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A Bump In The Road
They are nocturnal little creatures, unaccustomed to the light of day, which will find them tangled in the covers of Grandma’s king-sized bed, sleeping off another round of juvenile debauchery.
Gramps ( that’s me) can be found at night with them, or sitting outside in the dark, as I am doing now, sniffing the air occasionally to make sure the little darlings haven’t finally managed to set the house on fire, and taking a healthy walk, from time to time, to referee the occasional hair-pulling, screaming wrestling match over possession of a particular toy or video game.
But it’s quiet tonight - too quiet, really.
Freed for the time from my Grandfatherly duties, I went to bed much earlier than usual last night, but found myself rousing in the early hours of morning, to make a cup of coffee and sit outside in the cool darkness, as I am doing now.
I find I miss those little stinkers, and the usual calm discussions over what is whose and who was playing with it first.
I guess I enjoy too much the 0 dark thirty requests for scrambled eggs and bacon, toast cut into triangles with the crusts cut off, chocolate milk in Ninja Turtles sippy cups, and waffles smeared with peanut butter.
With the youngest, a spitting image of her lovely Mother, Mickey-Mouse shaped pancakes at 0200 was our thing. She would slip quietly out of bed, when she and they would visit, careful not to wake Mama, and her tiny self would sneak quietly to the kitchen, where she’d find Grandpa waiting.
We’d pour the batter just right, to make the head and ears.
After we finished our repast, we’d spend a pleasant hour or so, quietly talking, and building fairy castles out of simple building blocks, airy soaring structures that were magical to our eyes, if to no others.
Or we’d color, sometimes. She was always better than me at staying inside the lines.
Then it would be back off to bed, none the wiser.
I miss that tiny midget. It once was just she and I, but eventually, it became something of a happy tradition for us all, and I am a rich and happy man.
I hope they come back soon.
I had a dream tonight, just barely waking. A line of trucks were stalled on a narrow, steep, climbing mountain road, with a steep drop on one side, and a cliff face on the other.
No way back, only forward, but there was a problem somewhere up ahead.
Maybe that was what woke me, some symbolic image of a memory from the past. I don’t know, but I know that it immediately brought to mind a person whom I haven’t seen in many years, and a regrettable moment in which we both were involved:
Me and Johnny were sitting in the cool beer-scented darkness if the club, lit mostly by the vary-colored neons of the adverts behind the bar.
A raised stage lay before us, empty on this particular night, but where, often, live bands would play; Philipino, mostly, the lyrics sounding strangely-accented to our ears, but faithful renditions of current popular songs anyway.
On nights, such as this one, when no acts had been booked (they were reserved mostly for the weekends, when business would be brisker, and this was Tuesday), a huge, wall-covering back-projection screen was turned on and brought into play.
The place, who’s name, sadly, I don’t remember, had a varied repertoire of music videos (some of which I’ve never again seen, though I’ve searched extensively in recent months) that were available upon request.
We had a sweating pitcher of Mojo’s sitting between us, which we had been sharing. It was a combination of various liquors, and some fruit juice, as I recall, which brought a pleasant, tingling high, unlike straight beer or liquor, and could produce a not-unpleasant tingling in the findertips, or a strange numbness in the tongue and lips. It was rumored to contain absinthe, but I never really knew.
Different places mixed theirs differently, with varying results. Some seemed very watered-down, with hardly any alcohol at all.
This place was one of our favorites. The offering in the pitcher was dark as old blood in the dim light, behind the droplets of condensation sliding down the outside of the glass. They mixed it strong here.
The place was kept always dark, and had a certain quiet, shadowed midnight atmosphere that went well with the feelings produced by the blood red drink. Together, it all set the proper mood for the watching of the smoky vids, and for their enjoyment, especially on a quiet night such as this one.
We had spent some time earlier at another popular venue. It was, appropose to where we now were, a loud, brightly-lit, and boisterous place. I remember it being constructed cantilevered on a fairly steep hillside on one side of the street, and the door reached by means of a wooden walkway - railed, of course, in deference to the alcohol-related propensities of its clientele.
It was a nightspot favored by SNCO’s and above, but we lesser brethren were welcomed, as well, as long as we children behaved ourselves.
The 1st Sgt here reigned supreme. He was a hulking mountain monster of a man, with an affable, somewhat approachable demeanor, but with some certain hard to describe something added to the mix.
