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Picture of You

I heard a great story this weekend. It’s got it all. Enjoy.

It was 1942 when Private Ben Smith arrived to his new post somewhere in Belgium. Like most soldiers arriving to a new post, his first order of business was to grab the mail that had been accumulating for weeks. Or even months.

As anticipated, a stack of mail was waiting for Ben, wrapped in twine. He flipped through the stack of sealed envelopes, looking for a particular one he’d been expecting ever since he left home months earlier.

He found the envelope near the bottom of the stack. The only one that mattered. It was from his girl back home, Emily. This wasn’t just any letter from a girl, by the way. You see, just before he got on the ship to Europe, Ben had popped the big question. Emily had yet to answer, but had promised to do so in writing.

Ben opened the letter. It read:

Dear Ben,

I hope this letter finds you well. I regret to inform you that my answer is no. I’ve met somebody since you left, and I’ve agreed to marry him instead.

I do have one favor to ask of you. Do you remember that picture I gave you just before you got on the boat? It’s my favorite picture of myself. If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind sending that picture back to me? I want my new fiancee to have it.



Ben was heartbroken. After regrouping with a couple beers and a smoke, he went to each of the guys in his new unit, and asked if they had a picture of their best girl back home. Most of them did. Ben then asked each of the guys if it would be weird to keep the picture of their girl for himself, provided they had an extra one to spare.

His new comrades were surprisingly cooperative. Each soldier furnished Ben with a picture of their girl back home.

Ben took the pictures of all his comrades’ girls, nearly two dozen of them, and put them in a box. He addressed the box to Emily, and enclosed the following letter:

Dear Emily,

I hope this letter finds you well. Congratulations on your new engagement.

Enclosed are the pictures I have. I apologize, but I honestly can’t remember which one’s yours. Please pick the picture of you and mail the rest back to me.



(via John Bucher)

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