One Night, One Decision, One Moment
I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and a man introduced himself. He said, “I’m Clifford Argue.”
Something about his last name rang a bell, but I couldn’t quite place it.
I had just finished a screening of one of my movies and there were quite a few people I was saying hello to and signing things for.
I turned to him and said, “Argue. Why does that name sound familiar to me?”
He said, “My father knew your father.”
And then, it dawned on me as to who he was.
For decades, I had been told a story by my father that changed his life.
My father was in the Army in World War II. He was in his early 20’s, and was a driver for a man named Colonel Argue. My father was Greek and so was Colonel Argue.
As the war was ending, they were liberating the concentration camps. One cold night, they hunkered down in a small town. Some of the buildings had been blown apart from all the bombing and some buildings were still intact.
As the hours went by, the temperature got colder and colder. My dad asked Colonel Argue if they could go inside one of the buildings that had not been blown apart, so they could sleep in a warm building.
Colonel Argue said no. He explained to my father that the protocol was that didn’t sleep inside those buildings, because there was always the chance that the Germans had planted explosives in those buildings knowing that the American soldiers would seek warmth in buildings that hadn’t been blown up.
As the night drew colder and colder, my dad asked the Colonel a couple more times, but the Colonel stuck to the plan and the soldiers slept outside in the freezing cold.
The next morning, the soldiers began to wake up and gather their belonging when they suddenly heard an enormous explosion.
My father looked over and saw the building, that he had been asking Colonel Argue to sleep in, had been blown up by explosives that had been hidden in the building.
Had my dad and the Colonel been in the building, they would have been killed instantly.
This became one of the most profound events of my father’s life. It also contributed greatly to him being very religious. He knew God had spared his life.
I talked to Clifford Argue and he knew the story very well. In fact, he had a tape recording of my father talking about that very story.
My dad had passed away several years before I met Clifford Argue. So, I asked him if I could hear the tape.
He sent it to me and, sure enough, there was an audio recording of my father telling the story that I had heard for so many years, growing up.
How ironic that the sons of those two men would meet up years later.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought about that story and realized had the Colonel decided to sleep in that warm building that night, both men would have been killed.
I would have never been born. I would have never met my wife. Our children would never have been born.
That one night, that one decision, that one moment held so much future life in it.
Only God can know these things.