The brotherly, fellow-men-in-arms smile did not always completely match the eyes, and was not always sincere. When summoned before him, the darkness of that gaze compared to its unmatching corresponding smile could be a fairly accurate guage of just how badly you’d fucked up this time, and whether you’d better start running now, or would be better served to take what was coming and not prolong the suspense.
This smooth-headed towering trident would take on all comers in a nightly push-up challenge, the gauntlet known by all to have been flung in perpetuity, when His Majesty was in residence.
All comers of all ranks were welcomed, no challenger feared or disdained. The assembled spectators, gathered ‘round the edges of the hastily-cleared space in the center of the worn wooden floor, under the bright lights, could become raucous, spilling golden nectar from their heavy mugs as they placed bets and loudly chanted on their favorite.
His contemporaries rarely accepted the general set challenge, and then only in fun, being older and more assured of their place in the world.
For some juinior Marines it could be a matter of solemn severity. Some would train with Olympic fervor, preparing for confrontation with this deity who strode supreme among us.
A challenge to a god was not to be taken lightly by a mortal man. To emerge victorious would be to take one’s rightful place in history and in legend. To suffer defeat would be to invite unending ridicule.
We had witnessed one such bout earlier on this night. But the contender bowed out early (collapsed), and it, though hotly contested for a little while, had not been much of a show.
His cornermen had picked the poor Cpl up, and patted his bowed back, and rubbed his poor humbled head, as it hung in shameful defeat, as they led him to a needed chair.
Top, to cheers from his promoters, had continued on, unphased, and seemingly never tiring, until we grew bored, and decided to leave, when the count had reached an absurd level, and looked to continue indefinitely.
He was apparently warming up for the next man to have cojones of sufficient girth, weight, and substance to step into the ring, and, from the looks on faces all assembled, that seemed unlikely on this particular evening. And so, we had taken our leave, and made our way back more toward the center of the ‘Ville, to our current venue.
To my knowledge, the monster never lost.
Johnny had seemed to have things on his mind of recent, and had not been his usual cheerful self. We were friends, although not of the most intimate variety. He had chosen not to divulge what had been on his mind, and I felt it not my place to pry. We all had ghosts, and goblins sitting on our shoulders, whispering things in our ears that we didn’ want to hear. Sometimes we preferred to keep things to ourselves.
But tonight had been a good idea. He had seemed to loosen up somewhat, and the usual carefree, half-mocking smile was more back in place.
Fleetwood Mac had been playing on the big screen, cuts from their “Rumours” album, which had not been out for very long, at the time, and was, along with others; such as Jackson Browne’s “The Loadout”, and “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp, a current favorite - the music of our time.
Stevie Nicks had performed the title cut from the album, so appropriate to the time and place and moment; her smoky voice and weaving hands casting their enchantment upon us to the heavy base back-beat of the drums, staring big brown eyes with their ancient dark knowledge reaching deep into our souls as she wove her sultry gypsy spell.
We two had been entranced, as we always were. I think that we were both more than a little in love. I think that all of us were.
We spoke briefly, as smitten young men will, of the unlikeliness, bordering on impossibility, of one day meeting her, and how awesome that would be.
“I’d eat the peanuts out of her shit” Jonnny fervently averred, with a lingering, wistful sigh.
I glanced at him in some amusement. I’d been thinking more along the lines of an autograph, and maybe, if the gods smiled, a few minutes’ conversation. But to each his own.
“I know what you mean” I agreed, however.
We requested it again.
The journey up into the mountains for training began early the next morning, as it always did.
As was usual at that time of year, the coming heat we could already imagine upon our heads and shoulders. The humidity was even higher than usual, due to dark clouds that hovered overhead, and trapped the moisture within the smothering atmosphere.
Already, standing in properly spaced ranks along the sides of the road, our faces dripped with sweat under our heavy loadout of packs, gear, and the varied weapons that were the specific tools of each of our individual specialties.
We ‘51’s had it better than most, our tools, though with somewhat comparable lethality, much a more bearable burden than those of 81’s and heavy guns.
Though switched out often, the weight of the various unassembled parts of their means’ of lethal destruction were a heavy load to bear, and wore a man down. As usual, they looked a little more gloomy even than us.
None of us were looking forward to this, and would be elsewhere if we could. We had been down, and up, this road before, both literally and figuratively, and we both hated and feared it, in equal measure, with a refined passion.
Some of us glanced at Olsen, where we had ensured that he was placed near the front of our Plt column, our particular section of this long, winding snake of gloomy young men.
