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BS: The Mother of all BS threads

Eiseley 21 Oct 10 - 09:04 PM
Little Hawk 21 Oct 10 - 08:34 PM
Amos 21 Oct 10 - 08:08 PM
Amos 21 Oct 10 - 08:06 PM
gnu 21 Oct 10 - 02:06 PM
Amos 21 Oct 10 - 10:05 AM
Rapparee 21 Oct 10 - 09:33 AM
Rapparee 20 Oct 10 - 10:19 PM
Amos 20 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM
gnu 20 Oct 10 - 07:03 PM
Rapparee 20 Oct 10 - 06:53 PM
Amos 20 Oct 10 - 06:43 PM
Rapparee 20 Oct 10 - 06:39 PM
Little Hawk 20 Oct 10 - 05:17 PM
Eiseley 20 Oct 10 - 04:37 PM
Acme 20 Oct 10 - 12:42 PM
MMario 20 Oct 10 - 12:16 PM
Little Hawk 20 Oct 10 - 11:38 AM
MMario 20 Oct 10 - 11:17 AM
Little Hawk 20 Oct 10 - 09:38 AM
Amos 19 Oct 10 - 10:17 PM
Rapparee 19 Oct 10 - 09:45 PM
Rapparee 19 Oct 10 - 09:00 PM
Amos 19 Oct 10 - 07:33 PM
gnu 19 Oct 10 - 07:08 PM
Rapparee 19 Oct 10 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 19 Oct 10 - 05:47 PM
Amos 19 Oct 10 - 04:57 PM
Acme 19 Oct 10 - 04:23 PM
Little Hawk 19 Oct 10 - 11:38 AM
Amos 19 Oct 10 - 11:25 AM
Eiseley 19 Oct 10 - 11:14 AM
Little Hawk 19 Oct 10 - 10:50 AM
Acme 19 Oct 10 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 19 Oct 10 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,freds 19 Oct 10 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Reverend Jimmy Lee Staggers 19 Oct 10 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,William Shatner 19 Oct 10 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Wilfred Penifere 19 Oct 10 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Veronica Rutledge 19 Oct 10 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 19 Oct 10 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Mrs Olive Whatnoll 19 Oct 10 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Ms Penelope Rutledge 19 Oct 10 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River 19 Oct 10 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,William Shatner 19 Oct 10 - 10:04 AM
Little Hawk 19 Oct 10 - 10:03 AM
Amos 18 Oct 10 - 11:14 PM
Rapparee 18 Oct 10 - 11:01 PM
Acme 18 Oct 10 - 10:59 PM
Rapparee 18 Oct 10 - 09:22 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 09:04 PM

I agree, LH.

Thank you for sharing your story, Mike. It's beautiful.

Eiseley


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 08:34 PM

I'm not sure, Amos, but let's look for the good in the hearts of men instead. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 08:08 PM

Tsumimono ya
nakute jodo e
tsuki no fune.




(Cargoless,
bound heavenward,
ship of the moon.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 08:06 PM

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Yes or no.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 02:06 PM

Indeed it is!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 10:05 AM

Just the very thing. World class material.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 09:33 AM

