Mother in the Trenches
A Storyby Robert Olen Butler
With a world full of foolishly dangerous men, what’s a mother to do? Like all the mothers of the world I am stuck with the barbarian Kaiser Wilhelm, a man full of himself but as hollow as a soufflé, and that well-meaning fool of a schoolmaster, Woodrow Wilson—I have known men like this all my life, being around preachers and teachers and also around my father, rest his soul, who was himself a bit of both, men who are certain they grasp things that no man can grasp for certain—and Black Jack Pershing, another kind of man, like the one I married, a man with quick, sure hands, I’d wager, and a single-minded bond with other men under whatever flag it may be—American, for General Jack and my own Jack—and there’s nothing in the world to weaken that bond or soften those hands. My son is a man, too, according to the Selective Service Act, but God help me if I’ll let him be a man yet without a fight.