"Gory, gory what a helluva way to die
Gory, gory what
a helluva way to die,
and he ain't
gonna jump no more.
Gory, Gory, what
a helluva way to die."
I'd heard that song before. A few years ago, I had the misfortune of trying to get
a night's sleep in the same hotel where the 82nd Airborne was having one of their annual
reunions. They staggered up and down the halls most of the night, bellowing that song to
the tops of their voices before throwing up on the floor and passing out in a drunken
stupor. This time, it was coming from a much different source than those inebriated
revelers; it was my ten year old grandson who was singing it.
Jason had come
to stay with us for a couple weeks, but since our neighborhood was made up of mostly
retired people like myself and no young families with kids, he was having to more or less
entertain himself. I walked around the house to where he was running a toy truck over
little piles of sand.
the world did you ever hear a song like that?" I asked.
Jack went away to a reunion with the guys that he was in the army with and came back home
singing it," he replied. "He was a paratrooper and jumped out of airplanes with
a parachute and killed lots of Germans. Grandpa Chuck goes to reunions too. He was on a
battleship and shot down lots of Jap airplanes with an Ack-Ack gun."
I had long
realized that when it came to my daughter's kids, I was outnumbered by a ratio of two to
one in the grandfather department. She married a man whose parents had divorced and
remarried, giving her children two grandfathers on their dad's side but only one on hers.
you do in the war, Grandpa Jim?" came his questions in rapid-fire order. This kid had
the unique ability of being able to ask questions three at a time.
wasn't in the same war that your other two grandpas served in," I replied.
you weren't in that war?"
"Do you get
to go to reunions, sing songs, get drunk and throw water balloons at people?"
grandfathers must come home with some mighty tall tales about their exploits at reunions
with their old buddies. To my knowledge, my old unit has never had a reunion, and probably
never will have one if our luck holds out.
World War Two, the one in which your other grandfathers served, they drafted men according
to when they were born. The last month and year that they drafted was October, 1928, the
month before I was born. Had the war gone on any longer, I would probably have been
drafted to serve in it. I was in the Korean War, or Police Action as they liked to call
it, and served in an organization known as SCARWAF." I answered.
the Korean war?"
Jack killed all the Germans and Grandpa Chuck shot down all the Japs, so why did you join
up to fight in another war?"
I didn't join up, I was drafted. Being in the army was the last place that I expected or
wanted to be. The best that I can figure is that they decided to have the Korean war to
get even with those of us who were born a year or so too late to get drafted into what
they call the big war. SCARWAF is an acronym which means Special Category Army Reassigned
With Air Force."
category sounds real important. What did you do in it, were you a spy or something?"
"Were you a
Now I was
getting somewhere with my grandson. Neither of his other grandfathers were in any kind of
an organization which had special in its name and he thought that I might have been a
General or something.
I sat down
beside him, "Special Category means that the Air Force had a special need for
airstrips to be built in Korea so that they could fly their airplanes there. They didn't
have anyone who could build airstrips, so after the Army drafted us, they sort of loaned
us to the Air Force to build runways."
"Was I born
when you went off to the war?"
in the olden days?"
that you could call them the olden days because your mother wasn't born then either. In
fact, I hadn't even met your grandmother when I was in the war. The Korean war happened
many years ago, in 1950."
been a good year for me, even a great one by some standards, at least up to that point. I
now owned my own crop spraying business and during the summer just ended; I had worked my
way as an migrant crop sprayer all the way from the Mission Valley of Texas northward to
the Canadian border. The spraying season had finally ended and I was back at home with
both the airplane and truck paid for and money in my pocket.
