Reminiscences Of A Hot July In south Carolina

Well, much as I hate it political season is in full swing. All you can see on the toob is candidates and nekkid women. Not that I mind looking at the gal wearing one can of strategically placed beer, but the candidates all sound like they got a jackass caught in their throat and got beat with an ugly stick on the same night.

And the inevitable violence against women, nekkid or otherwise. And after all the shakeout it looks like we can look forward to a truly wonderful choice this next November. Hillary and a party to be named.

But I sure wish candidates on the toob would get as naked as the women on TV so we could see just how puffed up a bunch of nothing’s we had running for office!

Have you paid any attention to the candidates and their proposals? I never heard so many men boldly settin’ out for nowhere before in my life. On the Democratic (?) side we had Gore and Bradley tweedledeein’ and tweedledumin’ that the Constitution should be ignored – and on the Republican (??) side we had McCain out Demo the Democrats without actually seeming to agree with them.

If you took the “Social Security illegals” suits off this year’s crop of candidates the whole lot of them would be laughed out of town. Except for one candidate who seems to have a body by Nautilus and a brain by Mattel.

At least the story that went around about that fellow was that he called the Government’s computer support type and said he couldn’t log into the Senate’s computer system. He told the tech gal on the phone that he gave the password to log in and put in his user name and password and all he got was “Access Denied.”

So the little gal checked her list and didn’t see any other reason for him being denied access, so she suggested that he try again “but use lower case letters.”

“But there aren’t anything but capital letters on my keyboard,” the pol snapped.

Yesser, a little thin between the ears. Nearabout a hard vacuum. And like most of this years crop of candidates, he has a mouth by EuroTunnel Associates.

Listening to this year’s crop of candidates brag about their achievements reminds me of the retired Marine First Sergeant who died. The “First Skirt” had been a cutter, but he’d repented his sins and spent his last few years working hard for his church.

You know it sez in the good book that all the laborers in the vineyard of the Lord will get their reward, so when he got to the Pearly Gates Saint Pete welcomed him in.

“Is there anything we can get for you?” asks the Fisher of Men.

“Yessir,” sez the First Sleeve. “I have always liked chorus music and I never got enough of it on earth. If you could be so kind, I’d like to hear ten thousand sopranos singing all at once. Could you arrange that?”

“No problem,” sez Saint Peter. “Would there be anything else?”

“Well, I would be nice to hear ten thousand altos singing with the sopranos,” sez the First Shirt.

“No problem, would there be anything else?”

“Well, ten thousand tenors and ten thousand baritones would fill out the choir,” sez Sarge.

“That’s no problem, but what about the bass?” asks the Saint. “Don’t you need ten thousand basses to finish out the choir?”

“Naw,” sez Sarge. “I’ll sing the bass myself.”

But I was dis-cussing politicians. You know, it’s a terrible thought but I hope crime does not get any worse in this country. Every political office we have is full, and if we had any more crooks in this country we wouldn’t have any place to put them.

Yessir, looking at the candidates and their records, it sort of makes you wonder where we are going in this country. And why are we in this handbasket. But the truth about politics is that most of the folks who care enough to vote don’t care who is in office as long as their government check comes in regular.

But I don’t suppose I should criticize the candidates. Politician is a dirty job but somebody has to do it. And it’s like my Drill Instructor used to tell us recruits, “Every man is a mixture of good and bad qualities. When we go to judge our fellow men, we should remember his good qualities and know that his faults only go to prove that he is a human like the rest of us. We must not judge a man harshly just because he is a lousy, miserable, lying, thieving, no good sonuvabitch.”

That was in our leadership class. Which might give you some idea of the general tone of the rest of the classes. Especially considering Corporal Keller was one of our easier to get along with DI’s. And if circumstances had been different I ‘spect the Corporal would have been a pretty nice guy.

Why, one day when we were waiting on another platoon to clear the chapel, the smoking lamp was lit, our one-striper told us about the time he was stationed at Norfolk and his wife came in to help him spend a three day pass. If spend is the word I want.

Now, you know how military couples who only get together at intervals are. No sir, Rabbits ain’t got a thing on the married denizens of the enlisted men’s barracks. Like that old limerick goes…

When he’s home on leave, Staff Sergeant Steve,
Would say, with twinkling eye
The second thing
I want, by jing
Is a piece of apple pie.

Now that reminds me of a fellow name of Luke who used to part time where I worked. Luke’s night job was insurance salesman. He sold a policy to Moose Hubert, and when he was through he sez, “Moose, the premium will be $3.90 for a thousand dollars of straight life. Straight life is what you want, isn’t it?”

