Uniquely Random Memories from the Middle East Continued (Goddamn it, but Sheryl rocks me whurl) Scroll down.

“We made love in that birdhouse after sundown. And with the door open. And why not? We were young. (And we had all that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ bullshit to boot)”

Thus ended my last ‘serious’ transmission regarding my recently orphaned series, bits of which may be found here  here  here  here…

WordPress is not Facebook and I would do well to remember this, yet if memory serves, the above is indeed how I did in fact, end my last sober transmission regarding this never-ending (Insha’Allah) story I still call without shame or sham, My Life.

Guess what Friends.  I am gonna end it now. Hang onto yer butts.

All true, but I have a tendency to grow bored with my own writing and this does not bode well, well…

I have just recently been returned from my Sabbatical, (kicking and screaming) which was spent in some dark happy place looking for answers. Finding none, save one, I have returned to these pages more or less now unobstructed and with fresh thoughts unobscured.

“Whatever does he mean, “Unobstructed”? “Hey Y’all! Come look he’ah! Lance done lost his mind!” (a-gin)

Means, Dear Readers that I am just gonna tell “THE TRUTH” from now on. Not that I have not ‘til now been telling same but, now I am gonna tell the Whole Truth, because by omission, I have been lying.

No Sugar, no mas.

This I gleaned from my Sabbatical. “So thanks Sabra. And thanks for the lobotomy, and gee! That shock therapy was da bomb!”

Stay tuned…

Oh! And to tie up that last loose end:

Janet and I spent a wonderful day or two at Sharm, then went back to SFM and carried on. Things kinda went to shit after that… for a spell.

But then we got married and it was all copacetic–For about two hours.

Yes it was on our honeymoon and we got into an argument and ended up after the ceremony un-ceremoniously sailing our newly purchased and vowed-upon wedding rings off the balcony of the Sheraton Hotel, (tenth floor) gleefully watching them bounce on the sand in front of the Mediterranean Sea, to wait there for some intrepid happy beach comber to later discover and claim ‘pirate treasure’ no doubt from Sodom and Gomorrah… (Yes, American tourists are stupid)

After we had ‘dissolved’ our new marriage in that ancient simple way,  we went back to drinking and fucking, and for some I suppose that is what one could call a decent marriage, at least in the early stages.

And honestly, I think that is all way too much information about my time spent with her and Moses in Sinai and in the ‘Rest-of-the-Holy-Land.’

But perhaps not.

(See? I am sharing “deep thoughts” here) with you thanks to my newly ended Sabbatical. Now don’t you feel ‘very unique’? (Ed. Note: I HATE that! There are no degrees of ‘unique’. You can look it up)

If ya wanna…

 Addendum:

I really don’t want to write about Janet but… damn it! She is such a wonderful, truly true, truly colorful, truly unique, one-hundred-and-one pounds of fun character, especially after we arrived in Nacogdoches Texas and began our ‘unique’ married life.

We are all, all of us, ‘very unique individuals’.

Ain’t we?

Or aren’t we all just deluding our own unique selves?

Probably will be continued when They let me out again for ‘Social Time’

mscientist 

And Finally I leave you with a good Sunday Morning Song. We used to sing this as we ran in formation to chow when I was in BUD/s Class 158. Can you imagine? Probably not.

Video Credit: 

 tnDianna

Now I sing this every morning… in the shower… with the hot water… so no one will ever hear…

Vid credit? I suppose Sheryl…

And the final finally, I leave Y’all with the most perfect’est Sunday Morning Song:

(Yeah! Sheryl is a sxy Goddess. Ain’t she?!)

Video Credit: Public Domain (I hope)

Random Memories from The Middle East: The Road to Sharm el Sheikh

Parts  One  Two  Three  

*** 

I sped off still heading south. I observed her fade fast in my rearview mirror, but not before I saw her mouth hanging open in wide disbelief (As if I were actually calling her bluff). After about a half-mile and her no longer in sight, I stopped, opened a beer, popped in a Joni Mitchell–Hejira–cranked it up, lit a Marlboro and waited.