Okay, it's close enough...
-----------------------------------

Well, yeah. They gave me the Silver Star. But I left it at the Wall. I was trying to give it back to the guy who earned it. I guess it's in the Smithsonian or somewhere, where ever it is that they keep the stuff guys leave at the Wall.
    See, it was like this. Me and Charlie Edelson enlisted together -- we went in on the "Buddy Plan" and the Army said that we'd be training together and all. And we did. We went through Basic together, down at Fort Knox, and we went through AIT at Ft. Benning to learn to be in the infantry. And when that was done we went to Jump School together, too, and learned to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. All along it was me and Charlie, Charlie and me. We were like brothers or something.
    Anyway, after Jump School the Army decided that they needed a couple more grunts in the Nam and Charlie and me got our orders.
    We had a couple of weeks of leave at home, but neither me or Charlie really enjoyed it much. I mean, you know that it's gonna end and that something awful might be waiting.
    So we reported to Ft. Lewis like we were supposed to and only a couple of days later we got in a big silver bird and were on our way.
    The heat at Tan Son Nhut airport was like a blast furnace when they opened the door. We didn't get to think much about it, 'cause they had us off the plane and into trucks and buses double quick. Before we knew what was going on, me and Charlie had been assigned to different units. He was sent down to the Delta and I was sent up North to 156th Airborne Brigade.   
    Oh yeah. We told the folks at the replacement depot that we'd enlisted on the Buddy Plan and that we were supposed to serve together. I think that that might have been the best laugh they had that day. Then a Captain told us that the "Buddy Plan" only applied to training, and training was over.
    When you don't have any choice you just eat what's served. Charlie went South and I went North.
    We wrote back and forth, and we met a couple of times in Saigon and once in Cu Chi and had some beers and talked. Charlie was doin' just what I was: grunt stuff out in the bush.
    Then one day, after I'd been in country for about six months, I got a letter from Charlie's mom. Charlie had gotten himself greased -- he'd tripped a booby trap when he'd been walking point and he came home in pieces. Not that Mrs. Edelson said it that way; she just said that Charlie had been killed on patrol and that she knew that I'd like to know. I found out what happened later from some other grunts who had known Charlie.
    So I was kind of down for a couple of months, but by Tet '68 I was gettin' short and Charlie Edelson was a memory.    Then Charlie -- Victor Charlie -- stomped all over us and I got a Purple Heart and the Silver Star I didn't earn.
    It was like this. We were out on patrol, and the Six -- that is, the CO, Captain Walters -- and the First Sergeant and all of the HQ folks were out with us, 'cause it was supposed to be a skate. Well, it was to start with.
    The Captain and the First had been cadre at the Jump School at Benning and they had the idea that everything in the bush had to be done the Benning Way. Now, lots of that is fine but some of it can get you killed in the bush when people are shooting real bullets at you and doing their very, very best to hurt you instead of you hurting them. Like, the Captain insisted that we carry our gas masks on patrol -- but only one canteen of water! And we couldn't roll our shirt sleeves up, much less take our shirts off! But most importantly, he only let us carry the "basic load" of ammo.
    See, usually we'd carry ever piece of ammo we could carry. Ammo and water and food and insect repellent -- I mean, it got really basic out there. But not when the CP staff were with us! Nope! Four grenades, eighty rounds in magazines and twenty more in the rifle -- that sort of thing. Stuff that could get you killed.
    But like I say, the patrol started as a skate. We were bedding down no later than 1600 each day, diggin' holes and makin' bunkers, pullin' guard duty and listening posts just like we were back at Benning. And all the time the Top and the Old Man riding you for dusty boots or a limp uniform. It was a skate, but not a happy one.
    Then Charlie pulled the cork and it really hit the fan!
    We were humpin', following the Captain's route, and we were crossing a clearing when the point went down from a 12.7 mm machine gun.   Then a bunch of mortar rounds chewed up the rear and those of us in the middle were cut off.
    See, that was Charlie's plan: cut off the point, cut the middle of the column off from the rear, shoot up the rear and finish off the center whenever they wanted. Naturally the Captain, the First Sergeant, the RTO and the machine gunner were taken out first.
    Me? I was about four people behind the Captain and saw him go down with what seemed to be about a hundred bullets in him. It was a quick look, too, 'cause I was trying at the same time to dig a really, really deep hole to get into and pull over me.
    Then the mortars started on us and I felt something tear my legs up and rip my helmet off my head.
    I was shooting back, of course. Everyone still able to was shooting back. But we had been there for a while and nobody had any delusions about our chances. We were in it really, really deep, and it wasn't a hole!   There was little chance that we were going to get out of this alive, and we knew it.
    I remember that I noticed that the radio was still working, and I remember that I thought that somebody had better call for help. I was closest, so it was up to me, and I crawled to it, pulling myself along by my elbows -- my legs weren't working very well at all right then.
    Then a piece of metal hit my head and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital back at Quai Nhon.
    The Colonel came in about a day later and told me that I'd saved the patrol and possibly LZ Furrow, where the 156th was headquartered, and that I was in for a medal.
    Well, I asked him what I'd done and he told me. It seems that I had called in one of the pre-planned artillery barrages that Captain Walters had arranged for before the patrol. It was just the right one, too, for it had messed up Charlie's troops bad while it had saved our skins from being cut to shreds.
    In fact, the Colonel had wanted me to get the Medal of Honor, but there weren't enough witnesses.
    I told him that I hadn't done anything of the sort.
    I guess I got kind of wild about it, too, 'cause he said quietly that I was to come to see him when I out of the hospital and he left and a medic came in then and gave me a shot and that was all I knew for a while.
    Anyway, time went on and I was going to be transferred to a hospital in Japan. I asked the Doctor if I could go see the Colonel before I left, 'cause the Colonel had asked me to, and he said it was okay. So I did.
    The Colonel didn't make me salute or stand at attention. Shucks, I probably couldn't have done it if I had to. Instead he pulled up a chair and told the Sergeant Major to get me a beer -- a cold beer -- and that I could smoke if I wanted to and would I like one of his cigarettes?
    I told him that I'd recently given up the habit and he chuckled. Then he told me that I really was a hero and I disagreed again. And then he told me that he could prove it, because he had taped the radio traffic and he had me on tape. And he played it for me.
    It was a weird, really weird experience. I could hear the "Whump!" of the mortars hitting and the shots and the yelling and all, just like it had been. And then there was the sound of the microphone being fumbled with and then, really, really faintly, just on the edge of hearing, I heard
    "Stone Eight Six, Stone Eight Six, Stone Three One . . . our Six is down . . . Top too . . . it's bad . . . we need . . . arty . . . fire Mike Mike Two Three . . . hurt bad . . .
Mike Mike Two Three . . . fire it now . . . tell Momsy I love her . . . ."
    "You see?" said the Colonel. "Concentration MM23 was preplanned fire. You were found with the microphone in your hand. You were badly hurt. Obviously, although you don't remember it, you called Stone Eight Six -- we here at HQ -- and used your radio call sign, Stone Three One. You asked for the supporting fire, we could hear the problem, and we delivered. Son, because of your actions only five were killed and twelve wounded -- and you were the worst! Basically, your actions saved your company. You deserve a lot more than a Silver Star and the thanks of everyone involved!"
    I couldn't say anything. You see, I couldn't tell him that I had no idea of what the preplanned fires had been because Captain Walters never had told us. And I really could not tell the Colonel that I never, ever called my mother "Momsy" -- but that Charlie Edelson always had, and that it was his voice on the tape.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 10:19 PM

