Since I am re-posting shit…

Silent Eyes

You’ll have to

scroll down.

If you want the song.

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

Heart Attack ACK ACK ACK! (You oughta know by now…)

imgres.jpg
(“It seems such a waste of time.”)

I really *like* this post. (guess I have no choice)

Some of Y’all may have seen this one coming. 

Some  also may have discerned one salient fact  point of my perception of myself:

‘I think I am bulletproof.’ *insert BUD/s here*

Hell! I have always lived my life that way, embracing that one paralyzed fact. I just know I am such:

‘Bulletproof’.

“I think, therefore I am… bullet proof.”

(So sorry, René )

Hey! Just walk away Renee:

Vid Credit: hawkmoon03111951

(How many times have I cheated death? *insert Ronnie here*    *insert Minefield Here*    *insert Shark Fishing  here*     *insert Iraq here*

And on and on…

Yep.

How could anyone get past that and ever even know how fragile even I may be? *insert Shonnie here*

(Smirk) It begs credulity.

Well… I had my Bulletproof Ass handed to me a few days ago.

The consensus around the Camp Fire that is my GF’s workplace (Saint Jude—Lot of smart folks work there—mostly doctors an’ such) is that Lance had ‘experienced’ a minor heart attack. Now ain’t that funny? Ain’t that rich? AAD (“Also a Doctor”—stolen line from Wolfe’s ‘The Right Stuff’Also a doctor. The words the first schmuck said to Chuck Yeager right after he parachuted from one hundred thousand feet and crash landed:

“You look like shit” – misquote, but you get the drift: just look it up and move on…

(I was all gray an’ shit and I had all the symptoms, and my BP was… approaching escape velocity, but… shit! I was just ‘funnin’.)

Ed note: Just received an email from my… doctor… ok, she is not MY doctor, only an old friend. Anyhow, she is a pharm-assist. She says I had a Myocardial infarction. 

“A what?” I had to ask.

“You had a fucking heart attact! Dig it, ASSHOLE?”

“Yeah, I dig. So What?”

And then I invited her to not use profanity on my Blog Page. (she hung up on my dumb ass after that. I cannot imagine why)

My  Grandfather died, at ’55 of a “Myocardial infarction. ” Think I am not scared? Naw! Ain’t.

Ain’t that rich? Been there; done that. No T-Shirt, alas. Nothing to hang on my “I Love Me Wall.”

“He, most likely, has ‘experienced’ a heart attack.” Kinda like I ‘experienced’ ‘Six Flags Amusement Park. Or Four Years in Iraq.  Or a year and a half in Afghanistan, not to mention three years in Sinai, back when nobody had even ever heard of it—now that, dear reader, is sorrow:

“Hey Good –Lookin’, where do you work at?” asked she, The Hot Babe. (The ‘at’ shoulda told me she ‘weren’t’ for me anyhow, but when you’re young, who gives two shits for grammar? I axe you.)

“I work in The Sinai Desert, for the State Department” answered I, lonely guy on R&R, too far from Texas where I did not even need to employ my bullshit.

“Oh… Sorry. I only date guys who work in cool places. Bye!” She said, as she followed on over to the Fraternity Asshole House…(s) Doubtful she found cerebral stimulation there, but what the hell, eh?

***

Yeah, I ‘experienced’ those too. Those were great… experiences.

Point is, my personal health issues notwithstanding: I am back. (for now)

And am back to comment, torment, regale, impale, exhale, exhalt, vent, rant, recant, apologize, criticize, proffer, pro-offer, disclaim, disdain, mock, muse, love, confuse, confer, confide, and certainly collide.

And all that shit above is denied.

Yet…

I have this pain… in my… ass. (and me chest)

More later… assuming I get over myself tonight.

Peace,

Lanc’d

P.S. Let us just call this a ‘Stream of Consent’ Or a ‘Babbling Brook of Mind’.

Vote on it: Get back to me.

-L

DAMN!

I almost forgot the best part of this post:

Hit me like a slow bullet

SADE:

And…

All of you “likers” don’t get the ‘jist’ of the ‘jisters,’ now, do you? I don’t often ask for a lifeline, but…

Honestly now, I feel as if I am living on / my  borrowing time.

(and my bank is broken)

(and if anyone out “There” ever misconstrues that, THAT, as a plead for money, for me, well, fuck, Nay FUCK you!. I was merely communicating my status.

Words Hurt.

I know this now (“Took you long enuff Asshole.”).

I never mean to hurt; I just spew… stuff… outta my mind…

Keep yer ‘symphany.’ And your musical parades for the poor.

Give your money to Palestine… 

Yeah: 

That’s the “Lance” we sorta, love.

Rock on, LM!

As long and as has (he?) been long (and boring) as has this post, I will never delete it.

Why? Not?

Because I love Sade.

That is the simple truth, Ruth.

Or perhaps ‘Truth #2’

But then, those of you who know… know.

It’s my page…

 “Love is a gun.”

Uniquely Random Memories from the Middle East Continued

“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:

Video Credit: Public Domain (I hope)

 

He Went to Paris: I can smell the Darkness

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And he went to England; played the piano, married an actress maimed “Kim:”…  She was a good wife… I loved her.

This is a continuation, albeit a flashback, to my story of Janet and Random Memories from The Middle East.