Presently I could make out her petite form marching through the sandy haze, her skinny arms flailing back and forth, not unlike a power-walker. As I watched her approach I snuffed out my second cigarette, tossed the empty beer bottle onto the back floorboard, turned down the volume on Joni’s Black Crow, and waited to see if she was getting back in the car.

She opened the door, threw herself in and off we drove, not saying a word until we got within about five clicks of Sharm el Sheikh. Her face was dirty with trails of sweat running down, making small rivers of mud, her hair windblown and looking to have absorbed quite some substantial part of the Sinai.

She did not look happy.

“Are you sorry?” she finally blurted out.

“Sorry? Sorry for what?”

“Sorry for being an asshole,” she said.

“Oh, that… What!?” I was genuinely confused.

“For refusing to have sex with me this morning after that Israeli dude left.”

Now I am laughing. She wasn’t.

“Are you fucking serious Janet?” I asked after I had regained some composure. “You heard the man. We had to vacate. Did you think I was in the mood for love? With the IDF watching us? Shit Woman! It was time to go.”

“There was time enough… in the tent,” she said somewhat between clenched teeth and somewhat subdued—at the same time—a talent she had perfected over some years. (Ed. Note: Janet had five years on me)

“You are unbelievable. Okay, ‘I’m sorry for not fucking you’. Gimme another go? Right here. Right now. In this fuckin’ heat and in this fuckin’ sardine can of a car? Or would you prefer it on the burning sand with the scorpions and spiders?! For Chrissake Janet!”

“There was a time when you’d never refuse me, no matter where or what,” she said and then clammed up, starring out the window.

Fine! I thought as I gave the volume back up to Joni.

Just on the outskirts of Sharm (The whole Sinai Pennisula was ‘Outskirts’) we came upon a Bedioun ‘roadside do drop in’ sort of place.

“Hey Janet! Let’s check this out.”

“Can’t we just go in to Sharm?”

“No. I wanna talk to these folks. Besides they may have some stuff we need.”

“Fine.” (And then someday too soon, this woman would be my wife…)

I parked the car and got out. Janet cleaned her sunglasses and remained behind. I walked up to the ramshackle place and was greeted by an old grizzled Bedouin.

“Salaam alaikum,” I said.

“Salaam alaikum,” he said back. Then, “Amer-ca?”

“Yes,” said. “English? Speak?”

“La’, (no)

(I spoke just enough Arabic (and Hebrew) to get me into trouble back then.)

“Sodas? Coke-a-cola?” I asked.

“Naam,” 

“OK. Baksheesh?”

“Naam.”

I gave him a pack of Marlboros. He gave me two cokes. Apparently inflation had set in here. I smiled though and shook his hand, happy to have made some cultural advancement. Jimmy Carter shoulda seen me that day. Got back in the car. Janet, still incogneto, remarked,

“Was that worth it?”

“Yes. It was. Thank you. We are reps of the State Department. WE are suppose to be ambassadors. Don’t you git it?’

“Yeah. I ‘git’ it. I get that I want this trip to end soon. I am tired and hot and sweaty and thirsty and hungry and horny. And I see no end in sight for me.”

We drove on into Sharm.

As I have reported, Sharm back then was not much. There was one hotel, but who had money (or desire) for that? It had a tentative look about it anyhow. This was ‘Israeli-Occupied Egypt’ after all and finding investors to pump money into a region, however beautiful, must have been difficult, given the  volatility of the times and the probability that Israel would eventually give the desert back to Egypt (even though Israel had ‘held’ the Sinai for more than ten years at this point)

Past the hotel was a small ‘camping ground’ of sorts. There were ‘bird houses’ for rent: ten bucks per night and a communal shower/latrine area. I say ‘bird houses’, because that is exactly what they resembled: Thatched roof, two wooden ‘bunks’ side-by-side, and too small for a six-foot-one cowboy to sleep on. I lay down and test-drove one. I discovered that by leaving the door open I could be fine with the sleeping arrangements, letting my feet hang out, though if Janet and I were to have some privacy for any ‘Woo-Hoo’ / ‘Whoopee’, we would have to pretend we were in the back seat of a compact car and make due. (Unless we opted to keep the door open: an option my shyness would never allow me to consider)

At this point I must admit Janet was always a trooper during such times. She was of course a soldier, albeit a weekend one, and had previous experience with less-than-pristine habiliments. After we had decided to spend the night at this place, taken our showers, had some drink and sandwiches, her mood (and mine) improved as the sun went down and the heat subsided. Behind us were the mountains. In front of us, the sea, and ahead of us, our future.