One of the first
things that I did after returning was to buy myself something which I had always wanted: a
brand new convertible. It was a 1950 Dodge Wayfarer sport roadster fitted with the
optional, 145 horsepower Chrysler engine. Although that combination made the little
roadster one of the hottest stock cars around, I souped it up even more by installing a
high compression head, dual racing carburetors and glasspack mufflers. Not only could such
a car pick up speed at an alarming rate, it could also pick up far more girls than I could
possibly keep entertained. I spent next few weeks riding around in my new car with the top
down and my right arm encircling some cute little thing who snuggled close against me with
her hair flowing in the breeze.
was in full swing and the Stinnett team was doing something which it had been unable to
accomplish during any of the twelve years that I had spent in those hallowed halls; it was
actually winning games. A winning team does certain things for a small town; the most
notable is to bring out the townspeople to watch. I even began to attend the games, partly
to watch the home team trounce their opponents but mostly because it was a great place to
show off my new car and pick up girls.
Her name was
Janet Winchester. She was now a senior, homecoming queen and the head cheerleader. She had
long blonde hair, long blonde legs and a long blonde ass. It had been at least four years
since I had seen Janet and My Oh My what those four years had done for her. The last time
that I saw her, she was a shy little thing with knobby knees, buck teeth and a face full
of freckles but she was now the most popular and prettiest girl in school.
Full, round breasts strained
to escape the confines of a bra and she now had the cutest little butt that I had ever
seen. I took one look at that nubile body in the tight blouse and short skirt; she took
one look at my car with fender skirts and convertible top; and it was instant love, or at
least instant lust. No matter whether the attraction was love or lust, hardly an hour
passed after that when we weren't together. Parking on a dark country road after a movie
became the standard fare with Janet not only allowing me to fondle her beautiful breasts,
but she aided the process by always wearing sweaters and a bra with the snap between the
cups. However, only on rare occasions would she allow a finger to explore that wet and
wonderful world which she insisted that she was saving for her wedding night.
We were without
cares, or even knowledge of what was going on around us. We were especially unconcerned
about some obscure war going on half way around the world. We were too busy snuggling
together in a little world of our own to take note of such mundane happenings.
immediately began to weigh my potential as a son in law and evidently considered me to be
an adequate catch because she would invite me to dinner almost every night, during which
she would comment at least a dozen times what a lovely couple we made. Even though her
mother was obviously trying to bring our budding relationship to a quick conclusion in
front of a minister, her father was somewhat less enthusiastic by always adding, "But
he doesn't have a real job. He just flies around the country in airplanes."
I walked into the post office one morning to pick up my mail and there he stood,
Obert Filpot, the most repulsive person in Stinnett, possibly even in the whole state of
Texas; well perhaps the third most repulsive, when you consider his parents, Big Egbert
and Mama Filpot. Big Egbert, who weighed at least three hundred pounds, was known around
town as "Hawg" so, it was only natural that his first fat offspring would become
known as "Shoat". Mama Filpot stood well over six feet tall, weighed at least
fifty pounds more than Hawg and always looked as if she had just emerged from a fighting a
forest fire. She not only could, but did whip Hawg's ass and throw him out of the house
every time he came home drunk, which happened at least twice a week.
wore bib overalls and usually had at least one hand thrust down inside of them,
alternately scratching or playing pocket-pool with himself. Obert had some sort of a
problem with his gastric plumbing which caused him to produce intestinal gasses in such
quantity that he could not only fart at will, but could do so with a blast which far
surpassed anything which any normal human could produce. His favorite game was "Pull
Obert had a
round, fat face with tiny, pig-like eyes, set close together under an overhanging brow. It
made one wonder just how long it had been since his ancestors climbed down from trees and
started walking erect. His laugh was something close to the sound of that made by a hog,
sort of a Snort, Snort--Oink, Oink, usually followed by a fart or two.
lived in a collection of shacks and shanties, and an abandoned school bus down south of
town where they raised hogs, hell and kids. Part of their property was used as the local
trash dump, but it was impossible to locate the line of demarcation between where the dump
ended and the Filpot yard began.
It seemed that
Mama Filpot spawned another male Filpot about every nine months and fifteen minutes,
providing a stair-stepped succession of hubcap stealers, pig screwers, tree climbers, cat
killers, window breakers, rock throwers, yard pissers, creepers, crawlers and screamers.