We wanted to try to ease his travail what little bit we could.
He had a previously undiagnosed medical condition - I don’t remember what it was called - that affected his breathing under labored circumstances, and made ordeals such as the one upon us even more arduous for him than for the rest of us. He had apparently gotten a waiver to permit him to stay in, or at least to finish his enlistment in this his preferred field.
Had it been any but he, we might have suspected a tendency toward malingering, but he never did, or tried to get out of a single hump. In fact, he had steadfastly refused so when the offer was extended.
He was one of us. He belonged to us. We belonged to him. Where we went, he went. What we did, he did, no matter what it cost him. That was the way of it, and it was his way. He didn’t want to let us down.
The jeep was in the middle of the road, at the center of our column, in its usual place. Though Doc never road it (he was one of us, too), he had access to its cargo; additional medical supplies, and extra water for the suffering men who were his cherished responsibility.
There was a spot kept cleared on one side of the cramped backseat enough for a single man, for any who could no longer make it along the way. With Olsen’s example always in front of us, and, I think, as a good part of the reason, I don’t recall any but he ever availing themselves of it, and he only of necessity.
I glanced at it briefly, and determined that my ass would never touch that seat. I can say without boasting that it never did.
I, like the rest of us, would rather endure torment - and torment it sometimes was - than to appear weak in the eyes of these other young men on whom I depended, and who depended on me.
Call it pride. Call it determination. Call it loyalty. Call it fear of being cast out of the good regard of those whom you loved and respected, and of seeing a little hint of pity or disappointment in their eyes. Call it what you will. It was the way it was.
We shifted our packs higher on our shoulders, and tightened our straps. Still, we knew, that it’s weight would be oppressive, and that it, and the confinement of the worn, tattered flak vests that we wore, would, more and more as the day wore on, make it seem to be harder to breath, or to take a desperately sought lungfull of air.
Many of those vests were vintage of a recent desperate conflict, and some still bore uneraseable stains upon whose origin we chose not to speculate, lest we think too long on those that we, the new wearers, might one day add to them.
The order to move out was given from the far-flung head of the column and passed down to us. Break time was over, and the workday had begun.
A special treat had been granted us to add to our misery; retaliation for recent transgressions that I won’t mention here.
In truth, I don’t recall specifically what they were at this particular time. There were many, and on many different occasions. We were a hard-headed bunch, and could be prone, from time to time, to a degree of wildness, and our own brand of casual, unmalevolent evil.
Our CO, in conference with the Battalion Commander, had requested permission, and had it granted, that we be “tail-end Charlie” on this hump., and ‘51s would be bringing up the rear.
Which meant that we would be running half the time, closing up the gaps that would inevitably appear due to the accordion-like nature of a large column of men in constant forward motion.
We would do it, cursing all the while, and blaming it in what we felt an uneven pace set from the front.
The first part of the route of March would be downhill. This was a blessing, for it permitted us to loosen up, and prepare mentally, as well, for the ordeal to come.
It would then wind along the flats for a while before beginning to gradually climb, and then turning off and snaking along the winding, ever-steepening road up into the mountains, which comprised a major portion of the route, and which we loathed and dreaded.
One element that made the ordeal a little more bearable was that by the time we reached the turnoff, the layered blisters on our feet would, for the most part, have stopped oozing and bleeding, and would have dried enough to begin to merge the molested skin of our feet with the material of our green wool socks. This would reduce the troublesome slipping, sliding sensation inside our leather boots each time we took a step.
As time went by, the soles of our feet would toughen more, and we would become more adept in their all-important care. It was a priority, in that they were our means of transportation nearly everywhere we went, and must always remain in good condition.
As it was, some of us inevitably would, on reaching our destination, have to unboot and soak them for a while in our steel helmet before gingerly peeling them off, to remove as little damaged flesh as possible, and offering ourselves for Doc’s inspection. He would have done all that he could while on the march, during the brief hourly halts, but there was only so much to be done. Frequent changes of socks helped, but would not completely alleviate the problem.
We all packed plenty of changes if socks, if we brought nothing else, the newer the better, for the cushion, and many of us would wear more than one pair at a time.
As it was, Doc would monitor some of the worst daily, to check for healing or infection. Many of us would find ourselves limping for a few days, especially after the return trip.
The worst part of the trip was, as was the way, near the end, when we were all footsore and exhausted, and had sweated through our cammies a number of times, so that they cling wetly to us, sodden and saturated, but bringing blessed moments of cooling relief when a stray breeze passed by.