We were after all, two lovebirds deep in love and in our own private birdhouse.

We made love in that birdhouse after sundown.

And with the door open.

And why not?

We were young.

(And we had all that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’  bullshit to boot)

*****

I love Joni’s smile. She don’t smile often, but when she does… magical shit happens. Shoots bolts right through my heart Baby!

To Be Continued…

They Say It’s Your Birthday (and please read/watch this one) It may be my swan

Happy Fucking B’Day to me. Blow out the candle and hand me my scotch. I was born two months weeks, three or four, before Sputnik, ’57.

This makes me special. Real fucking special. I should have slapped my mama and moved to Moscow. Below taken from an email. I do hope I deacted, redacted, crossed out… Her name. If not. I gots beeeg trouble. Here goes:

“Oh fucking K. Four weeks and change B4 Spuds (Spittering Nic) MacKenzie….Math ain’t my thing. Never bin my thang. Shit! I was two weeks old. Gimme a fucking break.
On Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 11:15 AM Lance Marcom <lancemarcom781@gmail.com> wrote:
Do NOT neglect the Linda at the end.On Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 11:13 AM Lance Marcom <lancemarcom781@gmail.com> wrote:
“They say it’s Lance Marcom’s B’day. Les go burn down his house.”

“He ain’t got no house.”

“OK, let’s just burn him.”

“He is scary.”

“Doan wanna get that close.”

“Good pint. We can burn something else.”

Tomorrow I embrace my Sixty-Third Year.

So what?

I find me asking me of late:

“So… Lance, what have you done?

Vid Credit:

johnlennon

And ‘somewhat’ related: And…Talia Shire Will never, ever look so good. 

Again.

(That Beret! That Beret! Cabaret!) 

And of course, not without saying…

Joel Grey.

And Liza…

And Michael York.

And…

And… whatever happened to Jimmy Buffett’s hair??? (I did read his book, “a pirate looks at forty” fifty, sixty??. did not glean anything from it ‘cept that he loves ‘boat-planes’– shit! I could have ‘wrote’ a better book. Jes sayin’…)

My tweet (if I ever tweet) to Jimmy:

Dude, stick to music. That is what you do best. Leave the prose to those who have some prose… to share. And no! I ain’t talking ’bout me, but in general speakin’…)

(See way below for the JB bits)

(and, yes:  Navy SEALs)

Picks up that conversation:

“Not too much,” I must confess.

“But surely you have touched some lives?”

“Yeah, but mostly in a bad way. I did my best in war zones. I was ‘The antithesis’ of the ‘Bad American.’ Other than that, nope.”

“Perhaps you are being too hard on yourself?”

“You really don’t know me, do you?”

“Well… no. Not exactly. This is just a job to me. Go on.”

“I’d rather not, but hey! Thanks for stopping by.”

“I suppose my ‘work’ here is done. Then?”

“Yeah. You may be excused.”

“Thanks, because I am late for my appointment with J-Law.”

Running In Soft Sand: Intro

“Happy Trails.”

“But you said one thing; got my attention: You said ‘torched’.

“Naw! I said ‘scorched’ There is some difference.”

Vid credit:HistoryRepeats01

And I leave Y’all with this. It fits:

Or, as Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) said, via ‘Gone With The Wind’:

“It just ain’t fittin'”

(She ‘won’ an Oscar for that. Ya surely know) And in her acceptance speech, she said, and I quote: “I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race.” Can you believe she actually felt compelled to say those words? Well, it was 1940… I suppose. 

Lance loves you Mammy (Hattie)

And look up the word ‘class’ in any dictionary. There you will find a photo of Katherine Hepburn.

