anyway. BUT, this morning something happened that really made me wonder if I wasn’t adopted.

The wife and I have a little hobby farm near our home. I love it and start my day by going over and feeding my animals and working in the garden. We have a lovely old farm house, filled with antiques but I don’t go inside everyday when I’m over there.

This morning I did go inside to check on things and found that something had gotten into two of my potted plants and thrown dirt all over the room. I put some D-Con poison out and decided to take the plants outside, add more potting soil and water them down really good.

These plants are quite large and heavy. I had to bear-hug the larger of the two and was almost outside when a mouse came out of the pot, jumped on my chest, ran down my leg and cured my constipation.

Give me a minute – I know that I have a weird brain; I don’t always know where my thoughts come from – but at that moment, I started thinking about my great-grandfathers that suffered in the War for Southern Independence, and wondered if a damn mouse would have scared them as much as this creature scared me.

I would have been a deserter.

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