I just finished taking a creative writing class. We spend just an hour writing in each class and then share our writing immediately. That leave the writing unpolished but very fresh. This story, based on things my grandfather recently told me, is probably true but I took a few liberties to make it cohesive.

My Grandfather's story has been substantiated only by him. I have yet to question other parties involved, but it does help explain many things. Like his right ear that no longer hears, why the wedding rings he gave me are not just any-old-rings, and perhaps, just perhaps, his story could explain why in Portland it is illegal for men to tickle women under the chin with feather dusters. (The feather dusters part is a shameless insertion of that week's writing prompt which was a list of odd laws.) 
My grandfather is a Portlander and his mother is a Portlander and father and I, we are all Portlanders. It is important to understand that. Important to understand that I could, if I could just nail down a few more facts, visit the place he was married, where he had his first kiss, and where his mother first  lost her wedding ring.
The details, as I mentioned, are a bit lacking and I find myself more reluctant than expected to fill them in fictitiously. I will start with my grandfather the signaler. In World War II he enlisted, went to the Pacific, and grew up the quick way. 
He learned the skill of flagging. Two short, red and white squares. Not even a flag. Rigid works better, communicates better. Hold one in each hand at abrupt angles. One o'clock and nine o'clock, three and eleven o'clock, snap snap snap. Saying "Yes, bring the boats in. Unload. Hold up, still unpacking. All set here. Go to the next camp."
On the final landing at Iwo Jima my grandfather, like the rest, was just taking orders, waiting or reacting. Even so he was an orchestrator. Someone with the ability to make things happen at a time and place. Close to the higher-ups by necessity meant that he collected the beer rations for him and his fellows. An essential task of course. Two of them didn't drink. No matter, more for the rest.
Finishing beers was certainly a worthwhile pass time with no motivation to explore the nearby fauna. The beach was wide open, without surprises, full of friends, food and beer. The jungle surely hid the enemy. Stragglers, either unwilling or unable to retreat. Unable to retreat was not the same as unable to fire.
The beach without surprises. The thing about surprises is that they are not expected. Those who cannot retreat have little to live for. Those who have time and beer give up other things. My grandfather suspects that someone in the jungle got to their ammunition dump. What he knows is that he came to awareness wandering the jungle. His hearing compromised, but his life was not. His mother's wedding ring, still on his right hand, would be returning to her yet again, against the odds, with her son.
A returned soldier is a hero, a catch, proven, desired material. At least in his own eyes. In reality it becomes tiresome to say "Speak to my other ear," to explain again and again that the ring is on the RIGHT hand. And besides, who's really asking about the ring anyway? Certainly not Ethel Peru (name changed), spotted a few rows ahead in Church and far more interesting than the father and his words. She became the spoon-full-of-sugar that accompanied his mother's orders to attend church again upon returning from the war. This Ethel was going to take some work.
I now know that for pizza, real pizza with the wonderful smell, without the edgy doughs and topping combinations, can be found at Pizza Villa. Pizza built on tradition. Oddly, the perfect place for father, son and grandson who haven't stood together in years to share some beers, eat, and talk.
It is an event. Three generations brought together for the exchange of rings. Once one ring, then formed into two on the hands of Ethel and the soldier, now passed to me, bound by a purple twist-tie, with shaking hands.

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