Shimmering Sunset

shimmering waters

Evening curtain
Fell, as
Sunset cruise
Glided over
Calm, crystal
Waters gilded
By fading sunrays
Under patchwork
Patterned skies



letter pWhat’s there to say
When, there’s nothing to say?
Today’s as ordinary
As every other day
Words didn’t come
Left me lonesome

It may not be not pretty
Please indulge wallowing in self-pity
Where are colorful words, fantastic phrases?
Things to break, my general malaises?
Hurry, bring something dramatic
My mood is distinctly monochromatic

Perhaps, something to placate
My phrasemongering passions?
Is alliteration all I’ve got?
So trite–so old-fashioned
By Jove, I’ve got it!
It’s the answer
It’s got to be!

A favorite letter–the letter “P”
Some favorite words
That start with “P”
Peace, passion, persistence
Poignant, proportion, plethora
Unpleasant ones–I choose to ignore
I could list more, If I tried
My very favorite “P” word is pie

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 20, Burma, Another Year, Another Birthday

Jan 4, 1945

I received your letters of Dec. 10th and 17th today.  It’s the first time I’ve received any mail in a week besides a package from Dorothy that came three days ago.  I don’t see why you haven’t been hearing from me.  I’ve been writing all the time and I usually get your letters OK outside of maybe they don’t come one week, but the next I get both of them.  I certainly hope that you’ve heard by this time.  I’m glad that you got my Christmas card anyway.

You must be having real winter weather.  Dorothy said that she was having a time getting to school in the drifts.  Harvey had been driving her.

So Mrs. Senior outlived Lila.  I thought sure that Lila would be left alone.  I guess the old Senior place [later called the Hick’s house] looks mighty lonesome now, with no one there.  I’m glad to hear that Myrtle Rigsbey is improving.  She must have had quite a time of it.

I got a letter from Evelyn Getz here awhile back and she said that Wendell was headed overseas, but she hadn’t heard where yet.  She was awfully anxious to hear.  If he happens to land in the thick of things, she’ll wish she didn’t know then.

Esther Parker is getting to be quite the career woman.  The picture of here in the clipping doesn’t look much like her.  Those printed pictures don’t always turn out so good though.  Maybe she’ll capture herself some big shot in the army.

I got the Christmas boxes OK.  I got the one the Farm Bureau sent me.  I’ve been using the pipe you sent me and in Dorothy’s package there was some tobacco so the two go together.  Surely the letters I have written you will get there eventually.  They may have ben held up for some reason.  I’m nursing a cold now, but it’s improving, otherwise OK.

Editor’s note:  Apparently, there was frustration on the home front about regular mail from overseas.

Jan. 13, 1945

I wonder how you folks are tonight?  I’ll bet you are sitting close to the fire toasting your toes.  It’s nothing like that here, although, a fire does feel good in the evenings and early mornings.  I have a little fire going now in one little stove.

I hope that by now you’ve heard from me.  Your last letter said that you hadn’t heard for three weeks.  I guess the mail just got held up somewhere along the line.  If these letters don’t get through, I’ll have to try V-mail as it seems to always get there.

Christmas is over and New Years is over and here we are about the middle of January already.  Time seems to go pretty fast.

I spend my leisure time writing letters, reading and going to movies.  I don’t find much time that I don’t know what to do with.  I heard from Gene Parker about a week ago.  I answered his letter a few nights ago.  He is prompt in answering.  I get his letters in three days.  I guess he’s glad to hear from someone from home.  I know that I am and sure wish it were possible to see him.  He’s doing about the same kind of work that I am.

My last letter from Dorothy was Dec 29 and she said that it was cold and slippery out, then.  I’m glad that it was during her vacation, so she wouldn’t have to drive over the slick roads.  She said that she’d gotten another new tire for her car, which makes three, now.  She needs one more to make a complete new set.  She’ll have to get it before school is out, as the ration board probably won’t let her have one, otherwise.

Editor’s note:  Worn tires, slick country roads, a dangerous combination.

I’m wondering what I’m going to do for gas when I get home?  I’ll want to do a little getting around when I get home, as it’s been so long.  I guess a person can always manage as long as there’s any tractor gas, if you know what I mean.  I’d sure like to get home in time to help a little bit in corn planting.  A person never knows for sure, though.  In ’42, I got to help sow beans and that’s the last time I got to do anything like that.