Months before the events inked here, here, here, and here, I found myself in Paris (actually two Paris’s—One Texan—One French). Confus’d yet? Stand by: it grows worse(r)

Let’s back up a mite (mites are hard to back up by the way, militarily that is: damn small and damn slippery, them mites… and they tend to mite-bite one, usually on one’s ass)

We call that “Green on Blue” and if you are following the recent news cycle, you will surely know that, that is inappropriate. But that is just how I roll. Fuck Afghanistan and their pretended bullshit “We gonna take over security of our country…” Won’t happen. But after ten plus years there (and some several months there by me, after Iraq–got ‘liberated’–now there is yet another joke, I can speak to the idiocy that is ‘our’ foreign fallacy.

I was in Sinai, 1978 (if memory serves), and I received a letter from my step-sis. This was not unusual back in those days, as we were still ‘speaking’. She sent me a rather long and boring letter regarding Honey Grove and all the ‘Happenings’ thereabouts. The letter was indeed ‘boring’ until I got to her ‘PS’. It read and I quote (loosely), “By the way, R is marrying J. Jesus-Beezus!”

This was, to me, devastation by way of bad, unspeakable news!

‘How could she?! She was MINE. Mine to mine and to have and to hold… just as soon as I finished with my wanderlust. How dare she?!” How DARE she?!

What to do?

Well, I had some R&R time ‘on the books’ so I hopped on a freighter (airplane), and flew back to Texas, ostensibly to break up the marriage, just like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Problem was, was that I screwed up the dates and the logistics, and arrived not in time to bust up the wedding, but just in time to see the happy couple speeding off fast to Waco and their honeymoon…

Shit!

Never having been more depressed at missing a rendezvous, what to do? Rebound Son! Rebound!

So, I sought out Janet. Let’s call it a ‘bank shot rebound.’ I knew she was working at the Hopkins Lamar (See? To this day, I never know which county I am in)  County Courthouse as a probation officer, so I timed (this time, my timing was spot on) my entrance during her lunch break: Intercepted her coming down the stairs of the courthouse.

“Hey Janet!”

“Lance?”

“C’est moi! How’s Trix?”

“You are supposed to be in Egypt,” she said.

“I escaped,” I said. “Wanna have lunch?”

“Uh… Sure. Why not?” (Why not indeed)

We went to lunch. Then she took the rest of the day. We went to her apartment and drank gin. Later that eve, after I had regaled her with fantastical tales of the Middle of the East, she took a drag from her Virginia Slim and asked, “So are you gonna fuck me tonight, or what?”

I said, “No Ma’am; I am gonna make love to you—something I should have done five years ago.”

So we did—I did—make love to her.

The problem now became that I had a plane to catch to that other Paris: that one in France. The other part of the problem was that my plane was waiting in Houston. I was about five hours at seventy miles per hour away from my Air France plane at Houston Intercontinental. I had to go. Now.

I hit the road to Houston, not really wanting to go, but I had promised my buddy, Bart, Black Bart, that I would meet him in Paris on such and such a day. Naturally, I ended up missing my flight and arrived Paree a day late. On the taxi ride from Charles de Gaulle airport, we drove under a bridge and the taxi car lost its windshield to a lone rifle shot. (my theory) “Terrorist?” I asked the cabby? (en français).

“Merde!” Was all he said, as he dodged the flying glass. (true story). I did not care anyhow, but this rather happenstance occurrence did not bode well for my first day in Gay Paree…

“There’s my hotel!” I exclaimed as he had managed to (somehow) keep driving.

I paid him off, got out of his now mangled, windshield-less cab and made my way into the cheap hotel lobby. Went up to my room, dropped my shit; then went looking for my buddy. Found him at last sitting on his rack, rather sullen in mood. I checked out his room. It had a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower.

“So Bart,” I asked finally, “What have you done here in The City of Light for twenty-four hours?”

“You see that tower there?” he asked, pointing to the window.

“Yep,” I said. “That would be the Eiffel Tower.”

“Well, since you didn’t show, I went out on my own… and hey! Ya know, they don’t speak English here? I went out on my own. (You mentioned that) Walked over to that tower, looked up at it—kicked it—and said to myself, ‘Yep. That there Bartamus, that there is the Eiffel Tower. Then I came back here and took a nap. And would you please tell that France Maid that I do not want no fuckin’ breakfast? She wakes me up in the fucking morning with her biscuits (‘croissants’ Asshole) and lousy coffee.”

“Sure Bart,” I said. “I will post a note, en français on yer door.”

“You speak France?”

“Yep.”

“Well Hot Damn then! You be Bogey. I’ll be Bacall.” (of course)

“I weren’t able to bust up the wedding.”

“What?”

“The Wedding.”

“Oh you mean between R and J?”

“Yep. That one, you moron.”

“Yer better off,” he said.

“OK. Then why am I so depressed?”

“Dunno. Did you have any other adventures while you were back In-The-World?”

“Matter of fact, I did. I hooked up with Janet.”

“Bullshit.”

“Nope. No bullshit. Why I missed my flight, in fact.”

“Well, I was just about pissed off at you, but now I unnerstand.”

“Thanks for that,” I said.

“Hey!” he said. “Let’s smoke a bowl and you can tell me all about it while we go and kick this town in the ass.”

“Light her up,” I said. We smoked and drank and then off we went stoned and semi-drunk and in Paris (France) Just two more ugly Americans (Texans)

Now Y’all…

I hesitated while choosing the vid to represent this post. Then I swerved onto this one below. It is somewhat depressing, yeah. But, but… This is how I see my life ending up. I hope you will take the time to watch, listen, and comment.

