87. Some Things Do Change

We’d only be reminded once; miss the boat coming back, guilty of not obeying the rules, considered on our own and most critical of all, placing ourselves at grave risk.  Curfew is impressed upon us and well, bottom line, I had no interest in finding myself in this position.

For legitimate reasons, war zone dinner time was bumped up by about an hour. The best result of this in my mind was how it freed up the crew for the rest of the evening.  We were eager young men looking for adventures. After clean-up and the next morning’s breakfast set-up, we readied ourselves to go ashore.

Our ship soldiers were fed dinner and ready for rotation with the swing shift. These morning Marines were also our ride into town.  It would be the graveyard shift Marines who’d return us to the ship and we’d best be on their boat coming back this way.

Bright Lights & City Nights.  The Marines installed for safety on our ship, these very large lamps. They’d burn bright, one forward, one aft, and aimed down at the water surrounding our ship, all night, every night.  I must say I did feel rather unassailable with all that the Marines were doing to keep the ship, its contents, us included, safe, day and night.

Getting ahead of the story with a personal thought here; I wished I would carry an AK-47 with me whenever I went ashore.  Man I tell ya, once the soldiers allowed myself and a couple of the other guys to hold and get a feel for their weapons which had become an extension of their own bodies.  

Admittedly it grew on me real fast!  They demonstrated the gun and then offered to let us shoot them.  We were surprised but accepted the offer of course! The guys made certain we understood that we would only discharge the weapon into the ocean.  I fired off a few rounds aimed at the sea.

For many reasons I’ll say here and now, what an insane time that was.  War I mean and the way people’s thoughts change … doing things which under other circumstances may never have taken place?



Railroad Track Psyche

So many separate thoughts cross our psyche when we find ourselves at the railroad tracks.  And just in case there’s no gate to stop us, there’s the “Oh better watch out for the train!”

C - Entity on tracks? -signed 2016

Here’s another one.  “Where is my life going, really?”  Then there’s the paying absolutely no attention to them whatsoever … 

But I’ve always found when I’ve walked along some railway tracks, I feel completely different than from when but only a few minutes prior to arriving upon them, my mood was completely something else.  Imagination sets in and my mind wanders …in so many ways.  

A black cat crossed our tracks in Salem, Massachusetts on Friday the 13th of October, nearly 17 years ago.  Yes it was an impressive full moon, ordered up especially for that trip.  

My son was four-wheeling his little sister in her stroller down the bumpy path when this dark and black as night cat stopped in its tracks (literally) and just looked at us as if to ask, “Are you nuts?”  All this because my son said to me perhaps only 5 minutes before, “Mom, I think the only thing missing from tonight’s Salem adventure is a black cat.”  That was fun, wasn’t it James?

A hobo with his knapsack and pup?  A wandering boxcar child?  A lonely, desperate soul in debate with himself or laughing children playing where they shouldn’t.  I was dumb enough to play chicken with a train once or twice …yeah I admit it.  

What sorts of people and their stories have those trains carried across the iron, timber, steel or combination thereof, tracks?   I wonder.  But my favorite is always the bygone era of the steam locomotives.  And then my imagination takes me into the mystery and romance of a journey well over a thousand miles, Paris to Constantinople.  

The rest is left right there for me, in my imagination.  I don’t mind the train tracks at all, even the really bumpy ones.

Happy Independence Day!

C - Califonia-Beach-Days 4th of July.jpg

Summer reminds me of freedom.  Here we are once again, starting summer off with many colors and few great big bangs to go with, and why not?  The warm summer nights usher us to do so many fun things and my personal favorite was always night swims off the Santa Monica shores… and just hanging out with friends and/or family without any sort of real curfew.

My elder brother and I never gave much thought to sharks although he’d chase me down the beach with a giant wad of seaweed!  That was terrifying enough for me, ha ha.

Then there are the endless barbecues, ‘seems like I could ride forever’ bike rides, wave-catching, horse back rides and sleeping under the starry skies.  I can still hear the Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’ and Starbuck’s ‘Moonlight Feels Right’ … ah yes, the young teenager of 1976.

Oh and let’s not forget the childhood joy of fireflies and how they never ceased to enchant us, all the while luring one another in hopes of a summer romance.

c - hoist her up in Waikiki

I can hear the laughter and various types of music melding into one radio sound (flashback to the transistor radios) on any given boardwalk and surf-side hangout across the county.  By far my favorite is the cool sand on my tired, hot feet in the evening as we all settle in on our blankets to watch outdoor movies by the sea, eating too many toasted marshmallows .

Victoria seaSwings


Here’s to a joyful, safe and BRING ON A NEW ADVENTURE kind of summer to all!

Santorini - Silence of the Breeze 2010


p.s.   I didn’t get a post in this past Sunday, sorry.  I had a tough round with a summer cold, of all things summer, sheesh!




LBM and I will meet this weekend and get everyone up back on track.  Thanks ever so much for visiting regularly and remember to leave us a comment; let LBM know what you think of his memoirs up till now.  We both really enjoy hearing from you!