From the news broadcast, it sounds like some of these younger farm boys that so far have been deferred, are gong to have to change from overalls to uniforms.  Well, I can’t see that it’ll hurt them to do some of it, too, rather than let us older ones do it all.  That’s going to hit kind of hard around home, I’m afraid, as there are several boys below thirty.  Let’s see, there’s Burns, Leach, Woods, Chism, and probably several more that I can’t think of at the present.  Families sure aren’t keeping them out.

Editor’s note:  Dad frequently compared his situation to boys at home that had escaped conscription.  Was it just his bad luck and their good fortune?

Well, I’ll close for tonight, I guess, as I want to write to Dorothy yet, before bedtime.  It seems like bedtime is here before one knows it.  I hope you are well.

I received your letters of Dec. 25th and Jan. 1st.  From what you said, you did have a white Christmas and also a white New Year’s Day.  I’m glad that you finally got my letters before Christmas.  I got two of my Boxes before Christmas and two more shortly afterward.  Charles Clements didn’t have to go back overseas, then, after his furlough.  I heard somewhere that Ammie Zimmerman died last fall.

I was wondering what Clarence Dowland is doing now?  I wonder who Bill [Rigsbey] will get on his place, now that Floyd’s gone?

Finis [Wade] is eligible for a pension, isn’t he?  Along with the work he gets, he should be able to get along.

It seems that the war is starting to take its toll from Chesterfield.

The 14 states and regions of Burma
The 14 states and regions of Burma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bud Scott (Russell) must be around here somewhere.  If I knew his address, I could probably find out his whereabouts.  He could probably be close around and I’d never know it.  Yes, It’s much nicer here than any place we’ve been located yet in this theatre.  We have a bigger and nicer camp with more conveniences.  It seem that the food is getting better.  We have more fresh meat now.  I’m not worried about the Japs.

Kallals seem to be having quite a time.

Your hens are doing good for this time of the year.  Eggs around here were so scarce that some of the fellows were paying 30 cents an egg for them.  They’ve dropped now to about $2.14 a dozen or 7 rupees in native money.  Lots of fellows buy them so they can have fresh eggs to eat.  I satisfy myself to eat the army grub, as I feel it’s too much to pay for extras.

Everything is going on as usual over here.  Camp life is getting more like garrison every day, in spite of the fact that we’re in a foreign country at war, and there’s plenty of work to do.  So long for now.

Jan. 30, 1945

I went a little over time in answering your letter this time because I was on the move again.  I’m still in Burma, though.  I’ve seen quite a little of Burma now, and I like it much better than India.  It seems that the country is more beautiful.  There is plenty of jungle in Burma, but I’ve seen more open country here, than in India.  I guess it just happened that I was in those parts.

I hate this moving, because there’s so much hard work to it, and then a person is always unsettled.  That’s the army for you, though.

Well, the one month of the new year is almost gone.  The Germans seem to be coming out on a limb right now.  I sure hope it’s over before long.  Maybe then, I’ll have more of a chance of staying home next time.  After 3 1/2 years, this is getting old.  Whoever said a year wouldn’t be long was altogether wrong.  It’s been the longest year I ever spent.

It looks like you’ve been having plenty of winter this time.  Dorothy said it has been the toughest she’s had to get back and forth to school.  I guess it is better for the cattle when it stays cold as it doesn’t get muddy.  I sure hope you do good on the cattle this year as it’ll be the last time you’ll be able to feed as large a bunch.

I guess it was the right thing to do to sell the horses if they were eating their heads off.  Is the team of old white mules all you have in the horse line now?  Whatever happened to old Joe.

Well, I’m still figuring on coming home this summer.  I don’t know yet whether it’ll be on schedule or a month or so later.  I think I’ll still make it, though before winter starts again.  I sure hope so.

Its getting chilly here as we haven’t any stoves and I guess I’ll have to go to bed to keep warm.  I have a light rigged up so I can read in bed.  That’s a good deal.

I hope you are all well.  I’m fine, considering this climate for 24 months.