Vid Credit: 

John1948SevenA

Cheers,

Lance

To Be Continued… Hopefully.

“Losing his hearing, but he don’t care what most people say.”

“Lately I been thinkin’ I just might quit drinkin’…

“I feel like Hank Williams tonight”

JJ Walker

tex flag

More Random Memories from the Middle East: Still Sinai

Previously: One  Two

***

The IDF soldier navigated down the hill as Janet got ‘properly’ dressed inside our tent to greet our visitor. I didn’t bother. I figured cut-offs and no shirt just fine. As for him, well he had slightly longish unkempt hair, as was the norm for IDF soldiers back then. Most of them were reservists anyhow. IDF was a mega-weekend-warrior class anyhow. His beret was tucked into his shirt at the shoulder. His olive-drab uniform was dusty. In general, the IDF Army was unkempt, un-kept, un-disciplined and Fucking Ferocious.

Perfect soldiers.

This truth never did escape me. Some respect from me was obviously the ‘order of my day’ here…

I watched him cautiously descend onto the  my beach. The night before I had un-cautiously descended and ascended (ten times), full of false courage brought about by some imbibing and dope. But what the hell! So… I studied his unsteady progress toward me.

As he approached he switched to English, “This is restricted zone,” he said as he pointed with his rifle over his shoulder to what looked to be a military base of some minor proportions.

“Well, It was dark when we got here and I didn’t notice,” I lied.

“You must leave. Now.”

“Something wrong?” Janet said, sticking her head out of our tent.

“Janet, I got this. Go back inside,” I almost barked.

“Fine!” she said. “Gin or Whiskey for breakfast?”

“Back inside!”

“Fine!” she huffed and disappeared inside the tent.

Turning my attention back to the IDF soldier, I asked/said, “So ‘we’ (Meaning US, the U.S. of us), can pay for this ‘wonderful’ base here in Sinai, and you come climbing down from ‘Mount Fucking Sinai’ to inform me that I am not welcome here? Is this correct?”

He laughed at that and proceeded to take a seat on a beer cooler next to our now burnt out campfire. At least this one had a sense of humor.

“I am Jacob,” he said. “And who are you my American Friend?”

“Lance,” I said, cautiously  extending my hand, which he took and shook earnestly. “Would you like some breakfast? We have tuna fish, whiskey, or gin. Your choice.”

Again he laughed. “Coffee?”

“Fraid not. Sorry.”

“I noticed you have some ice in your big cooler. Where did you get it?” (How did he know this?)

“Eilat,” I said.

“Do not drink the water from the melted parts then.”

“Why not?”

“Because it is made with ammonia at the factory in Eilat. Toxic. Do not drink the water.”

“Hell! My man! I drink the water in Cairo.”

“Your funeral then.”

We laughed some more. I was warming up to this guy.

“Seriously though my friend, you cannot remain here.”

“Yeah? Well, we were planning to push south today anyhow. South to Ras Mohammed.”

“Beautiful diving and snorkeling there. Mind the sharks though.”

“The ‘Sharks’ are why we are going.”

“All you Americans… are Cowboys?” he snorted.

“Yep.”

“Okay then. Bonne chance! I take my leave now. Be sure you take yours too. Soon. Shalom.”

“Cheers, and nice to meet you Jacob.”

“Bye,” he said and walked away.

***

“Well, you fucked that up,” Janet said, finally emerging from the tent.

“How so?”

“Now we have to leave this place.”

“Janet, I never intended to stay here more than the one night. I wanna get to Ras.”

“I like it here.”

“Pack your shit. We’re leaving now.”

She ‘packed her shit’ and I schlepped it and the rest up the cliff and loaded our little chariot. Within two hours we were back on the road again, heading south. As we were driving through the Sinai with the mountains on our right, she pulled out her Bible and instructed  invited  demanded of me to ‘turn off that damn noise.’ That ‘noise’ was Bob Marley and I hesitated… for a moment, then saw some seriousness in her brown eyes and acquiesced. She opened her ‘book’ and began to read from Genesis.  I must admit it was fitting, given the time and the place.

We spent some miles in this activity. I smoked some cigarettes and studied the landscape. The Sinai Desert along the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba is wondrous beautiful. As I said, the contrast moved me. Janet’s reading (which she did quite well, I may add) added to the ambiance. This girl had some talents. “In the beginning…”

But, the magic moments could not last (Janet and I had a propensity for combat). We eventually got into an argument about thirty clicks outside of Sharm el Sheik. I was slightly gin-buzzed by this point and in no mood for…

“Stop the fuckin’ car!” She shouted.

“Whaaa?”

“Stop the FUCKING CAR!”

“Shit! What for?!”

“I’m getting out! That is what FOR!”

“Janet, we’re in the middle of a fucking desert in a Muslim / Bedouin country. Are you sure?”

“Yes! Goddamn it! I am sure. Stop the fucking car. I hate you!” (Not entirely sure where this sentiment came from, but it was, I could see, sincere.)

“Fine!” I stopped the car. “Don’t forget your fuckin’ Virginia Slims,” I said as she opened the door, got out and proceeded to ‘march’ down the empty road.

I would have (should have) left her there, but y’all know I could not.

 

 More to come… Here

Video Credit:

TheCowboy4411

More Random Memories from the Middle East

Driving from Eilat to Ras Mohammed (Sinai) with the first wife.

