“I Rode ‘Mine Alley’ Once”

I rode “Mine Alley”

scared fecalless in a tank:

but the beer was cold!*


*(April, 1970.  Someone said ito me: “Wanna ride in a Sherman from LZ Baldy to Fire Support Base Ross? Being a Marine Combat Correspondent – two proofs of dumb right there! – I said yes.  When we stopped at Que Son City and the tank commander mentioned this road was one of but two i n Northern I Corps, South Vietnam to be given the sobriquet “Mine Alley” he figured his team could let me in on the joke, finally: the second half of the journey from the Landing Zone to the tube-farm at Ross was the dangerous part with 250-pound “box” mines, command detonated, not uncommon as we led a supply convoy to the furthest-West outpost under the shadows of th e massive Que Son Mountains.  I climbed back aboard and the driver reached around to the big wooden tank-round wooden crate, flipped it open and reached into a layer of large-chunk chipped ice and fished me out a frosty Budweiser!)

“Cotton Mouth & Mamba”

Black Mamba and a

Water Moccasin will stalk

a human not-prey*!


*(There may be others – puff adder and such, but the Cotton-Mouth Water Moccasin and the Black Mamba are alleged to be the two deadly snakes known to “stalk” humans who annoy them.  Both are said to get ahead of their intended victims and strike whey they walk past. Don’t know so much about that, but in 1966 while serving as a lifeguard at the U.S. Navy Base’s Lake Golden swim area in Sanford, Florida – Naval Air Station – I used to take a 10–to-15-minute swim break just after noon – before I had my lunch – and swim across the half-mile or so lake and on returning from a slightly more sane half-lake swim I was told to turn around and look back from the other lifeguard stationed at one of two rafts placed about 100 feet offshore…Damn!  A big, fat and somehow or somewhy pissed-at-me Water Moccasin was undulating quickly along about five yards behind me!  Instanter!  I submerged and swam at right angles to the snake for a good 30 seconds and when I surfaced, I put on my best sprint to shore and the duty lifeguard whistled everyone else out of the lake.  Dang! Well: least it wasn’t a gator!)

“Marching Past Georgia”

Marching past Georgia

no army as this before:



*(Goobers – Goober Peas. ” “Peas, peas, peas: eating goober peas! Goodness how nutritious, goodness how delicious, eating Goober Peas!” The song pay homage to the Southern sacramental food – boiled peanuts, though some say even roasted peanuts may be sobriquetted Goober Peas. We purists demur.  Good Goobers: take a 25-gallon pot of water about halfway up, add in 5 or 6 pounds of green (yes! immature, not those old crusty logs better used to build homes – and a bucket of table salt (or Kosher), and add your favorite flavorings i- I use three or four cut-in-half heads of garlic, a couple of similarly treated large yellow onions, a cup of Old Bay Seasoning, and the same of mixed hot peppers and/or a icouple tablespoons of cayenne powder, Garlic and Onion powder, and green onion tops and parsley stems and if you dare some few cans of beer you won’t drink because you got bottled beer instead!  Bring to a boil, boil hard for a half our or more, adding more water as necessary to keep the batch roiling, and reduce to strong simmer until test-goobers come out salty enough and tender enough.  Kill the heat – best done outdoors with a propane burner – and let cool.  Fish for the few test peas to see if the cook has gone well.  If not bring back to a boil and immediately a simmer…you can add a cover to the pot at this point and adjust seasonings.  If you were smart enough to put the garlic, onions and green stuff in a cheescloth sack, now is the time to remove them. Using an iced-tea strainer (dipnet type to you finecky kinds) fish out some goobers, grab a co-cola, a beer or unsweet – dang! or sweet – tea and find shade and preferably a hammock set up to take the best cross-breeze and eat a bowl of steaming goober peas. Remember! The best parts are those fleshy white or creamish-colored – some say snot-looking – bits inside the shells as the sickly white immature peas tease your tongue, those lagniappe side-cars will torture you until you get s’more.  The intended consequence of all that spice: to get the true afficionado his daily ingestion of salt and spice. Ain’t than just so very nice?)

“Want Backpain? Be A Schoolkid!”*

new-age tyrants like

the docile kids low backpacks

and carseats hath wrought.


*(While car seats are cool, one unintended consequence is the docilization of kids, especially boys who after a half-dozen years or so of slipping without fuss into the back seats even after they have graduated from crash-protective devices and now slip into those same seats still wearing their backpacks on and hunched over, do not but in rare instances suggest or get told by the driver to dump the bookbag into the trunk and sit near humanlike.  And the backpacks – many are designed to be worn with the bulk under the shoulders and some – better designed – still are worn with the bulk of the mass low on the back, just above the hips.  I have seen some kids with book bags bulking – and possibly weighing – as much if not more than the poor sixth grader to whom they are attached.

Get a grip, guys – and girls, though more of them seem sensible about dealing with backpacks and such – wear the packs high as you can on the shoulders and you will avoid the backpain then and later. Ask a soldier or Marine in the family or a friend how they were taught to wear backs and why.  You can not run out of harm’s way with a thirty-pound backpack just over your butt flapping away – but you can if it’s worn high up on the shoulders.

Just sayin’!)