A long, straight stretch of road began to rise up before us in the distance, seeming to reach for the dark, threatening clouds overhead. We knew it, and hated it, and had been awaiting its appearance with consuming dread.
From a distance, it seemed, each time, to appear to our wondering eyes almost perpendicular, and was so steep that the Jeep had no choice but to labor slowly up it in its lowest gear.
This was where we watched Olsen most closely, though we all, throughout the march, had kept a close eye on him. He struggled more than we, but never fell behind or fell out.
And we all knew the rules - his rules, upon which he insisted: no help, and no special favors. The occasional concerned inquiry as to how he was doing would always be answered in the affirmative. An offer to help carry some of his gear would be angrily rebuffed.
But the hill was different. It was his hated nemesis. He had never been able to conquer it, though he would struggle up it in our midst, until he could literally no longer stand, and would fall flat on his face to the ground unconscious somewhere along its length. So far, it had happened every time.
But his rules were his rules. He would do his part, and carry his share of the weight, and continue to earn his cherished seat at the table, even if he died in the effort.
And so we watched, as we all struggled ourselves, and offered him quiet encouragement, and willed him to continue, step by labored step, as we were all doing, and hoping against hope that this time would be different, and that his ailing body, no match for the fierceness if his will, would not fail him, if only for this one time.
What a glorious day for him that would be!
But we knew the rules - his rules: no help, and no special treatment. He’d carry his own weight, or die trying. Nobody was to put a hand under his arm to help him along. Nobody was going to take his pack, or carry his gear.
None of us tried to manually force the issue. As reeling with exhaustion as he was, he was still capable of a punch in the mouth.
And, so, though we all loved him, we offered no assistance beyond quiet encouragement. Out of hard-won and massive respect, we extended no helping hand, but watched, and waited for him to fall. We hoped that, this time, it might be different, if just this once. We were betting on him to beat this monster yet.
We each knew that, if he were standing at our back, we need never fear anything coming at us from that direction.
We watched, and we waited, and we hoped.
He hit the ground hard, this time, with nothing to break the fall, though, with the steepness of the way, it wasn’t that far to fall. Unconscious, as every time before. The flesh might be weak, but the spirit was beyond willing. The spirit was unbreakable.
A halt was called, and passed on up the line. The extended column came to a halt, and we were ordered to fall out and take a brief rest as Doc tended to Olson.
Everyone knew about Olsen’s rules, and he wouldn’t be left behind.
Johnny and I laid down our weapons and shrugged our packs at the side of the road. We helped Doc get Olsen out of his pack, and got him up off the ground. He was starting to come around again, but was still groggy. We carried his rifle, pack, and tracker case, and helped Doc half-carry him, to the waiting Jeep.
Once he was settled, with Doc riding along to tend and monitor, word was passed up the line, and we continued on.
Johnny and I, forgetting our own misery for the moment, and he his troubles, glanced at each other, and broke out in matching exultant, amazed grins.
The stubborn bastard had made it three quarters of the way up this time. The last time he’d only managed half. He was going to beat this fucker yet!
As I think about how the jeep started it’s slow climb up what remained if that hated stretch of road, I am reminded with a smile of my Grandfather, in his later years, and how slow he used to drive in his advanced age, creeping along at a maddeningly slow pace, even on those infrequent occasions when necessity caused him to leave his little mountain enclave far behind, and venture out onto what passed for a freeway in our tiny corner of existence: a narrow two-lane road winding its way through our beloved ancient green-forested mountains, a steep hillside on one hand, and a steep drop off to the deep, slow-flowing, shadowed and sun-dappled green river below on the other.
Many times would I offer to drive, and allow him to sit in the passenger side of the beat-up old Chevy pickup (he would never drive any other make). I would suggest that I didn’t mind, and that it would allow him to sit back and enjoy the trip (hinting nothing of the exasperated thought in my mind that maybe that way we would get where we were going before the week was out.
I would be rebuffed each time. It was His truck, I was along at his sufferance, he was still the boss, he’d drive the way he wanted, and if I didn’t like it, I could get out and walk (it occurred to me, more than once, that I might get there quicker that way). We were both kind of stubborn. I still am. Maybe we both were always more alike than I’ve thought.
It was on one such venture on this road to nowhere that he was politely enjoined to, if he felt like it, and seeing that he obviously was in no hurry to get anywhere, and had time to spare, pull the hell over.