Don't stay here

Okay, we were not married at that time. (At least not in ‘her’ God’s eyes.) We were both working at SFM and had coordinated our R&R schedule so that we could spend that week together. ‘Bliss’ Promised, promise of same…

We arrived in Tel Aviv and immediately went off to rent a car for our ‘camping’ trip. Our itinerary required us to first make the rather long and somewhat treacherous drive to Elait (‘treacherous’ because of the roads) where I hoped to get in a few more dives toward qualifying me as a bona-fide PADI deep-sea-diver. Then we were to head further south all the way to Ras Mohammad, on the southernmost tip of the Sinai, perhaps stopping or staying at Sharm El Sheik along the way. (Sharm back then was all about nothingness, still Israeli-Occupied Egypt and not the tourist trap it is today.)

We had loaded up our tiny rental car with way too much camping stuff, ‘checked out’ from the rec center we had at Sinai Field Mission Base camp. We had a tent, (such as it was), cooking utensils, sleeping bags, lanterns, coolers, and et cetera, ‘et cetera’  mostly being booze, of course) And of course we had schlepped along my boom box, extra batteries, and about five dozen cassette tapes. My life needed musical accompaniment back then. Always.

We left Elait and proceeded south. The road hugged the Gulf of Aqaba. The contrast was stunning. I mean, every once in a while I would stop the car, grab a snorkel and, well, go snorkeling. The colors under the sea were so vibrant, as opposed to the desolation of the desert behind me. Now, do not mistake: I love the Sinai. It is perhaps the most beautiful desert in the world. But. But! The coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba! As I did say:  color contrast.

We got about half-way to Sharm and Ras Mohammad, and as it was getting late, I decided ‘time to camp’. We parked the car on a very small ‘break-down’ lane and as Janet watched, I schlepped all the ‘gear’ down a ravine, or rather a ‘clif’ to the beach and the camping site I had proclaimed, ‘perfect.”

Set up the camp. Opened a bottle of ‘fine’ Israeli wine. Turned up the boom box. Cooked some chicken bits over a make-shit campfire. Ate. Then… had to shit. (I had been drinking apple juice all day—ran through me—needed to evacuate—embarrassed—

“Uh Janet, I need to leave you here for a min or two…”

“Why?”

“Just do. I’ll be back… soon. Okay?”

“Sure.”

So, I grabbed a roll of T-paper and headed off into the darkness, looking for a place to take a righteous shit, diarrhea shit. Found one. Did the deed. Happy and sated. Went back to our camp site. Found Janet laughing her ass off.

“What’s so fuckin’ funny?” I asked.

“Your toilet paper preceded you!” She said.

“Huh?”

“Yeah! The wind blew it all over here!”

“Damn!”

We made love in the ‘tent.’ and fell asleep. The next early morning, we were awakened by the sounds of someone yelling at us in Hebrew:

I will translate:

“Hey! American! You cannot be here!”

“Why not?”

“This is IDF Zone!”

“And? I have diplomatic immunity!”

“What?!”

“We have diplomatic i-mun-it-ty!”

“What!?”

“Fuck off!”

“Wait! I am coming there..”

“Fine.” (asshole)

Will be continued… Here

Ras Mo

Ras Mohammad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vid Credit Here:

Country Boy At Its Best

“I’ve run my share of grass…”

Here

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

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

Hamas, Gaza, IDF, Israel, Intifada, and U.S. (us) And why we should care (?)

Some of you may know of my history in the Mideast.  Most of you may not.  Some of you may know I get emotional about issues.

Some of you may not.

Some of you may give a shit.

Some of you may not.

No matter: I don’t have a dog in this fight: The current Fight between Hamas and the IDF (Israel)… Actually, I did, once upon a time, have a dog.  He died. But that was many moons ago.

And we did/didn’t call in the dogs back then: the ‘Fight Between the PLO and Israel’… “Let ’em duke it out!”

–Ronald Reagan, “et them all, et tu, Brutus?”

And about who could wrap some arms about Yasser Arafat?  No one. Not even Ronnie. Then he (Arafat) became ‘Rocky Balboa’ to some of rest of the world. Yes! Fast forward… but who among the thinking of us and the remembering of us, can ever forget

Munich in ’72?

Munich

And I was on the ‘good’ side.

I was for the ‘Home’ Team: Israel! Nineteen Sixty Seven! The shining moment of the IDF! Just like the Lord: ‘Fought for Six Days and Rested on the Seventh.”

“Didn’t them Jews kick the ever-lovin’ shit outta them A-Rabs?! Fought for Six Days…”

Biblical! (Yay God! and Madison Ave…)

Then I learned to read (and listen)

Point is:

I, as most of us (I hope) want the killing to STOP. It hit ‘Home’ today when I went to buy a beer. There were Palestinians in the road… In Memphis America! They were not happy. Unhappy Palestinians. Goddamn Right! They were unhappy! In Memphis!

I do not blame them. I am not happy either, but that said, Israel has some right to defend… don’t they? If you would like to argue, I welcome that, as I, more than some of you out there, have lived on both sides of that pond. And on both sides of that issue.

I have driven through Gaza. Too many times. I have seen the refugee camps. The poverty.

And I had intimate sex (is there any other kind?) with an Israeli Sabra, of Yemenite ‘distraction’ (i.e., she was Arab: Arab Jew) More than twice… Yet that sex did not prejudice me… (Well, maybe it did… just a little)

Putting sex aside, I know some politic, especially when it comes to Israel and Islam.