Feb. 3, 1945

I received your birthday card on a very appropriate day–on my birthday.  All the celebrating I did was to go on guard that night.  That’s my fourth birthday now, in the service.

Dorothy has some snap shots of me that were taken during the summer.  I sent her the negatives and thought she would give you a print from them.  Not having a camera or film myself, I couldn’t get many pictures.  If I’d had them I sure could have gotten lots of interesting pictures from over here.

I’m glad that you don’t have to do much more than chores this winter.  It should be sort of a change and rest not to have to worry about the other place.

It looks like Pete Burns has stalled off now until he’s above the age bracket where the army doesn’t need him.  I think that’s a dirty trick, since his brother has to go and has a family.  Some people, though don’t have any conscience when it comes to saving their own skin.

Our morale has gone up recently as several of the boys from around here that came over at the same time have gone home and others are leaving shortly.  So, if everything worked out like it looks like it’s going to, I’ll get home in the spring.  That makes me feel more hopeful as I was beginning to feel sort of doubtful about it.  I had known some to be over here as long as thirty months.going my way, bing crosby

We are being entertained tonight by music from our amplified phonograph.  We have a handy radio man who rigged it up.  A record sounds like it’s coming from the radio.  It helps cheer up the lonesome evenings over here.

As I sit here and smoke my pipe, I can just see the two of you sitting in the living room reading.  It’s funny after being away from home awhile, a person can visualize those old familiar scenes just like it was only yesterday.  I think I’m going to be a home loving body from now on.  I’ll have to close for this time.

Feb. 11, 1945

Here it is the 11th already.  Seems like the time sure flies now, that I’m so busy.  I have this afternoon off, it being Sunday, and I get the afternoon off one time and the morning the next.  We even sometimes have to work at night if necessity calls for it.  So a half day off is quite welcome.

I received your letter of the 21st of January this week.  I’m surprised to hear that Uncle Elbert [Clements] is working in Hawaii.  I’m glad he likes it.  Maybe he’ll get a new lease on life now.  Lots of the fellows that have been in Hawaii have liked it.  It sure must be nicer than the country over here.

It seems hard to realize that Harold Clements is old enough to be out of high school.  He and some other kid is the same age.  I can’t remember who it is, unless it’s Val Adam Jr.

It certainly be fine, if I could get located in the States, but I haven’t much hopes of it until after the war with Germany is finished.  The present system has been to give the boys a 21 day furlough at home and then ship them to another theater.  It’s beginning to look like I’m just going to be an old army man.  If I’d started out when I was eighteen, I’d have some time in by now.  It wouldn’t have been so hard to take either, then.  I sure don’t intend to stay in any longer than necessary.  Even at that, it’s going to be kind of late to get a fresh start in life, especially if I have to pile up two more years overseas after this.  I sure hope that I get to a better theater than this has been.  Another two years, like the last two, would about drive a person nuts.

You have the wrong slant on an only child being held in the States for the duration.  That is in the event that one or more sons have been killed in action and in order to spare the last son; he’s either left in the States or sent to a theater where there’s no action.

Well, we got our weekly roundup this afternoon, so I guess I’ll sign off and read the news in it.

Hope you are all well.

P. S.  I’m sending some Chinese folding money.

Chinese Gold Unit Note (Front)Chinese money

Feb 18, 1945

Here it is Sunday morning and my morning off.  Next Sunday I’ll have the afternoon off and Russell Scott is supposed to come pay me a visit then.  I guess I didn’t tell you that the other day, I got a letter from Carl Getz and he gave me Russell’s address.  From the address I know of an outfit of that number.  The first person I saw from that outfit, I inquired if there was a Scott there, and he said, sure, he knew him.  He said he’d bring him down the first opportunity.  One morning a couple of days later, Russell walks in and we shake hands.  I was so busy, that we had to talk in between times, except finding a date for him to come down next Sunday afternoon when I’m off.  It seems he had something to interfere with his coming this morning.

It seems good to see someone from around home after all this time.  Of course, he looks like another GI, but he’s still someone I knew before I knew the army.  I sure wish I could see Gene Parker before coming home.  There’s not much chance of doing that, though, unless I could happen to make a trip into China and he’d happen to be at the right place at the right time.