The whole Filpot
family stayed drunk about two thirds of the time and amused themselves by fighting with
each other or taking pot shots at anyone who tried to sneak in without paying the fifty
cents they charged for using their dump.
post office box was just above mine and while I waited for Obert to fiddle with the
combination lock to get his mail, I did my best not to breathe. The last time that he saw
soap, it was going the other way. His bodily odors, combined with his gastric discharges
were enough to peel paint and kill flies. The whole Filpot family smelled so bad that it
was claimed that whenever any of them went out to feed their hogs, they would all run to
the upwind side of the pen.
It seemed as if
most of my life had been spent looking at and smelling Obert's backside. With his last
name coming alphabetically right before mine, no matter what I did or where I went, he was
always right in front of me. The day that I began the first grade in school, the teacher
seated us in alphabetical order, putting me right behind that fat cesspool. When we had a
fire drill, I had to follow Obert. When we went through the lunch line, I followed Obert.
I endured Obert through the first six years of school, until "Hawg" decided that
since he had only gone through the sixth grade and was a success in life, that was enough
"learning" for "Shoat".
managed to work the combination, which required only two numbers to open, and removed his
mail from the box. He fumbled through it and moved down to the window to pick up
something. I took my last breath of fresh air at the door and plunged into the fogbank of
Obert smell which hung like a cloud in front of the boxes.
I twirled the knob to open my box,
which was more or less a foolish exercise since they all had the same combination and the
only purpose of the lock was to keep the door from being left open and the mail blowing
out when someone opened the front door. Mixed in among the seed catalogs, copies of
Trade-A-Plane News and the Grit Newspaper was a small yellow slip, indicating that I
should call at the window for a registered letter. I moved from the old cloud of Obert in
front of the boxes to the new one that he had left hovering at the window.
"Sign yore name rat
cheer," said Mr. Bates, the postmaster, pointing to the bottom line on the yellow
slip. He then thumbed through a stack of identical letters until he came to the one
addressed to me. He ripped off the attached green return card and slid it through the
window for my signature. "Looks like we ain't gonner be seein' you 'round cheer much
longer 'cause they done gotcha, along with Shoat, Bucky Groves and most of the other young
studs like you who didn't go off to fight like real men in the big war." he added.
from the President of the United States." the letter began. Why in hell am I getting
a letter from Old Hairy Ass; I didn't even vote for him. He is a damn Democrat. Texas, for
the most part, is predominately Baptist and Democrat and with my being a fifth generation
Texan, I suppose that I should have belonged to and supported both of these factions.
However, I have managed to remain one of the few holdouts or outcasts from both of them. I
suppose you could call me a Republican backslider.
"A group of
your friends and neighbors have selected you to....." Damn! I barely escaped WW-II by
being born three days too late to get drafted and now they are throwing another war just
to get even with me.
hereby ordered to present yourself at the Selective Service Office, located in the US Post
Office Building in Borger, Texas at 9:00 AM on November 3, 1950 for induction into the
United States Army. Bring only enough clothing for two days." Not only were they
drafting me into the Army, but they were doing it on my birthday.
to the news that I was being drafted into the army by turning on the tears. The flow began
as soon as she heard the news at noon and lasted till well past midnight. When the tear
factory finally stopped production, she looked at me from bloodshot blue eyes and said,
"Let's get married before you go."
There was no
question that I had a fantastic case of the hots for cute little Janet and wanted to jump
her shapely body in the worst way, but now with my life as messed up as a dog's breakfast,
the last thing that I wanted to do was to take on the responsibilities of a wife. Her
mother joined the fray by saying that getting married before leaving for the army gave a
man a special reason for wanting to return from the war safe and sound. She almost made it
sound that going into the service single was an open invitation to disaster. In order to
keep things from getting too tense, I gave Janet an engagement ring and we sort of set a
wedding date for the following June, after she graduated from school but before I would be
sent off to the war in Korea. This seemed to please her mother to no end and the whole
matter sort of slid to a back burner.
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