Topic: "Lookin' Back, Texas" (3)
Frodo thinks a lot about pencils and paper, typewriters and ribbons, mimeograph machines and all those things that have technologically advanced the written word. It may have taken days for the earliest scribes to express a single syllable, as it certainly took years for Monks to transcribe words like "In the beginning. . ." Now, Frodo advances and retreats, corrects and amends as he sees fit, in an instant. Whether or not he accomplishes anything will be left to those who someday look at the characterizations of thought from an entirely different paradigm.
Frodo has a hand written letter, in pencil, written on brown paper, that was mailed, free of charge, from an uncle he never knew to Frodo's father. That same uncle once graced the cover of LIFE magazine, standing guard in heavy winter clothing, rifle on his shoulder, on the steps of the US Capitol, during a time of War. It is a very famous photograph.
His duty prevented him from attending his sister's wedding to Frodo's father, a man for whom he had great affection; for he was already in England when Frodo's father married Bilbo on October 5th, 1943. When Frodo's father followed him across the sea, he promised Bilbo that he would find her brother and perhaps they could take care of one another. It was a thought that soothed Bilbo's darkest fears.
How two soldiers, among millions of men far from home, were able to find one another as their respective outfits moved in parallel footsteps is a mystery to Frodo. But it happened, and the two friends now had the capacity to write each other directly, sharing thoughts that could not be comprehended by those who watched and waited for their return.
In the Fall of 1944, Frodo's uncle wrote the letter that Frodo now holds. His outfit, as opposed to that of Frodo's father, was in the thick of Hell itself. He did not have much time for school back home, so many of his words are not properly constructed or implemented, but they are direct and troublesome. Pencil marks do not wear well, and over time the writing is not only onerous, but it is fading. Not all of the words are easily discernible, but "horrible" and "hope you don't see anything like this" come through as if the pencil has just been lifted from the paper. These may have been the last of his words.
Frodo's father knew what had happened before the telegram reached the family home. "Crossing the Saar River" is permanently etched in Frodo's memory to this day. Frodo's father was able to, once again, find those who had served with Frodo's uncle, and they told him how he had died. Frodo's father never told anyone else, including Frodo, what he learned.
All Frodo has is the letter. Would that, someday, something that Frodo writes will be as eloquent, as simple, and so meaningful.