Gnu, remind me to post my Vietnam story as it gets closer to Hallowe'en.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM

That's a lovely tale, Little Hawk!! That was a genuine Scheisskopf he rounded up there!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 07:03 PM

Rap... riveting. More... yes please.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 06:53 PM

I don't do body counts, Amos. Unless I've personally caused the count. My score is lower than either, but I'm just one person. I've counted some bodies, sure, but nothing like they did outside Ilium. And I don't count corpses, either. Gotta be alive to be counted. Some folks don't count because while they're breathing they are actually not alive...you know who I mean.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 06:43 PM

More like Greeks 3, 298, Trojans 3, 297, ya?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 06:39 PM

You want I should do more? I can, you know. Besides, remember the score at Ilium: Greeks 1, Trojans 0.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:17 PM

More war stories. One day my father came upon a German soldier in the forest who had his pants down and was sitting on a fallen log emptying his bowels!

He pointed his gun at the German. The German raised his hands slowly and said, nervously, "Do you mind if I finish?"

"Go right ahead," my father said, keeping a very close eye on him.

The German finished, pulled his pants up with obvious relief, and went quietly back to the allied lines to be handed over for questioning. My father said that guy was looking happier with each passing minute, realizing that he'd just managed to get out of the war alive.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 04:37 PM

Please go to the doctor, MMario.

My folks just left after a nice visit in which my father brought up his telescope and pointed out astronomical wonders to about 30 high school students. He agreed with you, Rapaire, and urged me to join up with the Greeks. He also mentioned your call. Thanks for ganging up on me! I'm glad to have such good friends on my team.

Eiseley


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Acme
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:42 PM

Ah, yes, the "Lab" work (even if it isn't a Labrador retriever). My cathoula mix gave me a hard shot to the crotch, insisting she needed to let me know something was wrong a couple of days before that bladder infection hit me full force. It's smart to pay attention to them. Most of the time.

Last night at 3am they were insistent that the invader in the yard be dealt with. BARK! bark! BARK! bark! BARK! bark! BARK! bark! tandem messaging to the neighborhood. I slogged across the wet lawn with my pistol-grip million candle flashlight to see a smallish (2-3 pound) possum looking a little mussed up and with an odd short tail perched on the stockade fence. Yes, I'm a naturalist, but I was tired at 3am, so I reached out with my flashlight and pushed him off the fence into the next door neighbor's yard. Problem solved. We all went back to bed. Bugger probably climbed out over another part of her fence.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: MMario
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:16 PM

Hi again Mom!
The Tuxedo Panther (28 lb american shorthair)is a diagnostician; normally he tells me when I am ill. This past two weeks he's been almost as cuddly with me as he is when I am sick ("normal" behavior for him with me is ignore me unless his food dish needs filling).

I put this down to his person (My brother-i-law) being in Italy with my sister. But they got home last night - and the cat followed me to bed; slept on the bed almost all night and next to it the remainder of the night. Followed me when I got up...

