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Old 02-17-2019, 11:43 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: baton rouge, la
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Default The War

Poolroom conversation on a slow day, telling jokes and lies and commenting on a dozen topics with a friend of mine. He began to tell me a story about his father, who has been dead for a good many years. My father was a veteran of World War II said my friend and he fought in Europe or France or one of those countries and now and then he would talk about how bad it was over there. They had to sleep in foxholes out in the weather, rain or shine, and in the winter too. He told about how bad it rained and there was mud everywhere and their trucks would get stuck in the mud and the soldiers would have to get out and push.

If they heard somebody moving around at night they couldn’t tell if it was the enemy or just one of the soldiers. His father wasn’t scared but he said that some of the others were afraid the whole time they were over there. They had it really tough and it was a bad war for sure. That was back in the forties, my friend told me.

Well, that bad war has been over for seventy-four years this year and I remember the time well – it has always been a fascinating time in history for me. The internet has it all in videos – battles, invasions, ships and soldiers, airplanes and rifles – and photos of more dead warriors and civilians of many countries than one can imagine, and I can’t leave it alone. I guess my point is that the soldiers of World War II are about gone now. I was nine when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and thirteen when it was over and it’s hard to believe, nearing my eighty-seventh birthday, that I’m too young to have been a veteran. Even more of a jolt it is to realize that the next generation is nearing their own expiration dates. The friend I was sitting with is past the age for Social Security, and has little recollection of any first-hand tales from his father about fighting in Europe or France or any of those countries. The war, like its veterans, has faded into wherever old wars go.

In this country, we didn’t get to see it. We had news on the radio and newsreels when we went to a movie. My own father, who was never in the military, kept big maps on the wall at the house and used colored push-pins to keep up with the location of the front lines in the various places where they fought. He read the Times Picayune and listened to the radio. We had blackouts and air raid drills and food rationing and gasoline rationing and a nationwide speed limit of thirty-five miles per hour. But we didn’t really have a war.

It will be remembered longer and more vividly in most of the rest of the world. Millions of tons of gunpowder and TNT went through cities and villages and people’s houses and schools and churches like a dose of Pluto water. If you have been on the scene of a major hurricane on the Gulf coast you would have some idea of it all, except for the blood and death.

I am just finishing John Grisham’s latest novel, called The Reckoning. One of the characters was called to war in the Pacific in WW II. He was captured and tortured by the Japanese and escaped into the mountains of the Philippines where he fought for three years among a few American soldiers and a large force of Filipino guerillas.

Today, pool has many, many Filipino players and a lot of them compete in the United States. Surely, some of them – Jose and Efren, for example, have heard war stories from old men in the islands, and I am moved to wonder how the war is described in their books and their history classes. Unlike Americans, they had a war, and the old people will surely recall the Japanese. Maybe one day I will have an opportunity to ask a couple of the pinoys about it.

We have had other wars since – bad wars, all – but again they were far away. WW II was The War, and I think of it often. Old man with time on his hands. My elderly friend remembers only that his father said it was tough over there, and I am sure his father was right. Move along, folks – nothing to see here.

And another interest of mine – Mob Talk sitdowns number 26 and 27 are up on YouTube. Philadelphia wise guy did twenty-five years in the joint. When he got out he opened a restaurant. It was a big success and a very popular place to dine on good food. The guy did well and lived well. Now he has been indicted again for extortion and might be back inside before long. Why would he do that? George Anastasia says they just can’t ever leave it behind. It is what it is.

Thanks for reading.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
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