It’s sure cool here in the barracks here this morning.  the sun outside is nice and warm.  This is about the coldest place I ever slept in, I believe.  It’s so big and there’s nothing but mosquito net around sounds [?] and the damp air comes right in.  I use all my blankets, sleep with my pants, socks and heavy undershirt on to keep warm.  During the day after the sun gets up a person starts peeling off, and if he’s right out in the sun, he peels right off to the skin.  The temperature doesn’t get low enough to freeze (in fact I haven’t seen any freezing weather since I left home), but the air is so damp when the sun is not shining.  I much prefer actual cold weather.  A person can wear enough clothes to keep warm then.

It seems the Nixon family, including the in-laws (some of them), have managed to escape the realities of war.  Maybe it’s all right to keep out of it, if you’re smart enough, but it’ll never look right to me.  In some ways, I wish I would start out fresh in some new community, as I’ll always be more or less of an outsider.  There seems to be plenty around home that have avoided being called and there’ll always be friction between the ex-servicemen and the others.

It sounds like your hens are doing all right regardless of the cold weather.  I’d sure like to have some of those fresh eggs to eat.

About my pictures, I was quite a bit thinner then than now, because it was hot weather and I always lose weight then.  Of course, the fellow standing next to me is a 200 pounder, and is a little bit larger than I.  That fellow is Fred Bratton, the fellow that Dorothy and I went to see the Sunday after we were married.  We’ve been together now for three years and he’s about the closest buddy I guess I’ve ever had.

We’ve been through a lot together.  I get Christmas and letters from his folks.  You couldn’t find any nicer people.

You are mistaken about the mustache being gone.  I still have it and have shaved it off only once in over three years, and that was when on maneuvers, and then I let it grow right back out.  Anymore it seems as much a part of me as an eyebrow.  I’d feel naked without it.  the Jap flag was a borrowed one.  The rifle is a Jap one, that Fred acquired.

Fred Bratton & Clyde with captured Japanese battle flag and Rifle (2)Fred Bratton [left] and Dad with Japanese rifle & flag

I think I’ll go to church after a while.  It’s quite a little ride from here.  It’s held in a stone chapel that was spared from the war except for one end, a few window glasses, and the roof.  the roof has been covered over with tarp.  Another church not so far from it was pretty well shot up.  There isn’t much left of the rest of the town, as it was really blown up.

Editor’s note:  The previous paragraph was Dad’s first mention of war destruction.

Well. I’ll have to close for now.  I hope you are well.

Feb 24, 1945

I received your letter of Feb. 4th a couple of days ago.  I did pretty good this week on letters.  In all, I heard from Dorothy, Gene Parker, Viola Bigelow, and Helen Barnett.

Helen wrote a V-letter, and didn’t say much, except she said that Carla was a big girl now, and was two years old in November which makes a person realize how time flies.  Viola was in California in December during Christmas with Vincent.  She said it didn’t seem like Xmas as she went swimming at Long Beach.  I spent a couple of Christmases in California myself, so I know how it is.  Vincent is at Pearl Harbor now.

Gene said that he had talked to a fellow that had heard of my outfit.  I’m expecting to see Russell Scott tomorrow afternoon as he talked like he’d come to see me then.

I guess that’s about the first of my letters that was opened by the army examiner as I never heard about it.  I’ve only received one so far that was opened in the same way and that was almost two years ago.  It was one of Dorothy’s letters.  They spot check then and very seldom get the same person’s mail.

How old is Uncle Pres’s baby girl, now?  I’m sure getting behind the times.  I’m sorry to hear that Uncle Pres is selling off his cows.  If he doesn’t have feed for them thought it’s about all he can do I guess.  I wonder what kind of job he’s figuring on getting in St. Louis?  He’s getting sort of old for a job like that.  He’s sure had a tough time of trying to keep things together and raise a family.  It looks like I might be in the same boat as I’m getting such a late start.

Myrtle Rigsbey is sure having a tough time of it.

I didn’t know the Ida Lockyer was sick.  Edgar [local grocery store proprietor] must be having a tough time of it trying to run the store himself.  Everyone has their troubles, I guess.

Grandpa Adam [Great-Grandfather] must be getting pretty well up in his eighties by now.  This winter has been a tough one for old people as it’s been so cold.