I have been on both sides.

Call me out, yet consider that I am foremost and always just a simple Texan.

So, be nice (or not)

Peace

Screenplays: ‘Alien’ Explore The Genesis…

Or, “Would you like some opium?”

-H.R. Giger

The subject matter of this post may well be somewhat dated and esoteric, but I do submit that it is ‘spot on’ for all my fellow writers out there… well if you are of a science fiction bent, or just want to write screenplays (The terms are not always mutually exclusive).

I am a fan of Dan O’Bannon. Some of you will not recognize the name. Here is a clue: “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.”

cat alien

Yep. The original “Alien” masterpiece. I have to drill down into the old memory cells to download my first experience watching “Alien.” I was still in the Sinai (SFM). It was 1979 and I was driving the R&R vehicle to Tel Aviv. My lone passenger that day was my good friend Bill Brown (and he was in fact, brown—i.e., he was a black gentleman. We had a leisurely four hours to kill, so I asked him, “Hey Brown,” (we had a propensity back then to use ‘last names’, just like one would expect in the Military,) “seen any good movies in TA lately?” (Bill Brown was married to a Filipina, not that that is relevant, but I often throw in some irrelevant shit)

“As a matter of fact,” he said. “I have.”

“Do tell!”

“I saw this movie, ‘Alien.’ Dude! You havta see it. It’s still playing. Check it out.”

“Sci-Fi?”

“Yeah, but more than that.”

He then proceeded to tell me the entire story of the film (complete with ‘spoilers’—And thanks for that Bill Brown!)

His main interest was the black dude Parker. Whom he always referred to as ‘My Man.’ Understandably so, given the fact that back in the Seventies, not many black men had important roles, unless one is speaking of Blaxploitation Film.

Once we got to TA and I had checked my vehicle, I went out on the town determined to see this film. In Tel Aviv back then, one could actually smoke cigarettes in a movie theater and good thing that, as I do think I smoked an entire pack of Marlboros while glued to the screen.

My point in all of this is that I have, ever since, been fascinated with this movie. More fascinating now is how it was ‘birth’d’ and the writing process that got it to where it now resides in the annals of one of the greatest movies of all time.

Thanks to Dan O’Bannon.

Below is a link to his original screenplay. For all writers out here, it is worth a read, but only if you know the movie and how it changed the genre.

And of course if you are curious about how great, actually mediocre, (The dialog was too corny, much like mine) writing hits the stage. More important though, I do think, was the ‘idea’–revolutionary (almost) at the time. 

Point is: It worked.

Who can say what will or will not go ‘viral’ anyhow…

Script below.

Vid Link below that; do not confuse the two. (Some things are important to me, if you have  bothered to come this far…)

http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/alien_early.html

Video Credit:

DuneInfo

The Real Story of Diego Garcia, Part Three

Part One Here

Part Two Here

The Eighties Kinda Sucked For Me. Not horribly but slightly. Now I will digress and tell you why.

During the Eighties, I came home from Egypt and SFM. I had spent the last three years of the Seventies in the Sinai Desert and these were glorious years for me. 

During the (very early) Eighties, actually very late Seventies, I got married.

At the beginning of the Eighties, Ronald Reagan was president and I was twenty-two years old: could not deny me or tell me anything! I had ‘seen’ the World!

Ronnie

During the Early Eighties, the Prime Lending Rate went from nine percent to twenty percent, thus making it real difficult for me to sustain a Small Business loan for my Tropical Fish Store.

I overcame all of this. By sheer guts and asshole-ness. (and by writing a seriously hot check, for three thousand dollars! I gave a shit not.)

But, I embraced it:

And somewhat thrived. Trickle Down, as they say, but not to mention, my bride and I slept on Army Cots for two years… We slept with the fishes.

And ate baked potatoes, cooked in a microwave which we had stolen borrowed. With pressed ham.

And the occasional onion… on Saturdays. And bacon on Sundays. And sometimes sour cream on Mondays.

We eventually left that place (after four years) Yep, we escaped Nacogdoches, Texas, which for us had been what we could imagine living in The Movie ‘Deliverance’ would have been like.

We escaped to Plano, Texas, which for many (but not us), was like living in the TV Show ‘Dallas’.

We discovered that we were more poor there than anywhere. In Nacogdoches we were ‘business owners’. In Plano we were just scum: no furniture, no fixtures, no nada: SCUM. We got thrown out of our first apartment because “Y’all don’t have no furniture and y’all are sleeping on the floor. This violates y’all’s lease agreement. Goodbye.”

We soldiered on…

We did sell, at a garage sale, damn near everything we owned, to include my prized Celestron Telescope and my wife’s Mikasa China from her first marriage.

Just to eat.

(Food was a prerequisite back then)

Finally….

We made a stance.

My Long-time Bride and my Soul-Mate, and a veteran of the “hard days” tole me one day,

She said, “Lance’, this is no way to live! Do something! Any thing!”

So, I did.  I told her I was gonna join the U.S. Navy. And send her all her allotment and everything else. And meant it.

She initially balked at this  (and she was former U.S. Army Reserve) at that time.

She said to me, and I quote:

“Lance, you are gonna do this thing, right? Then, I ask of you one thing: I wanna be a house-wife for just one year… can you give me that?”

“Yes! I said.”

So I got another job and worked my ass…

And I gave her her one year.

Then I joined the Navy.

And I did not see her again for ten years.