Oops! I meant Bette Davis (shit! I cannot tell from the vid which one, Kate or Bette–HBO!–help a brother out here. Which one?) Personally, I am gonna go with Kate.   After further review, I am going with Bette.

“Just hold on and suck in.”

Vid Credit:

obxncpirate

 Yeah! I always pick the ‘raw’ video. Jus’ me, I suppose.

It was, in fact, my birthday.

Thanks for riding along.

For, there will be Nothing… Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

Nothing tomorrow.

Cheers. Beers. Jears. Tears.

L

Namaste Bit:

And if you find a plethora of parenthesis here…They are for my friend, SS and solely for her own edification.

If you care to dare, Here is her link:

But Be Brave

http://theshitshowthatismylife.com/about/

(I was)

Yet…she scares me…

And last and certainly not least….

“We’re gonna let you go.”

I guess “all of the above” rightly sums up my life.

Happy Birthday to me.

Bonus in Honor of 2021 Version of Me:

Streeeeeet Cred: skychurchify

Five Random Memories from my Three Years Spent in Israel, Egypt, Gaza, and Sinai

The music is the best part of this post.

Trust me: I’m with the Government.

My very first morning at the Tel Aviv Sheraton. I had a ‘raw fish’ breakfast buffet at zero five hundred. (And there were cucumbers, cheese, olives an’ shit too! Outrageous!) I had never had raw fish for breakfast until then. Cost me five bucks (a lot of money for breakfast in 1977 for a twenty-year-old-kid). I only gagged once and I drank a lot of orange juice, which was the only thing remotely resembling ‘breakfast’ to me. Well, “When in Rome…” I later discovered I could have had scrambled eggs and bacon down the street at the U.S. Embassy for a buck and a half…

My first R&R in November, 1977. I went to Tel Aviv for one week. This just also happened to be the same week Anwar Sadat made his historic visit to Israel and most important, to speak to the Knesset in Jerusalem. The Israelis actually fell in love with Sadat. I did too. Peace was in the air! Sadat was front page news every day in the Jerusalem Post. The atmosphere in downtown Tel Aviv every night was ‘Party Down!’ (Sadly, this could not last)

First Israeli Love. Her name was Gladys Lehani and she spoke French, English, Hebrew, and Lies. I was instantly enamored. She worked nights at the Tel Aviv Sheraton in the ‘Kum Kum’ Lounge, a bar. During the afternoons she was a cashier in the little lobby area of the hotel. A place where one could look out the huge windows at the Mediterranean, have a cocktail, read a book, and flirt with her. I spent many hours there doing all four.

Driving through Gaza. After I had been with SFM for some months, I was ‘promoted’ to driver (see this story). The most expeditious way to get to Tel Aviv was to drive straight through the Gaza Strip, so of course we did just that. Never felt any wisp of danger. Not once. Then one day someone threw a brick into the windshield of one of our vehicles. This prompted management (And S. State: Our ‘Client.’) to suspend all travel through Gaza.

Now let me tell you, this was bullshit. At that point in time we had been travelling through Gaza for many, many months. This was surely an isolated incident—“Just kids havin’ fun,”–to quote Croc Dundee. Hell! I had friends in Gaza. One in particular comes to mind. His name was Mohammad (go figure) and he ran the gas station where I would always fill up my vehicles when I passed through. We often shared gifts. I gave him American cigarettes and T-Shirts from Texas and he gave me various little Arabic statuettes and such. Once (on his request) I brought him a fifth of Jonnie Walker Red. I thought he was gonna adopt me over that!

The new route we were instructed to take took us through Beersheba and added two and a half hours to our travel time. This was unacceptable, so we (we drivers), ignored it, unless there were ‘uncool’, read, “USG” people riding along as passengers. Most of the rest were in a frantic rush to get to TA and did not want to waste one minute of their well-earned R&R over some State Department Bullshit, so I always conducted a poll before taking the turn off to Gaza: “Any of y’all got a problem with getting to TA in an hour via Gaza? Or do y’all wanna go through Beer’Sheba and get to TA four hours after yer girlfriends done give up on you?”