Well , that’s about all I have to say this time, I guess.  I’m pretty busy nowadays.  Hope you are surviving the cold weather OK.

IT’S MY BLOG: For Right or Wrong

“To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers?  How do you balance that?  If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?”

My blog is a personal space for self-expression on a variety of topics.  Hopefully, if I strike the right chord, my posts come across creatively.  I blog about a variety of subjects near and dear to my heart.  My posts may not appeal to everyone.

Recently, I started a series of posts about a single subject.  I debated about starting a second blog, just for that particular subject, but decided against it.  Because topic limitation could stifle my creativity.  I’m not pimping myself out, just to gain readership.  As far as I’m concerned, all topics are fair game–with a couple of exceptions.

You will not find posts expressing political or religious views.  It’s my personal choice to keep these matters private.  I don’t believe these topics ever change opinions–only further polarize and divide.  My time will be better spent finding areas of commonality.

Sometimes I’m frustrated by blogging and have to back off and refocus.  I’m older and wasn’t born with a personal digital device in my hand.  In comparison to younger folks, I’m just a trained monkey in the digital world.  I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and it’s still fun.  About magic formulas to blogging success, I think everybody’s different.  We’ve come down different roads to get where we are going.  To my followers and everyone, come with me down the “road less travelled,” buckle up and enjoy the ride.



live oak arches Live Oaks
Arched, nearly
Touched, over
Shaded roadway
Draped with
Shawls of
Spanish moss

Passed by
Creole houses
With wide, inviting
Porches, supported
By white columns
At the end, of
Shaded driveways

Thoughts entered
The deep south
As far, as
One could go
An open invitation
As life slowed, to
A gentler pace

Brought back
Memories of
Friendships, that
Lasted, hospitality
Warm, as the
Humid summer
Days, in old
Magnolia Springs

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 19, Cherry Pie Dreams, Christmas Venison

Nov. 27, 1944

I received your letter of Nov. 6th. It’s getting hard to find time for my correspondence.  I usually write your letters on Sunday if I have one to answer, but this time I just couldn’t squeeze yours in as I had some laundry to do after supper.

I’ll bet the old ears of corn are really bumping into the wagons back there now, unless everyone is finished shucking corn and I doubt it very much.  I imagine that you folks have yours about finished though.

It sounds good to hear someone talk of canning fruit.  We get canned fruit, but no near as much as I could eat, especially during hot weather when I don’t eat so much of other things.  Our usual fruit diet is pineapple, fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, apple sauce or apple pie and occasionally cherry pie.  I hope you have some cherries all canned just waiting to be made into a nice, luscious pie.  I have hopes of eating some of those home cooked pies before too many more months.

cherry pieFreshly baked cherry pie

I never did learn to eat sweet potatoes.  They have them once in a while for chow.  Neither can I go for these dehydrated spuds.  This dehydrating process is a failure as far as I am concerned.  I’ll take my food prepared the old-fashioned way.  It’s possible I might get to eat some of that beef.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had any good corn-fed beef.  I sure wish that I could have seen the twins [calves].  I’ll bet they were cute.

Your hens are making a few dollars for you now.  Forty three cents a dozen sounds better that twenty.

I guess Uncle George hates giving up the place.  He’ll sure miss the farm chores although, I guess Aunt Minnie will find enough for him to run him ragged.  Next summer they’ll probably take care of all the neighbor’s gardens.

Dorothy said that she took the kids out to the Pitman sale for dinner.

I’m surprised to hear that Floyd and Nellie [Rigsbey] are moving off Bill’s place.  I’ll bet that Bill is upset.  I suppose they wanted a better way out.  Is little Bill old enough to go to school already?  Maybe they’re just getting set.  What’s Clarence Dowland doing now?  I heard that Myrtle was in the hospital.  She was always so healthy looking and full of pep.

Yes, I voted, but I don’t know whether it was legal or not, as one of the fellows from Chicago got his ballot back today.  I sent mine to the county clerk,so that may make a difference.  Anyway, I tried.