“Well,” sez Moose sadly, “I would have liked to fool around a little on Saturday night.”

But anyhoo, with all the fun and excitement Corporal Keller and his squaw had during his pass he left his wallet in their hotel room.

So he catches his wife at the hotel and gets her to detour by the front gate and drop his wallet off with the guard. This was during that “Korean peace action” and security was tight. So he hotfoots to the gate and braces the corporal of the guard, explaining what he wanted.

“And you will know my wife real easy,” he sez. “She’s blonde, five one, and very, very pregnant.”

“Corporal, this is a Navy base,” sez the guy with the gun in a pained tone of voice. “You are going to have to give me whole lot better description than that!”

I don’t know how true it wuz, but Pfc Blackburn, our other DI, claimed that Corporal Keller had made Sergeant while he was stationed in Japan. He lost his stripes the next day when the Colonel summoned him.

“Keller, what’s this I hear about you getting drunk last night and wheeling a wheelbarrow through the French Embassy?”

“I dunno about that, Sir,” sez the hapless Sarge. “All I know about it is that the Captain was riding in it at the time.”

For some reason thinking about Private First Class Blackburn reminds me of Felix Correa. Maybe because our PFC was always on Felix’ duster. Deservedly.

But anyhoo, a recruits pay was essentially zilch until his ten weeks were up. We recruits were supposedly allowed PX privileges, and we could either pay with money or we could sign a chit against our pay – if we didn’t spend over a dollar at a time. So Felix figured he needed a little of the coin of the realm, so he could actually buy something in the PX if we ever got to go.

So Felix writes a letter home, beggin’ for a little lettuce. His masterpiece of prose went about like this….

“Dear Dad$

Gue$$ what I am in de$perate need of? That$ right, it need some mo$t of all. $o plea$e $end me $ome right away.

Your $on, Felix”

And from the wilds of Joisey, his daddy writes him back…

“Dear Felix:

NOthing ever happens here. Write us aNOther letter aNOn. Your sister asked about you. NOw we have to say goodbye.

Your Father”

I never really understood Felix, though. I suppose he’d have been a pretty decent Good Humor peddler, or almost anything else that didn’t have a lot of work involved. Because Felix was allergic to work. And he joined the Corps because his brother had been a Marine!

According to Felix, his brother had been stationed on Guam. Carlo was sending his wife a sugar report every week, so everything seemed to be going according to Hoyle. But somehow or another somebody that his wife knew had a sister who knew somebody whose brother had a buddy who had a friend who – well, you get the picture.

And the buddy’s friend had written back to the brother that Felix’ brother had just gone wild over a beautiful native gal. The news was too good to keep, so whether she had reason or not the wife had a serious case of the green eye.

So Felix’ brothers wife goes to see her doctor to get some advice. “I just can’t understand it. Carlo had always been such a loving husband and now I hear he’s cutting up with one of those island girls all day and night. What can I do, doctor?”

“Mmmm,” sez the croaker. “Does Carlo like fudge?”

“Why, yes,” sez the wife.

“Well, the solution is quite simple,” sez the quack. “Just go to the pharmacy and get a package of saltpeter. Saltpeter is a chemical that reduces a mans sexual desires. Make a big batch of fudge, mix in the saltpeter, send it to him, and it will take all your husband’s desire away.”

So the green eyed wife does exactly that. And then she waits and she waits and she waits to hear how her husband liked the fudge. About three months after she mailed the fudge off she gets her weekly letter from Carlo. Beside herself with anxiety, she rips the letter open and begins to read.

The letter began “Dear friend:”

But anyhoo, I was on guard one night when PFC Blackburn
came back from a five day “compassionate leave” in Jacksonville. Rode the Atlantic Coast Line down and back, overnight each way. And he’s telling Corporal Keller that when he gets on the Orange Blossom Special on the way back he runs into a beautiful woman in the lounge.

“So we get to making small talk, and I buy her a drink. And I buy her another drink. So she invites me to her compartment. And what with one thing and another she falls into my arms and we start kissing up a fog, and then she starts crying.”

“What’s wrong, darling?’ I asks.”

“I just got to thinking about my husband,” she sez. “He’s so kind and so compassionate, and he has no idea that I would fool around this way.”

“She keeps on extolling the virtues of her husband and crying, and darned if I didn’t start bawling right along with her.’ sez Blackburn.”

“Well, what did you do then?” asks Corporal Keller.

“Nothing, we just kept on kissing and crying all the way to Savannah.”

And the clock on the wall sez it’s time to lock this place up and go to the house. I may be back after a while.


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