The usual response was something like this: “Marcom, I will risk Gaza, not ‘cause I am afraid my girlfriend will give up on me, but because I just can’t stan’ one extra minute of listening to your music!” (I had a boom box on the dash and ‘treated’ my passengers to four or five hours of continuous Bob Marley on my trips. I was famous for this. Sometimes I would throw in a little Joni Mitchell, if I were feeling benevolent on that day.)

The Orphan Benjamin. One night, I think it was in late ’78, I was staggering back to my hooch from our little bar. My walk took me through our game room: Two pool tables, a jukebox, shuffle board, ping pong… etc. Anyway, just by the exit door there was a table. On this table was a carton of Marlboro’s, a case of Heineken, a ‘doggie bag’ from the galley, and a one hundred dollar bill. Thinking nothing of it, I just kept on tacking toward my hooch, some fifty meters down the way… I woke up the next morning and instantly thought of all that unclaimed booty and for just an instant hoped that no one had stolen it.

We had a brother/sisterhood there in Sinai. I managed to drag my hung-over ass out of my rack and head in to breakfast in our galley. My trip took me past the table in question. Everything was just as it was the night before; waiting for the rightful owner to sober up and claim. If I had not already been in love with my Co-SFM’ers till then, I certainly was now. Two hundred folks at SFM, and nary a thief amongst us. I will never forget that minor little memory. It touched me deep.

And then I just went into breakfast. You see? This was not… ‘different’ then! Shit! Can’t explain. Won’t try.

You see? We had love. And respect.

***

I am thinking of continuing this series in light of the recent news from Israel and Gaza. Not saying that my experiences are relevant today, but I do feel the need to write them. Please let me know if you are interested to read of my times spent in the region.

Q&A: Have you ever been to The Middle East?

Do you live there?

Do you care? Have you ever had a desire to visit the ‘Holy Land’? (ahem). Do you find me abrasive? 😉

Do you know that I love all comments?

Salaam and Shalom,

Lance

Half-way to  Jerusalem

Vid Credit:

Käyttäjän leopahta kanava

Video Credit: andrew91118

Sinai Field Mission. Or The Story of How Lance Lost His Mind and Later Found it Ferreted Away in His Pocket

This Post is a Continuation of a Promise I made to Me (And to Y’all, Gentle Readers) to write about Sinai Field Mission. For brevity’s sake (The Soul of Wit), I am breaking it down into snippets. To catch the back story, actually the forward story, please go here:

“No Bare Feet Beyond This Point” (This is a ‘Re-Constructed Old Post.’ No Alcoholic Beverages Were Harmed, Nor Consumed While Operating The Requisite Heavy Machinery For The Successful Completion of This Project)

********************

Me and Boeing’s 747 partners: Wheels Down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv Israel late one afternoon, October 1977, just a couple of days before Halloween, found the Talmud. I mean tarmac. 

My final destination, however was not Judea; it  was The Sinai Desert, to live for eighteen months-plus on a mountain-top base camp, Dubbed ‘Caddo Mountain’, (In deference to the Texans who built it and ran it and to whom I would soon become a compadre) some shit-hole between the Gidi and Mitla Passes: Historically, the only two routes armies could pass from east to west or west to east across burning Sinai to thwack upon each other’s opponents’ heads.

I was 40 days leeward of twenty years and a little more than apprehensive. (These Two States, Egypt & Israel, were still technically, At War)

UNEF BUFFER Zone

I knew some of the history, but I couldn’t be bothered that day about ‘Ancient’ History (Yom Kippur War, Six-Day War, ‘Suez War’ of ‘56, Holocaust. Nope: I was here for ‘New History’, ‘My History’, ‘My Adventure’: A Dangerous Desolate Gig (my first). I had never been out of CONUS (Continental United States) before.

And I was stoked. A fresh-faced, bullet-proof Texan Kid newly escaped from Louisiana and cock-strong! Fuck did I care for Mid-East Politics? I am here! Step right up! Texas has arrived! “Step aside, Son!”