He didn't keep watch in the bathroom though (when I am sick he tends to sit on my feet as I sit on the throne) and didn't hover anxiously when I went out the door.

So hopefully the cuddling last night was just him being ticked off at the b-i-l.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:38 AM

By the way, my father was one of the experienced guys who always refused to volunteer for any "night patrols". He did get ordered to serve on some of them, but was never foolish enough to volunteer for one. He said that those night patrols were just an excuse for ambitious officers to show off to their superiors how much initiative they had and maybe get themselves a promotion or a medal for it....that the night patrols were useless and ending up killing a lot of people on both sides to no good purpose...that they made the people on both sides miserable and never gave anyone any respite from the constant fear of death. The experienced men detested the officers that sent them out on those night patrols and hoped that a handy mortar shell or some other piece of deadly ordinance might land on them while they were walking to the latrine or polishing their brass buttons.

Two of these officers were apparently killed by their own men in somewhat mysterious "incidents"....one received a bullet through his binoculars while observing a vicious firefight from what should have been an entirely safe distance behind the line. Another was blown sky high when he used an outhouse he had ordered the soldiers to build specially for his use alone. It blew into smithereens the first time he went in and sat down inside it. Funny about that, eh? My father said there were at least a couple of guys in the unit who could definitely have rigged up such a device, but it was never clear which one of them might have done it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: MMario
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:17 AM

HI mom!

I'm flying to HOuston on the 29th; and will be in the environs until the 2nd.

Saturday and Sunday are pretty filled up with Texas Ren-faire.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 09:38 AM

Good story, Rapaire. My father was in a bunch of firefights with the Germans during the war. I am aware that he killed a few men in those battles, but he would never speak in any detail about that. He preferred to tell stories about the funny or weird things that happened in his unit or the narrow escapes he had. While the war was happening, he hated the Germans, but after the war he met many of them while doing business, visited Germany a number of times, and made good friends there. Some of the men he met had fought on the other side, naturally, and he discovered that their experiences had been much like his own....only they had to face national defeat at the end of that war and deal with it. It's the only thing that could possibly be worse than having been on the winning side. Either way, it's no picnic, and it's not glorious in the least. He said that the war was the most awful waste of good men and valuable material (not to mention time) that he ever saw in his life, and he hoped never to see such a thing again.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:17 PM

Glory, glory. That was even better reading the second time. Good work, Mike.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 09:45 PM