The young Patrolman requested the appropriate official documents. Gramps, without seeing fit to offer him a word, or even a disdaining glance, remove his faded, worn old brown leather wallet from the inside pocket of his old suitjacket. Unhurriedly, he opened it up and remove from inside an ancient, stained, dog-eared and faded yellow document on which the writing had faded so, over the passage of so many years, that it was barely legible. It had been folded so many times, and carried for so long, that it was in eminent danger of falling apart at the folded seams.
Nonchalantly, and gazing casually ahead, he passed it over.
The young Patrolman, in puzzlement, gingerly unfolded it, looked it over, glanced back up at Gramps in consternation and amazement, then back down at the document.
It must be said, in explanation, that Gramps had never had much regard for, trust of, or respect for, the rule of law, or for the representatives and enforcers thereof, even during the time that he had, tongue in cheek and fingers crossed behind his back, been one such enforcer.
The document that he presented was an ancient driver’s license, photoless, and filled in by hand, that had expired in 1944. We had been still at war, his Sons were in the Pacific Theatre, and Okinawa had not yet been invaded. At the time of its above-described presentation, it was 1984.
There was niether insurance nor registration, and I doubt there ever had been.
I loved that old pirate with all my heart, and I still miss him every day.
The clouds that had threatened opened up, and it poured rain for days. The notional training area became a slippery, sliding quagmire of brownish-yellow mud, the non-stop rain creating new ponds and lakes in the low places, and allowing what had been mere rivulets before to become raging, albeit shallow, muddy torrents.
We had been exhausted the day before, when we had stumbled wearily into the area. We were so hot, and so sweat-soaked, that one of the first things we did upon arrival was to take off our cammie tops and twist and wring them as one would a dishrag. The perspiration with which they were saturated fell in rivulets to the ground.
The bottoms, of course, were the same, and clung to our legs as if we had gone swimming in them.
As they started to dry later in the day, and the layered salt rings stiffened and began to chafe, we would wish for them to be wet again. Starting the next day, we would get our wish.
The skys opened up on the morning of the next, the second, day, and would continue well into the fourth. There was nowhere to be dry, though we tried.
I had been observing Johnny getting more and more despondent, and not his usual humorously sarcastic amiable self.
Johnny was a hippy/surfer sort of dude, in attitude and outlook of life, and Basic and the life so far had apparently done little to change that in him.
He still seemed like he would be more at home in flip- flops and baggy shorts, long hair in a ponytail down his back, a necklace of love beads hanging down his shirtless chest, than where we were now.
“What’s happenin’, baby?! and every sentence punctuated with “Dude!” would have sounded more appropriate coming from him than “Yes, Sir!” or “No, Sir!”
I remember one time when we were sitting listening quietly to some music in the rec room at the old barracks. We were leaning back in those old, battered folding chairs we had, with our feet propped up on another. We watched the lazy sunny afternoon go by outside the open door.
“Rosie” by Jackson Browne had came on, and had progressed to the lyrics “it’s who you look like, not who you are.”
Johnny looked over at me, met my eye, and, with a depth of thought and a wisdom not common to those of our tender years, said, with quiet assurance “That’s bullshit. Don’t ever believe it. All’s important is who You think you are, not anybody else. Remember that.”
I did remember that. I thought about it a lot over the years, and am thinking about it now. I have found it to be mostly true.
Something was bothering Johnny now, and I didn’t know what it was. When I finally asked what was going on, he didn’t have anything to say, so I let it go. He’d tell me if there was anything he wanted me to know. Maybe I should have been a better friend.
On the second day of downpour, I was going somewhere to do something, I don’t remember what, and came across someone sitting out in the open, hip-deep in a muddy puddle, calmly eating out of a can of c-rats spaghetti overflowing with rainwater.
It was Johnny. Concerned that he might have finally gone around the bend, I went back and asked him if he was ok.
“I been tryin’ to keep dry up in this bitch for two days now” he replied, without looking up. Everything’s soaked. I finally just said “fuck it” - just go with it, y’ know?” he said, fishing for another bite.
Just posted what I had by mistake, sorry. Will finish the tale.
On the afternoon of the fourth day, the rain had slackened to a steady light one, so we thought we might as well get something for our time, and Hardass took us out on patrol.
At one point we went to cross what was usually an easily wadeable slow stream that was now just about chest deep in sluggish, yellow muddy water.
We’d been here before, and there was a wide but shallow concrete spillway that made a good crossing point.
