07 December 2011
Heartache
It's been some 70 years ago today since Japan attacked the Hawaiian Islands. On this day started a chain of events, that not only changed America but the whole world. Forever.

In my youth, scouting was a favorite pastime that was always a great adventure. It seems such a long time ago now. We had a scoutmaster that always seemed to be a bit ... off, somehow. Ole' Ray was a nice enough fellow that had a lot of patience. Trying to herd a bunch of spoiled brats, without breaking off a tree branch to use as a bludgeon on us for some of our shenanigans, had to be difficult.

Camping always seemed to be disastrous for us as the weather hated us. Summer outings would make us wonder if it was too late to build an Ark to keep from drowning. Fall camporee turned into Polar Bear camp and so on ...

Little did we brats know, but Ole' Ray was there in Hawaii 70 years ago. Sometimes during those long nights camping we'd see Ray bringing an armful of wood to keep the fires burning. He did this so we could warm ourselves, and i suspect to keep his mind from other things. Sometimes he would entertain us with tales from his Navy days. One particularly miserable night, he told us about his being in Pearl, and the aftermath.

Raising the wrecks so that they could be refitted. Opening the hatches, and seeing what he could only describe as human sardines, reflexively trying to escape. Fighting to get one last breathe of air. Packed so tightly together they were almost impossible to remove ... No wonder he'd prowl the woods looking for firewood at night.

Looking back now, I believe he was suffering from PTSD. And a li'l nip from a bottle on those long nights helped to ease the pain of memories from long ago.



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