The old Emil Schletter place burned ten years before I was
born. Emil and his wife Leona had both died in the fire, and the property was, in the phrase of the country at that time, "tied up in the lawyers."
        It was a marginal eighth section, and poor farming methods hadn't helped the productivity of the soil. All in all, no one was anxious to settle the ownership of the land and by the time I came along it was generally felt that either "the lawyers" now owned the old farm or that it belonged to some cousin in New York city who didn't care about it and only used it for a tax break --opinions differed.
        It didn't matter to my friends and me. The thrill of trespassing (if anyone cared about it) added to the zest of playing among the ruins of the old house and outbuildings. It became for us land to settle, war-torn towns to liberate from the Nazi hordes, the landscape of some distant planet, or a place to escape to when school, parents or life itself began to close around us.
        Marginal for the Schletters, unwanted by the legal owner, the weed-grown pastures and fields became for a group of growing
children a playground unequaled anywhere.
        We smoked our first cigarettes there. We swam in the pond in summer and slid on the ice in winter. We hunted rabbits with our .22s during hunting season, and sharpened our marksmanship against the high clay creekbank year-round.
        I'm sure that the deputy sheriff who lived only a half mile away knew what went on. At that time and place he would have done nothing unless a complaint were filed, or if someone were injured. Otherwise, he (and our parents) knew where we were and (usually) what we were doing. I'm also sure that certain of the grown-ups -- especially my Uncle Mathias -- knew when we were doing what we were doing. It was Uncle Mathias, after all, who was waiting for me at the gate the day I started walking home, green and ill, after trying chewing tobacco for the first time.
        His advice on that occasion, offered as he walked beside me and I tried to keep up a conversation and keep down my breakfast, was simple: "If you chew tobacco," he said, "it's best not to swallow the juice."
        I was a newly-minted second lieutenant, under orders for Vietnam and home for a thirty day leave when I last visited the Schletter place. Of those with whom I had grown and played, two were dead and the others scattered. Visiting, walking along the barely discernible trails and poking among the ruins of the burned house and the tumbled barn was to relive for a moment the joy of the past.
        I would never see the place again, for the creek was to be dammed to create a man-made lake for flood control and recreation. When I would return, waterskiers and fishermen would play over where I had once played.
        In two days, I had to report to Travis Air Force Base.
        In three days, I would be at Tan Son Nhut.
        In a week, although I didn't know it then, I would be with the Americal Division at Chu Lai. In a month, I would be operating out of LZ Gator, leading patrols through forests of eternal twilight.
        Unsurprisingly, Uncle Mathias was waiting for me, sitting on a rock by the old milk shed.
        "Not much doin' out here today," he said.
        "No," I agreed. "Not much doing."
        We waited there, he on the rock and I standing, for a few minutes, each knowing that the other was thinking of the future and neither knowing whether or not to speak of it.
        Finally, Uncle Mathias broke the unstrained silence.
        "Worried?"
        "Yes, I am. I suppose everyone going to war worries."
        "Scared?"
        "Yes." I said it flatly, a statement of fact.
        "Good. I'd be worried if you wasn't scared. Fact is, I'd do my damnedest to talk you into runnin' off to Canada if you wasn't scared. Ain't nothin' quite so disturbin' or downright dangerous as a fearless second looey."
        I couldn't resist asking: "Do you speak from experience?"
        "Fact is, I do. Back in '18, when I was a sergeant with the Big Red One in France, I had a second looey put in command of my platoon who was fearless. I was just a youngster myself, of course, and like all the others in my platoon and all the others of my age, I thought that I'd live forever. Other people got themselves killed -- I was too darn smart.
        "We was in the trenches -- near some God-forsaken village which had been shelled first by the Germans and then by the French and then by the British and over and over and over and now by the Americans until it looked like the walls of Jericho must have looked after Joshua finished up. Lieutenant Doaks -- that was his real name, Daniel Doaks -- called me into his dugout late one afternoon and told me that me and him were going to go out with a patrol that night. We were goin' to get some "filthy Huns" for prisoners -- those were his words, 'filthy Huns.'"
        "What happened?" I asked.
        "We left the trench about moonset. Lieutenant Doaks had told me that he wanted only 'fearless warriors' (that's what he said, too) on his first patrol. I was green then, but I did want some of the old salts along -- Narbeth, or Smith, or maybe Oltanger. Fact was though, none of the experienced people volunteered and I was too green to order them to go along. I know now why they didn't want to go, but back then I just put it down to funk.
        "Anyway, like I was sayin', we left the trench after moonset, which was about midnight or one a.m. We crawled out to the wire and passed through, closing the wire after we left. About fifty yards out into no man's land, we reached a shell crater which we had marked as an assembly point and the final jumpin' off place for our little raid.
        "Right away, the looey started to screw things up. First thing he did was that he had brought a telephone with us and unrolled the wire as we walked. Nobody did that sort of thing in those days, 'cause the phones were not at all like the ones you have now -- and radio was limited to Morse code with a telegraph key. Now, as we were sittin' in the shell hole tryin' to look like nothin' was out of place, the damned phone rang.
        "It was the Captain, and he should have known better. The looey took the call, and all I could hear was what was said at my end. The looey told the Captain that yes, we were in the shell hole, our first point, and that yes, we would be going in right quickly to get the prisoner, and no, nothing had gone wrong, and finally one of the boys whispered to me, 'Yes mother, I'll be home directly" and it was all I could do to keep from laughing.