Gathering my luggage (my father’s old sea-bag left over from his USMC Korean War days) and a few other bags, laden with tennis shoes, workout gear, books and magazines… way too much superfluous shit, I scampered to find my liaison, struggling with all my kit.

Finding him, a tall, skinny, thin-haired, gaunt-faced, ‘Middle-East-Hardened’ Texan Veteran (four months here previous to me, I discovered later), man who spoke with an air of, ‘Oh, you’re the ‘New Kid’… Follow me’ he said laconically.

He looked an old thirty-five to me. (Later I found out he was twenty-nine, but we were all so young there. Back then.)

Ignoring his attitude, I tried very hard to ‘get into the groove.’ It was hellishly hot, even for an October—a Texas October. I had jet lag and fatigue like a pup that had been crated too long. Even though I was ‘stoked’, all I really wanted was a gallon of really cold orange juice, an air-conditioned hotel room, and a bed. The ‘plane ride’ from Dallas to Tel Aviv had robbed me of some (I thought) important part of my young life and my health. I was severely dehydrated, completely spent, and pretty much left wondering if I had made some horrible mistake.

But, I sucked it up.

After a hot and hotter and even hotter bizarre drive (The Road signs looked so foreign to me, some form of hieroglyphic—never having seen Hebrew before—had not at that point read the Old Testament) from Ben Gurion Airport, through the busy streets of Tel Aviv (me resisting the urge to ask, “Hey! are we there yet?”) we arrived at the Mediterranean Sea and the Sheraton Hotel.

My ‘liaison’ deposited me at the front desk of the ‘New’ Sheraton Hotel on HaYarkon Street Tel Aviv, telling me in parting,

“The R&R Vehicle leaves at 0800hrs; meet here in the lobby. Don’t be late. Goodbye.”

“Thanks Asshole.”

I checked in, and got me that room, such as it was. It was more a closet than a room, but it was cool and clean, and there was that bed tucked away in the corner…

I hit it, and slept like the dead.

To be continued…

Life Lesson Learned: Don’t Go Around Kicking Sinai Spiders (Uh, This One Ain’t No Re-Run. It be brand-spankin’ New)

Late one night after closing down our little bar at SFM, I began my ‘swaggering stagger’ back to my hooch.

Let’s say I was slightly inebriated.

No, let’s say I was drunk.

No, let’s say I was shit-faced.

In Sinai, when I was there, lived a lot of species of ‘interesting’ creatures. To name just a few:

Camels

Bedouins

UNEF Soldiers

Big Ass Scorpions

Big Ass Ants

Big Ass Flies

Big Ass Lizards

One (only one–that was all our allotment allowed) Ex-Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader–long story–I’ll get back to that one.

Texans, lots of

and…

Big Ass Spiders

“Sun Spiders”

(What we called them—my research—and more recent experiences, have informed me that these are actually called ‘Camel Spiders’) Made infamous by a photo-shopped photo of two of them held by a U.S. Marine in Iraq, making them look as large as a house cat.  I am getting off-track…

But Sun Spiders are in fact, quite large.

And fearless.

Just as fearless as a drunk twenty-one year old Texan.

As I was navigating to my hooch I came upon an unusually large sun spider strolling across the compound minding his own business. Imagine a scaled down version of one of those machine-monsters from the “War – of — The – Worlds” movie. How he looked to me.

What did our hero do?

Walked up and kicked him with his boot.

He tumbled over twice and tried to run away.

Oh hell no!

I kicked him again.

He tumbled over again, found his eight-feet footing and tried again to flee.

Oh HELL NO!

I kicked him a third time.

I was giggling and having a great time

But I guess by then he’d had enough.

He regained his bearings again, but this time he must have said to himself,

“Fuck this asshole!”

He started chasing ME!

I ran fast as I could, periodically looking over my shoulder, to my hooch, fumbled around with my hooch-door key, panicking. Got the door open, burst through, slammed it behind me and gasping and sweating fell down on my rack. My hooch-mates (both of them) asked me if the war had started up again.

All I could say was,

“Just don’t open that fuckin’ door.”