And sometimes after all these years, I still miss our poverty days, because we were so happy being poor.

And I did serve my country, just as I had promised her I would (We, The Both, were Patriots, by an’ by…)

Navy!

tex flag

 

What does any of this have to do with Diego Garcia?

Stay tuned…

Early Thursday TB: ‘TA’ Does Not Always Mean ‘Tits an’ Ass’

Arrived Tel Aviv one afternoon Late ‘78. Soon to be Stoned, Dazed and Confused and somewhat abused. One of my fellow SFM drivers, Perry, a good bud of mine, had convoyed with me into TA. Each of us driving deuce and a’halfs and at dangerous speeds.

We checked into the Pal Hotel which SFM had retired to after the New Sheraton had made it plain they no longer desired nor needed the patronage of Sinai Field Mission types, specifically the Texan ones. I preferred the Pal Hotel anyway.

“Screw you Sheraton New Hotel!”

Of course for both of you Lenny Fans out there in ‘Radio Land’  I just had to drop this audio bit in. It really is not germane (nor certainly not German) to the point, but it do expand on the title somewhat.

It occurred to me that when using the term ‘Tits an’ Ass” some would not know the etymology. Lenny first coined the phrase. (Bless his heart).  He did some jail time too… for his transgressions.

So…when I first arrived to SFM and folks would talk of TA, imagine my confusion.

Lenny Bruce audio below ‘Tits and Ass’

Worth a listen

After settling in, Perry called me from his room, “Hey Lance. Got anything goin’ tonight?”

“Nope,” I replied. “Not a damn thing. You know Gladys done dumped me for that Venzu-walon dude.”

“Come on up to my room. We’ll smoke a bowl.”

“On my way,” I said and hung up. We smoked a few bowls of hash, drank some Amstels, and decided to head over to Dizengoff Street to check out the action. And sate some munchies. Just yet another night in TA.

dizengoff-cafe

Dizengoff Cafe

We stepped out onto Hayarkon Street just after sundown and proceeded to float on toward Dizengoff, a few short blocks away. We were stoned beyond repair. As we tried to navigate across the busy Hayarkon four lane, we noticed more than the average number of folk on foot. As soon as we had arrived on the leeward shore of Hayarkon, a teenage girl came running up to us and smacked us both on the top of our heads with a little plastic mallet. Then said something unintelligible in Hebrew and ran giggling away.

“What the fuck was that?!” I asked Perry.

“Dude, I gots no idea, but look yonder!” he said pointing up the street. Sure as shit, there were people everywhere; all armed with similar plastic mallets, just wailing the shit outta each other’s heads.

“Dude! We gotta sort this out. This is just too weird. Must be some kinda religious ritual.” This is what my hashish soaked brain was telling me anyway. We made our way to Dizengoff, after having our heads bonked repeatedly by overzealous religious fanatics. I spied a street vendor displaying the plastic mallets with aplomb.

“Perry, we gots to git one ah them for self-defense.” We purchased one each and went to whackin’ pretty Sabras about the head. (Great way to meet women, I must confess—Kinda Neanderthal—but what the hell?) Later I was told we had experienced some joyful Israeli Halloween-Like festival. Mardi Gras, it weren’t but dammit! I had fun. (But I didn’t get any beads)

To this day, I do not know the holiday, or festival. Are there any out there who would care to enlighten me? Tis one-of-those-unknown-things that still haunt me today. Perhaps if I had not been stoned…

banner_purim_sm[1]

Purim

My Jewish Friends: Was it Purim I had experienced? My enquirin’ mind really do wanna know.

Throw-Back Thursday: “If You Don’t Mine, It Don’t Matter”

There is sand in the Sinai Desert. Lots of sand. There is wind in the Sinai Desert. Lots of wind. There are landmines in the Sinai Desert. Lots of landmines, some dating back to the ’56 war. Most of them are still functional.

When wind and sand collide, the sand moves. In waves. The sand does not respect manmade things. Manmade things such as roads or landmarks, or mine fields. Sand does not care if it inconveniences you. Or puts your life in danger. Sand has no conscience and actually does not give two shits about you or me, or anyone or anything.

Sand is just sand.

These truths about sand were to become blatantly obvious to me one day back in 1978. I was driving my Chevy Van Passenger Vehicle to the Suez Canal to rendezvous with a similar R&R vehicle coming from Cairo. My vehicle was loaded with ten passengers, all very happy to be headed out on R&R. It was my simple job to get them to the rendezvous point so they could take the little boat across the canal, climb into the other van and head on to Cairo and their scheduled flights back to The Real World.

From SFM Base Camp to Suez is about thirty klicks.

untso_map3

SFM Base Camp Located Between
The Giddi and Mitla Passes

Travel time on average, an hour and change, depending on how long the Egyptians wanted to detain me at the check points along the way. I always brought along some packs of Marlboros to provide them when they insisted on ‘baksheesh’. No big deal. I could afford the bribe. Hell, in our little BX (Base Exchange) cigarettes were three bucks a carton.

This particular day back in ’78 was a day after a particularly savage sand storm. The roads to Suez are passable most days. And safe. Off-roading is not safe.

Stay on the pavement.

I can compare it to the line from Apocalypse Now: “Never get out of the boat.”

As I drew closer and closer to the canal the roads began to get more and more difficult to discern. Now mind you, I had made the canal run many, many times, but I am a guy who can get lost in his own hometown of Honey Grove Texas, Population 1800. This is a small town, not too many ways to get lost, unless you are real creative. I am real creative.