        "After he hung up, he gathered us together and repeated our mission. Of course, by this time I figgered that the Germans not only knew that we were there, but had figured out who we were, what we was goin' to do, when we was goin' to do it, and probably knew the maiden names of our mothers to boot.
        "But the looey wasn't afraid! No sir! Not him! He was going to lead his men into battle with the Hun and save Western Civilization with this one raid.
        "Then the mortars hit.
        "We were about as safe as we could get right then, bein' on the reverse slope of the front wall of a pretty damned deep crater. But the looey, he jumped up, drew his .45, and shouted "Follow me!" at the top of his voice.
        "He jumped up on the lip of the shell hole and looked just like that statue at Fort Benning -- the one at the Infantry School.
        "Germans saw him up there and came close to cuttin' him in half with a machine gun. He fell back into the hole and died in my arms.
        "The brouhaha was gettin' wilder. The Germans had now brought in artillery fire, and flares, and me and the boys in the hole were seriously thinkin' about leavin' the party and goin' home. Problem was, there was a hundred and fifty feet to our wire, a short eternity to open the gate in the wire and maybe another seventy-five feet to our trench. Say maybe two hundred and fifty feet, it could be done in maybe eight minutes walkin' and that time includes openin' the gate in the wire.
        "Crawling, and every inch of the way seemin' to be already occupied by a piece of unfriendly steel or lead, it would take considerably longer. Maybe forever.
        "And the Germans, they weren't fools. There might be a patrol right now gettin' ready to come out and catch us instead of the other way around. They knew that nobody went out into no man's land alone; they knew we were there.
        "And I had the highest rank in that hole. Six other guys were depending on me to have the right answers. And I had never been in such a predicament before -- hell, I'd only come under fire in training, just like the others.
        "Two of the boys messed their pants. I didn't, but it took some control, let me tell you!
        "A fifty-nine shell lit real close to the right; it tore up the lip of our shell hole. I figgered that another wouldn't land there (don't believe that, 'cause it ain't so), so I carefully peeked out around the newly rearranged dirt.
        "Sure enough, there was a patrol of about twenty Germans at the German wire, about two hundred yards in front of us. And we couldn't back up, go forward, go sidewise, shit, or go blind.
        "I slithered back down into the hole and told the others what I'd seen.
        "They were unhappy with the news, you might say. I must admit that I'd had better myself in my time.
        "Then I banged my knee against the telephone the looey had dragged along.
        "I picked up the handset and rang the crank. I thought that the wire had probably been cut by the shelling, but it was just possible that I was wrong.
        "I was wrong. The Captain answered on the first ring.
        "He was glad to hear from us, and told me that they were being shelled. I told him that I knew that, and that we had been getting shelled for some time too.
        "He asked to talk to the looey, and I told him the looey was dead. He asked me if I was sure. I told him that I felt that being ripped up with machine gun bullets probably did that to a man. He told me that I'd better come back and that I'd better bring the looey's body with me.
        " I mentioned to him that we would probably be leavin' the shell hole soon, but that we'd be goin' the other direction due to the approaching German patrol.
        "Man was pretty excitable, for an officer. He asked me where the Germans were and how many there were and told me to tell him quick so that he could call in some artillery on them.
        "So I told him. And then he hung up or we were cut off, because the line went dead.
        "I slid back up the slope and peeked out again. The Germans were through the wire and about fifty feet inside no man's land. Soon, unless something was done, we were going to have visitors."
        Uncle Mathias stretched, and stood up. He filled his pipe, lit it, and blew a great cloud of smoke skyward.
        "Just then," he continued, "Our artillery arrived. Only it was targeted on where the Germans had been instead of where they were now. Just the same, it made them take cover.
        "But the thing was, the Germans had been in those trenches in that sector for a long, long time. They were veterans, and fine soldiers. They knew every gully and hummock like I know my backyard. They just started to move out of the impact zone of the artillery, and towards us.
        "Now, remember that during all of this the mortar, machine gun and artillery fire from the German lines was goin' on. They were out to get us, and they wanted us bad.
        "I knew then what a tennis ball feels like.
        "I tried calling the Captain again, but it was no go. The phone was damaged, or the line cut, or something.
        "There was nothin' else to do. I gathered the boys together and told them that we'd either have to fight or run, and that either way it was touch-and-go about makin' it.
        "We put what was left of the poor lieutentant on a gas-cape, what you'd call a poncho today, which somebody had along, and pushed him up the slope of the crater and dragged him toward our lines. We left the phone.
        "About twenty yards away was another, smaller, crater. We pulled in there and regrouped.
        "The seven of us were unhurt, but scared to our toenails.
        "Then I had an idea, and put it to the group that we were in a good position to ambush the German patrol who was out looking for us. They'd be coming pretty soon to the crater we'd just left, and from where we were now we'd have a good shot at them. Might even be able to take a prisoner or two back, which was the whole reason we were out there in the first place.
        "Three of the boys said that they felt that it would be just as well if they continued to mosey on home. I said that that was fine, but would they leave those of us remaining behind most of their spare ammunition and grenades, take the looey's body with them, and tell the Captain where we were and that we'd be late coming home and so not to leave the porchlight on.
        "They quietly left us, and Bill Reynolds, Alvin Sharp,
