On this day of thanks, I am feeling nostalgic, as I’m prone to do, and thinking of Sergeant Dave Urbanski and his lovely wife whose name I’ve forgotten over the years. On a cold Thanksgiving morning, more than 30 year ago, while stationed at a Marine base in Iwakuni, Japan, they invited me, a young Lance Corporal at the time, and some of my fellow barracks Marines to their home for a hearty and fun filled Thanksgiving Day meal. We played football in their front yard for a while and then later looked on as Dave taught his young son to ride a bicycle. Later we adjourned into their warm home to partake in a feast complete with turkey, ham and every dessert imaginable; at least it sure seemed that way to me.
A couple of blurry snapshots are all that I have today as tangible proof of the existence of the Urbanski family, but I will always carry with me the intangible lessons I learned from them that day.
Without the invite I would have spent the holiday in the barracks and eaten dinner in the chow hall, so it meant a lot to me as a young Marine, far from my own home, to have been invited into the Urbanski’s on that cold November day. No words of mine today can accurately convey my gratitude to the young family who took us in, but I at least want my children to know about them so that long after I’m gone, they too will remember the act of kindness bestowed upon their father many many years ago.
To Dave Urbanski and his family, where ever you are today, I hope you are having a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. I will never forget your kindness to us that day.
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