I came to a point whereby I just could no longer make out the paved road. I took a turn in the general direction of the canal, hoping to pick up the road again after a few minutes. As I was bumping along I noticed one of those landmine signs:

mines

So did my passengers.

They freaked. I suppose this could be considered a normal reaction. They all started jabbering at once. I invited them to shut the hell up, and then I calmly backed the fuck out of the mine field, carefully retracing my inbound route.

Once I got back to the spot where I had obviously taken a wrong turn, I took the other turn and eventually made it to Suez. Picked up the inbound passengers and didn’t even have any shit to clean up in my vehicle, but I think at least one of my passengers had shit his pants.

Now all I had to do was make it back to Base Camp without any more drama. I gave it fifty-fifty.

postcard

Home, Safe Home

More to come on SFM

Here is a related post.

And another “Hello Minefield In The Sand”

And one more here

Thank You For Your Visit.

Comments always welcomed.

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.

And Here: TA

And Also Here: My Mine Field

Continue reading

Lance, You Lie: End

Previous Chapters Here:

One Two Three Four Five Six

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

I went through the plan with Kim in great detail for what was to happen once he and John landed. He was not to look for me, shout, or do anything that might look unusual. It was going to look unusual enough just having a private plane touching down behind the sheriff’s headquarters. I made Kim repeat all the steps back to me about a million times. John assured me he could land the plane and stop quickly. He and Kim would throw the duffel bags out and Kim and I could have them in the car in less than thirty seconds. John would begin his take off as soon as the last bag left the plane.

Total time on the ground: less than one minute. “Beautiful. I hoped it actually turns out that way,” I remember saying to them both. If you’re wondering what happened to Kirk, well he’d had enough of the Lance and Kim Show, and decided to hang it up. No problem; we really didn’t need him anyway. Ditto for Joe after his release from hospital and we returned his car to him.

The day before the flight, I made Kim take the Impala to the shop and purchase new tires. He balked at this, but I explained to him that I did not want to be driving around Lake Charles with over a hundred pounds of pot and have a blowout. He took the car and bought the tires. I had satisfied myself that all was in order and had made several final recons of the landing site just to make sure someone had not decided to begin a construction project in the middle of my runway. No one had. We were set.

Continue reading

Charley The Cougar

I like Critters

And Varmints

And Ants

And Spiders

And Crud Eaters

And Dogs

And Cats, especially Big Cats

The Summer of ’77 (sounds like a movie title)

Cougar_at_Cougar_Mountain_Zoological_Park

Big Kitty

I was living in Lake Charles with one of my best friends from high school, his Girl Friend, a Vietnam Vet (who did three tours with the First Cav as a chopper pilot), and his wife. The husband and wife owned a pet shop. The wife ran the place and the husband flew roughnecks back and forth to offshore oil rigs.

One day the wife, let’s call her Barbara, since that was her name, brought home a cougar. She had named him Charley and he was the size of a large house-cat. It was love at first sight for me as Charley was the only pussy I had yet seen or would see, turns out, during the entire six or so months I spent in Lake Charles.

Charley and I started sleeping together (since the other two beds in the house already had reached capacity and since I was so very good with animals and since I really wanted a roommate. Therefore I took over the care and feeding and raising of Charley the young ‘un Cougar.

Charley grew rapidly on a steady diet of raw hamburger, flank steak, catfish, eggs, tennis shoes, and the occasional Budweiser. We would wrestle and play tug of war for several hours every day. The house had a long narrow hallway leading to the three bedrooms. Our favorite game was “Charley The Flying Cougar.” I placed an ottoman at the entrance to the hallway and Charley would stand at the other end. On my cue he would race down the hallway and Mary-Lou-Retton-Like, hit the ottoman like a launch pad seriously becoming airborne and landing on my shoulders.

We continued refining this sport even after he had grown to about a hundred pounds. Of course at that point when he hit my shoulders we both tumbled to the floor. He was always gentle with me and I never felt his claws or his teeth. Sorry to say I cannot say the same for my old high school buddy. He just did not understand animals. When Charley was still house-cat size he would play too roughly with him.

So, I warned my buddy one day, “You’re gonna make that cat hate you, and when he grows up he’s gonna seriously tear you a new asshole, Asshole.”

“Naw, he likes it.”

“Okay, but you’ve been warned.”

Sure as shit, couple of months later, said high school buddy got his ass handed to him by Charley. Buddy only bled for a little while, but that ended their relationship as far as ‘heavy petting’ was concerned. When Charley got to be upwards of 120 pounds he started taking his half of our bed out of the middle. Barbara suggested we make a bed for him in the garage, and since I was not getting enough sleep anymore, I concurred. She brought home the biggest doggy bed she had in her shop and we laid it out for Charley in the garage along with his favorite toys, food and water dish and a small portable radio thinking he might get a little lonely at night.

‘That radio will keep him happy,” Barbara said.

Au contraire.

That night we put him to bed in the garage just before we all retired; he was fine. For about thirty-five minutes. Then the Cougar Wails began. If you have never heard a hundred-twenty-pound cougar cry late at night, well you have missed something of nature. Everyone got out of bed and Barbara said, “Let’s just let him cry for a bit. I’m sure he’ll give up and go to sleep.”

About an hour and two bottles of wine later… We all gave up. Charley just would not shut up. I couldn’t stand it any longer.