Fred Wood and me slowly pushed our '03s over the lip of the crater and into the direction we'd just come. For luck, we each put Mills bombs where we could get them quickly.
        "Then we waited. We knew that the Germans would come slowly, and that the shelling would probably lift just about the time they reached our old hole.
        "The shelling did lift, suddenly, and the silence was as scary as the falling shells.
        "A flare went off right over our old crater. It threw the whole thing into sharp light, just as if it were day. And it also showed a patrol of twenty Germans suddenly leap up and surround what was now an empty hole.
        "They tossed a grenade into the hole, and we started shooting and got at least half of them with our first volley. Sharp grabbed one of his Mills bombs, pulled the pin and threw it. He was a good pitcher, and it landed right where it would do the most good. They were hurt, no doubt of it, but they were good veteran troops, like I said, and they ducked down and began to return fire.
        "It was just a matter of time before the Germans in the trenches figured out who was who and started dropping things on us.
        "I signalled, and we each grabbed a Mills bomb, pulled the pins, and threw them together.
        "The four explosions sounded like one, they were so close together. We jumped up and charged, no command or anything, just that it was the right thing to do and the four of us were readin' each other's mind.
        "To tell it quickly, we took four of the Germans back with us to our lines -- one apiece. They were so rattled from what turned out to be our crazy charge that all the fight had gone out of them.
        "We left the other Germans, the dead and wounded, in the hole. We figured that their stretcher bearers or someone would come to help those who could be helped.
        "Captain was mighty proud of us when we got back. Apart from scratches and bruises, nobody except the lieutenant got hurt, which was a pure miracle considerin' the effort which had gone into trying to do just the opposite. Sharp and Reynolds and Wood and me each got a medal out of it. And a weeks' leave in Paris!"
        "Uncle Mathias," I said, "what medal did you win with this engagement? I have never before heard you speak of this." Uncle Mathias, you understand, was not above making a long story out of a short one.
        His eyes grew lonely, deep and very, very sad. I would see eyes like that later; we called it the "thousand meter stare." There is a photograph in which I have it.
        "Those who have been there seldom, if ever, talk about it," he said slowly. "Reynolds was killed; he took a large fragment of metal in the stomach. Wood lost both legs to a mine. Sharp, the best pitcher I ever saw, bled to death in the Argonne when a shell ripped both of this arms off. I was with each of them when they were wounded or died. I still write to Fred Wood, but I don't think that he'll be with us much longer.
        "I received, for my part in this minor engagement, the Medal of Honor. Each month, I receive from the government of the United States the sum of one hundred dollars. If you doubt the truth of this, you will find it easily checked at the public library or by reading the orders you will find in my sea chest at home." Uncle Mathias, who could speak as correctly as I, did not forego his regionalisms unless he was quite annoyed. And he was annoyed with me.
        I tried to apologize, to tell him that I had never doubted him. Orally falling all over myself, I tried to make amends for a slight I never intended to someone I loved.
        Suddenly, his face lit up in a huge grin. "Oh hell," he said. "If somebody told me the story I just told you, I'd think they was lyin' too!"
        "But I didn't walk out here today just to tell you stories. I got somethin' to give you and somethin' to tell you before you go to war.
        "When I came back from the war, everything was changed. Our old house was too small and the town was, well, tiny. I had to leave again, only this time I wasn't forced out but was leavin' of my own free will.
        "That's what I wanted to tell you. When you come back, nothing will be like it was when you left. This place will be under water, and you'll find that everything is a whole lot smaller. Maybe you'll have to leave like I did, and if you do I'll square it with your mother for you. And one more thing: if you ever find that what you went through was more than you can take alone, I'll listen to you. What I didn't tell you just now was what I haven't told anyone else, except that Sharp knows it, of course. It is this: when we charged those Germans, they were dead, wounded, or in shock. Except one. One grizzled old Sergeant, I guess he was, popped up in front of me and knocked my '03 away. I don't know how I did it, but I grabbed him, wrestled him to the ground and choked him to death with my bare hands.
        "And I still relive that, some nights.
        "If you need to talk, when you get back, to someone who's been there, well, I'm here. Your war'll be different from any of mine, but killin's the same. And that's what it is about, when you come down to it."
        Uncle Mathias sighed and stood up.
        "Here. Got a couple of presents for you. Keep 'em to yourself."
        He reached into his jacket pocket, took out a small automatic pistol, and handed it to me. "It's only a .32, but it'll do for a backup if you need one. This was mine, I carried it in Europe during the last world war."
        From inside his jacket he took a knife with a blackened metal handle and a double-edged, diamond-sectioned blade. "This was your father's. He got it during the War; it's called a Fairbairn-Sykes stilleto and it was issued to the British commandoes and the OSS. He sent it along to me in the last package I ever got from him. He said to save it until he got home. Since he didn't make it back, I kinda thought that you should have it now. You might need it."
        I was very close to tears.
        "Now you listen," Uncle Mathias continued. "Both of these are mine. Your daddy gave me this knife, and your Aunt Thecla bought me the pistol when she found out I was in Europe the last time. She sent it over with a friend of ours, thought that it might be handy to have since I was at war again. So, you can have these two things as a loan. Use 'em, but you've got to bring them back.
        "Right now, if you will please put those items in your pocket or somewhere else out of sight, you and me can stroll over to the house and see if Thecla's still got some pie and coffee around."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 09:00 PM