I had a surprise today in a letter from Ab [Albert] Wilson.  He was in Belgium when he wrote it.  He didn’t say anything about anything there, but just inquired about Dorothy and old times together that we naturally think of while we are far away from home.  I had written him a letter and he got it while he was still in England.  He seems to be getting around quite a bit.  In that respect he’s doing better than I.

I’m expecting some of my Christmas packages any day now, as some of the fellows have received theirs already.

It’s getting close to bedtime, which seems to roll around awfully fast.  So, I’ll have to close for this time.  I’m well and hope you are both the same.

V-Mail Christmas Card to Mom from Burma 1844Dad’s V-Mail Christmas card to Mom

Dec. 4, 1944

I received your Christmas card and your letter of Nov. 14th.  I wrote a letter to Gene Parker using the address you sent me.  I also heard from Ab Wilson last week and I answered his letter.  He was in Belgium when he wrote the letter.  He didn’t say much about anything over there, but just talked about old times and discussed some of the fellows in the service.

Editor’s note:  Ab [Albert] Wilson, was Mom’s cousin.  When we visited the Wilson farm as a child, the place seemed beset by tragedy.  His father, Bruce Wilson, passed away, leaving his mother a widow.  Ab Wilson returned from duty in Europe after the war, lived with his mother, never seemed to make a go at anything.  The house and farm slowly deteriorated, until their deaths.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve been having nice fall weather.  That should give the farmers a chance to get their corn out of the field.  I suppose when the weather does break, it’ll really be rough.  How’s Mr. Kallal getting along?  Ed mush be having a time trying to keep things going.

I’ll bet that it looks quite a bit different around the house there now, with those trees cut out.  I imagine it does make it quite a bit lighter inside the house.

You don’t need to worry, as I’m still interested in farming and intend to do some of if I ever get out of the army.  Even if I should get out during the middle of a year, I imagine that I could find plenty of work to do to keep me going until the following spring when I could rent me a farm.

I expect I’ll need plenty of help when I first start in for myself because it’s been so long ow that I’ve probably forgotten a lot of things and I can use some advice on a few things.

It looks now like I’ll get home for a furlough sometime the fore part of the year.  If things don’t change a lot between now and then, I’ll probably have to go over for another two years.  That part I hate to think of.

I haven’t heard from Dorothy yet, since she received the flowers.  I’ve been expecting to hear of it.  I received an anniversary card which was awfully sweet.  (Of course I’d think so).  From your description, it sounds like what you ordered should have been a nice bouquet.

Dorothy told me she wore glasses now.  She kept talking about that she thought she needed them and I told her by all means get them, it she needed them, because a person should take care of their eyes when they’re young.  I have to depend on my glasses all the time now.  My eyes bother me too much if I don’t wear them.

It sounds like the horses you’re working must be awfully cagey.  I’ll never forget the time the old gray and black mares of Uncle George’s ran away with me one fall when I was shucking corn.  I was lucky to not break anything.  You should have a nice lot of corn if you haul from the other place.

I hope you’ll excuse my scribbling this letter as I’m writing it rather hurriedly in order to get it done before bedtime  We had a meeting tonight and after that, I had a chance to get my haircut.  Barbers are hard to find over here at the present–anyway, the tools are the scarcest.  I certainly needed a haircut as the hair was growing down my tail bone–as you used to say.

Hope to hear from you again soon.

Dec. 10, 1944

This is a nice peaceful Sunday morning.  We get Sunday mornings off instead of afternoons.  A person can sleep now all morning if he wants to, but I’d rather get up as there is always something or other i have to do.  I was on KP yesterday and I had enough time to wash out some things.  We can hire our laundry done by some natives, but if a person has them wash everything, it doesn’t pay.  It runs into too much money.  They don’t do a very good job on white clothes and often times lose handkerchiefs and socks.  Consequently, I wash out the socks and handkerchiefs and sometimes shorts myself, and let them wash coveralls, shirts and pants that are dirtier.

I got Christmas cards from Aunt Catherine and Aunt Mary T. [Trill] this week.  Uncle John and Aunt Catherine are in Jefferson City, Mo. now as the card was postmarked such.

I received your letter of Nov. 19th this week.  So Clyde Lee is a baker now?  I had the impression that he was a supply sgt.  I don’t know why I thought that, except for what someone said in a letter.  It seems that store clerks turn out to be cooks when they get in the army.