As we made our way across, rifles held high enough to keep them out of the muddy water, Johnny, who was ahead of me, disappeared. He must have stepped off the edge and found a hole, ‘cause he dropped plumb out of sight. All that was left sticking up was 3 or 4 inches of wrist, and one hand holding his rifle clear of the water, like the hand sticking up out of the river in the movie poster for “Deliverance”.
A couple of us hauled him up and out. When I commented on his quick reaction time, his only comment was, referring to his rifle, “You know how hard it is to clean this piece of shit.” He’d been having a bad few days.
The next day dawned clear, and the sun was back out. The streams in the immediate vicinity were still swollen somewhat, but not like they had been. There was still a lot of standing water in the low places.
The biggest problem was the mud. It had dried enough overnight to where it was this still slippery, clingy, claylike yellow muck.
It got on everything. Walking was difficult when you had a few pounds of mud clinging to your boots at any time, and your feet kept wanting to slide out from under you on any decent gradient.
I think the only time I’d felt dirtier than I did that day was when the girl I’d been dating for a while and I discovered that our Mothers were first cousins.
It was that kind of place - not heavily populated to start with, with extended family clans that had been there for generations and were intermarried to the point that you were related in some fashion to many of the people you ran into on a regular basis. We should have been more careful.
It could have been worse, I guess. We stopped seeing each other a couple of months after that.
The whole area was a mess. Still, we were there for a reason; to train, even though most of us had, by this time, lost any enthusiasm for it that we might have had left.
At one point during the day, Johnny and I had, by mutual agreement, decided to take a break. We had been practicing maneuver to assault, or some such, and were so disgusted with the way things had been going and with what we saw as the unreality of the training that we had found a partially dry grassy hummock to sit on for a bit.
Our Lt came over and asked what we were doing. Without getting up, we replied that we were taking a break.
He angrily pointed across the muddy, waterlogged flat in front of us and ordered us to assault a machine gun position set up in the other side of it.
We looked at it, and then at each other. The position was well placed at the top of a high, vertical cut bank with clear fields of fire in all directions, no cover whatsoever. The order made no sense.
Johnny looked up at the Lt and shouted “ And just how the Fuck are we supposed to do that?!”
I was shocked. I’d never heard him address anyone that way before, much less a superior.
I guess the Lt was, too, but it sure didn’t last long. Things went downhill from there.
They both had a long talk together in an office behind a closed door when we got back. I don’t know what was said, but I do know that Johnny started to get back on track not too long after that, and eventually became his old self again.
I can only assume that the Lt had had a hand in it. Maybe he’d found a way to help. Maybe he’d been able to give some good advise.
Hell, maybe he’d just listened. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss some things with someone at some little remove than it is with people you’re closer to.
Of course, there was a price to be paid. The level of insubordination that John had displayed that day had to be answered for. He accepted that.
I think that this particular 2nd Lt, as inexperienced as he was, knew something already that some never learned: to provide good leadership to keep his unit running smoothly and effectively, he needed to concern himself with not only his men’s physical well-being, but with their mental well-being, as well.
Each man in a unit affected every other one. They were all a part of the same whole. For any one of them to be distracted by personal issues he was having to the point where he was not focusing on his job could spell disaster.
In the corporate world, such inattention might be measured by losses on a spreadsheet. In ours, it could be measured in lives.
So not much happened here. I’ve kind of talked this thing around in a circle, I guess, and went on longer that I had intended. I’m getting better at this tiny-fingers typing stuff, and can let my thoughts run away with me, I guess, now that I can keep up with them better.
Maybe I’ve said what I wanted to, and maybe it’s all bullshit. I’ve been told by a very reliable source that I’ve never had any shortage of that.
I guess maybe there’s a reason that I remembered a snippet of an otherwise unremembered dream about a column of trucks stalled on a mountain road, unable to move forward and complete their mission. Maybe I went to sleep thinking about something along those lines.
Maybe that was why my mind immediately connected it to the thing with Johnny. He had concerns that he obviously felt we couldn’t help him with, but apparently the Lt could.
Everyone can run into roadblocks, keeping them from moving forward, and we were no different. Maybe the simple meaning of this whole thing is that it’s important to have a leader capable of recognizing when one of his guys is stalled, and needs help to get moving again.
Maybe it’s advise. Maybe it’s more concrete assistance. Maybe it’s having someone in authority just give a damn enough to listen.
Mama just told me my little gremlins are coming back. Hot damn! I’m gonna’ go get some doughnuts!