You know he'll be around just for grits and shins, Amos. At least you know he'll be enjoying himself immensely.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:33 PM

The unfolding of the memorial service is in the hands of the woman who is the assistant Rector of St-James-by-the-Sea. It is a High Episcopalian deal--processionals, musical choices, the whole nine yards. I had forgotten how resplendent the Episcopalian sense of ceremony can be, sparkling with sumptuous high-wrought meretriciousness. Sigh. Peter will be parked in the rafters, laughing his spiritual ass off.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:08 PM

38 000! SHAT!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:03 PM

Alright, calm down everyone. I'm back. If you feel like swooning just lay down until it passes. Sorry I wasn't here sooner but I had a rather full schedule today.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 05:47 PM

He'll stop analysis when he croaks...

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:57 PM

Depends on whose woody yer talking about, I reckon. I have known some make abalysis downright impossible!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Acme
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:23 PM

That's a staggeringly vivid prognostication. But Woody will never stop analysis.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:38 AM

Now that William Shatner has personally blessed this thread by posting on the 38,000th post, I predict that this thread will go on to achieve ever greater accomplishments in spectacular BS and will one day reach 500,000 posts! On that day, Amos will wear a pink tutu and perform as the heroine in an amature production of Swan Lake in Schenectady, New York, the Moon will turn blue, and Woody Allen will finally STOP getting psychoanalysis!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:25 AM

I don't think we've ever heard so many of Little Hawk's voices speaking so closely to each other. This worries me, because there is a possibility that this acceleration could ultimately result in a Singularity and I am not placing any bets on the Who that will be left standing.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Eiseley
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:14 AM

Wow! That's all I have to say. Wow!!!

Eiseley


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:50 AM

Thank you, thank you. (big smile)

Please throw money, not underwear.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Acme
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:41 AM

Will the puppetmaster please stand and take a bow?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:39 AM

Jimmy Lee Staggers - "Y'all have forsaken The Way, The Truth, and The Light for sins of the flesh and for momentary pleasures of This World."

Hmm. Well, this bozo has me figgered out, that's for sure! Maybe he's onto somethin'. Tell ya what, Jimmy Lee...I'll convert 10 seconds before I check out, okay? That way I can have all that fun and still be covered. If it don't work out, them hell demons have got a few surprises comin' cos I am bringin' the tommy gun with me when I cross over.

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,freds
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:26 AM

Is this "Jimmie Lee Staggers" of good genetic stock? We need DNA strands to suck off the wonderful dish we learned from you and which you call "pizza."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Reverend Jimmy Lee Staggers
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:24 AM

Y'all are all damned! You're all going to burn in the Eternal Fire Which Cannot Be Quenched! Y'all have forsaken The Way, The Truth, and The Light for sins of the flesh and for momentary pleasures of This World. Come the Rupture, y'all will not be taken up but will instead have to face the Tribulation, and y'all will die and be cast into The Pit. Demons will eat your insides and then spit them out again, in one of them eternal cycles of punishment. Yea, this generation shall pass unto the Flames Eternal! There is a faint hope for you, but you must do a Jesus commanded: sell all you have and give it to this Church. Amen.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,William Shatner
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:11 AM

38,000!

Thank you. Thank you very much.

- William Shatner


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Wilfred Penifere
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:10 AM

What....what's that rumbling sound???!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Veronica Rutledge
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:09 AM

Oh, be quiet, you silly ape.

- Veronica


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:08 AM

Too many damned Limeys here this morning. They talk like their mouths are full of mashed potatoes.

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Mrs Olive Whatnoll
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:07 AM

Wot the bleedin' 'ell do you lot know about it???

- Olive Whatnoll


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Ms Penelope Rutledge
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:06 AM

Some entire lives are a waste of time.

* PR


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:05 AM

What the flip! Is this flippin' thread still goin'? What the flip FOR? Talk about a waste of flippin' TIME!

- Shane


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,William Shatner
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:04 AM

Should I spare a moment from my busy day and offer a bit of sage advice and a benediction?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:03 AM

The tension rises as the moment nears!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:14 PM

Whudda concepp.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:01 PM

Maybe Shame will come!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Acme
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 10:59 PM

I already took the roof off once in this decade.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 09:22 PM

We-uns kin have one a them Texas barby-cues. Where ya dig a big ol' hole in the ground and build a big ol' fahr and then cook a whole cow long with a big ol' potta beans. Wash 'er all down with Lone Star, too.


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