It seems strange for some of these young guys to be getting married, but they’re getting at the age now where they do such things.  Howard, Bob Kallal, & Peachy [Edwin] Leach will be 24 their next birthday.  They are six years younger than I, and that’s hard for me to realize that age is creeping up on me.

I’m glad to hear that you almost finished with the work.  I guess it’s been a good fall to get things done.

It sounds like there are going to be lots of farms for rent next spring.  I wonder where they are going to find renters for them?  It looks to me like all the farmers now have all they can handle without taking on any more.  If i get home next spring on furlough, I wonder what chance I’ll have of working my way out of the army, and back on the farm.  It looks to me like, they are going to have to let some of the men out to take up the farming that the older men are retiring from.  If they don’t, they are going to have lots of farms laying idle pretty soon.

Editor’s note:  Farming wasn’t mechanized, it was still labor intensive.  Draft animals were widely used.  It was no wonder those on the home front felt the additional strain.

Olin Trill has quit Uncle Pete to start trapping.  Some people don’t realize that there is a war going on.  Some day though they are liable to realize it, especially if it lasts another two or three years, which it looks like it might do.  Uncle Pete is going to have his hands full, looks like.  If he should have a sick spell again, he would be up against it.

P. S. Dorothy went wild over the roses.  Thanks a million.

rose bouquet

Dec. 17, 1944

Her it is Sunday morning again and is a nice day as usual this season of the year.  I just got back from church service which we had in our mess hall.  It is the first time I’ve gone since I’ve been up here.  It’s the first time we’ve had church in our own area.  I should be able to make it every Sunday now.

I received your letter of Nov 27th in yesterday’s mail.  John Flowers is the first loss of the men in the service from right around home, I guess, as I’ve never heard of any others so far.  I’m sorry you don’t hear from me regular.  I write every week.  I’ve been hearing from you weekly now for quite a while.  I’ve gotten several letters from Dorothy this week, but for about two weeks before, I only got one letter and a card from her.

I got a Christmas card from Aunt Katherine and Uncle John.  I also got cards this week from the Hounsleys (both) Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Wilson [Ab Wilson’s parents] (they attached a note saying it was about time I was coming home), and from Aunt Mary Trill.

Dorothy sent me the picture this week of you two standing by the new brooder house.  She said that she had sent it to me several months ago, but I guess the letter got lost as I never received it.  So she sent me another, and this time I got it.  It looks like quite a fancy brooder house.  You both look about the same.  Mom, you’re not getting any thinner and you, Dad aren’t getting any fatter.  Ha!


Grandma’s new brooder house

You are probably having genuine winter weather now.  I wonder if you’ll have a white Christmas this year?  Yo;u should have the cribs bulging with corn now.  Is Uncle Val buying corn for Dowland?

I’m glad that you got to go to a nice turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.  It would have been kind of lonesome if you’d had to stay at home.  I hope that I can be home next year at that time.

It seems strange to think of Ed Kallal as a family man, but I guess it happens sooner or later to everybody.

If Uncle George moves the brooder house to town, the next thing they’ll start raising chickens again.  Aunt Minnie will find some excuse to do it.

We just had mail call, but I didn’t get anything today.  I can’t be fortunate every day and get mail though.  Mail call is one of the most important events of the day over here.

I’m sure getting homesick.  I have high hopes of getting back there in the spring.  That’s the best time of year to get back there, only I believe I’d be satisfied to go anytime.

It’ll be chow time in about forty minutes and I’m sure hungry.  I could sure go some nice fried chicken with cherry pie for dessert.  A nice juicy steak would sure taste good.  I don’t know what there is for chow, but it sure smelled good while ago when I walked by the kitchen.

So long for this time.

Dec. 25, 1944

Merry Christmas!  It is almost over for another year.  I started out the day with sunrise church service.  Then I had lb reakfast and worked till noon.  I had the afternoon off.

I did pretty good today on mail.  I got four letters and five cards inclluding your card and letter.  I had cards from all three Horn girls and one from Kallals.  It made me feel full of the Christmas spirit.

We had Deer meat for dinner that some of the boys killed while out hunting.  Tonight we had canned chicken and ham which sure tasted good.

According to reports, you must be having a white Christmas back there along with some cold weather.

I’m glad to hear that you got your standing corn out of the field before bad weather started.  It sounds like you are gong to have everything full of corn by the time you are through with the shock corn.  That’s what looks good on the farm though–all the cribs full of golden corn.

Stock cattle must be awfully high now.  It’s going to be sort of a gamble unless the price holds up good in the spring.  Your hogs should bring a few dollars when you sell them.  I guess you’ve bought corn to feed them.

You say you have four horses and mules to feed.  Do you mean you have two horses and two mules or four horses and two mules?  I didn’t know you had any mules.  I hope that you can hang onto four of the best ones until I get home in the spring (which I hope to do) and find what I can do, or whether I’ll have to go overseas again.  I’m hoping that I can get out of the army and take up at home where I left off.

I’m in good health and am sweating out the remainder of my time over here.

Write often.

PS:  I don’t remember whether I told you or not that I received your package and thanks a lot.  I got one from the farm bureau since.

Jan. 1, 1945

Here it is a brand new year.  I have high expectations of this year.  I’m planning on doing something that I haven’t done in over two years and that is coming home.

I didn’t get a letter since your card and letter.  I postponed writing this a day, thinking maybe that a letter would come today, but decided I’d write anyway.  I try to get off at least one letter a week and more if I happen to recieve another letter in the meantime.

Tonight is show night, but I didn’t go tonight as I’d seen the picture already.  I see quite a few shows just to pass the time.

There is a show somewhere around almost every night.

From reports and letters from back there, you must be having real winter weather now.  I read reports of a blizzad htat swept across form the east coast and caused some damage.  It must be like one of the winters we had befor I came in the army when a big snow came awhile beore Christmas and the weather stayed cold and there was at least a month that the snow never melted off.

I’d sure like to see a winter through back home like that again, although it is awfully inconvenient to do farm chores.  It’d be nice though just to be there.

Since I’m figuring rather strong on being home in the spring or early summer, I’ve been wondering what chances I would have in getting out of the army and getting settled back on the farm.  I know that I can’t find out anything until I get back there, but I want to have the stage all set so that I can go into action immediately after I hit the States.  I won’t have any time to lose, because in some cases, the boys are being whisked right back overseas immediately after getting their furloughs.

What I want you to do is to find out if anything can be done about it.  Maybe the Farm Bureau could advise you.  As soon as I hit a camp back there, I’m gong to see someone that can advise me and see what they advise.  I can’t see coming back overseas for another two years, and then if the war is over having to figure on starting out on my own.  By that time, I would have in six years of service and I certainly don’t want to make a career of it.  It doesn’t seem right that some should have to devote all their time while others don’t devote any of it to the service.

Things are the same as ever over here.  There’s nothing new that I can tell you.  I hope that you are surviving the winter weather in good shape.

Editor’s note:  When was the war going to end?  Every soldier wanted the answer, nobody with a lick of sense was going to ask.  Soldiers didn’t call attention to themselves.  The army did what was convenient for the army.  Excessive griping would be met swiftly with extra duty, or gems of wisdom, “Don’t like it?”  “Then, go to the chaplain and have your TS, (tough s**t), card punched!”  It was better to keep quiet, hope the war ended sooner, rather than later.  Letters home were Dad’s only sounding board.


Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone else being embarrassed?  What’s most likely to make you squirm?

check out line 2

While standing in a checking line in a supermarket or big-box store, someone ahead discovers they don’t have enough money to pay for all the items.  Was it absent-mindedness or someone scraping together every penny to survive?  They’re embarrassed, and make the painstaking decision on what is essential and what to leave.  Occasionally, embarrassment takes over, and all items are left.

When watching married couples having down-and-dirty arguments in public places.  Personal details are brought out that never should see the light of day.  Their young children, with blank expressions on their faces sit and wait.  I cringe, because this is the way they think things are supposed to be.

I feel sorry for the poor, usually teenage, store clerk or wait staff person, berated abusively for some insignificant minor detail blown out of proportion by some adult power-tripping lowlife customer.  I’m also embarassed for employees chewed out in front of customers by their supervisors.  It shows a complete lack of class.