“Please let him in Barb,” I said

She opened the door. Charley came bolting in; knocked me down, pinned me on the floor with his big paws on my shoulders, licked my face, then ran into our room and jumped into the middle of our bed.

“Well, we tried. Goodnight y’all,” I said as I picked myself up and headed in to join Charley.

Barbara had provided a collar and leash for Charley and we used to have great fun taking him out to the night clubs in Lake Charles. (Lake Charles was a really cool town back then, and Louisiana folks really did not seem to find it at all strange when someone walked into a bar with a cougar. But I will say this: when we did, the crowds always parted, making it very easy to belly-up to the bar. Charley became a regular guest at our most–frequent hangouts.

And he was the most awesome chick magnet in Calcasieu Parish.

But I still never managed to get laid in that town—very puzzling to me—but I did have a theory:

Since all the places we hung out were Greek Joints (My high school buddy was a Kappa Alpha, and insisted we only hang out with the ‘Brothers’ an’ ‘Sisters’), and since I was an ‘Independent’ and actually despised everything “Greek,” there was just no way any self-respecting sorority girl was gonna give it up for me, Cougar or no Cougar.

“Well, screw ‘em,” I finally decided. (Although, I was a little disappointed, ‘cause I found some of girls very appealing & screw-able in demeanor.)

If I could have just found Farrah… We had Cougars-in-Common.

Summer turned to fall and one day my buddy and I had to leave Lake Charles in a hurry (for reasons I cannot disclose until I check the ‘statute of limitations’), and head back to Texas. I hated to leave Charley and my other good friends, but I had a mind to leave the U.S. altogether and there was just no way I could take Charley with me.

I reapplied for the Sinai Field Mission gig I had wanted ever since I was eighteen and had first heard of it. As luck would have it, they agreed to hire me (Since by then I met their minimum age requirement of twenty).

About a week later, Halloween 1977, I arrived in the middle of the Sinai Desert.

Life is Funny; Laugh Out Loud

I recently posted a post, lamenting shit of my-so-called-life.

I take it all back.

My life is rich.

My life, is loved

Be-loved

Been-Loved

Loved

Loved beyond recognition

‘I don’t often love, but when I do, I do… I do drink it up.’

‘Stay thirsty, My Friends.’

My life has been full of great music, great people, great loves, and great places and sparking (and sparkling) palaces.

Won’t trade it

Nope

Would not

‘Life is a Just A Tire Swing’. (I love the ‘raw nature’ of this video)

(This was Rocket Tom’s favorite, by the way)

I do miss him, and his wisdom.

Hello Minefield In The Sand

(Sung to Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand”)

To an Unfeeling Landmine

So Sorry Neil

This spontaneous post is a follow up to the frivolous one below

***********

Hello Minefield in the Sand

Is this place at your command?

Can I live here just a while?

Can I pass your sweet, sweet style?

Not old enuff now to change my ways

When so many died here

Is this your plan?

It’s the problem with you

That makes me wanna go insane

So many innocent doan wanna play yer game

Hello dead one in the dust

You died because of us

Your band did not begin to rust

I guess it was all the sin I had

To trust a walk that didn’t seem bad

Holding out now, to change some things

Just some water; do that seem strange?

I was hoping that you’d turn bad

Go away now, I’d be not sad

But you hang around…

To kill my kids

You make me feel angry, but not like this

Purple blood on a sand background

With so much about you,

You’ll never be found…

Until you kill someone else.

*********

Too many people die still today from landmines meant to kill combatants in so many older, forgotten wars. 

If You Don’t Mine, It Don’t Matter

There is sand in the Sinai Desert. Lots of sand. There is wind in the Sinai Desert. Lots of wind. There are landmines in the Sinai Desert. Lots of landmines, some dating back to the ’56 war. Most of them are still functional.

When wind and sand collide, the sand moves. In waves. The sand does not respect manmade things. Manmade things such as roads or landmarks, or mine fields. Sand does not care if it inconveniences you. Or puts your life in danger. Sand has no conscience and actually does not give two shits about you or me, or anyone or anything.

Sand is just sand.

These truths about sand were to become blatantly obvious to me one day back in 1978. I was driving my Chevy Van Passenger Vehicle to the Suez Canal to rendezvous with a similar R&R vehicle coming from Cairo. My vehicle was loaded with ten passengers, all very happy to be headed out on R&R. It was my simple job to get them to the rendezvous point so they could take the little boat across the canal, climb into the other van and head on to Cairo and their scheduled flights back to The Real World.

From SFM Base Camp to Suez is about thirty klicks.

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SFM Base Camp Located Between
The Giddi and Mitla Passes

Travel time on average, an hour and change, depending on how long the Egyptians wanted to detain me at the check points along the way. I always brought along some packs of Marlboros to provide them when they insisted on ‘baksheesh’. No big deal. I could afford the bribe. Hell, in our little BX (Base Exchange) cigarettes were three bucks a carton.

This particular day back in ’78 was a day after a particularly savage sand storm. The roads to Suez are passable most days. And safe. Off-roading is not safe.

Stay on the pavement. I can compare it to the line from Apocalypse Now: “Never get out of the boat.”

As I drew closer and closer to the canal the roads began to get more and more difficult to discern. Now mind you, I had made the canal run many, many times, but I am a guy who can get lost in his own hometown of Honey Grove Texas, Population 1800. This is a small town, not too many ways to get lost, unless you are real creative. I am real creative.

I came to a point whereby I just could no longer make out the paved road. I took a turn in the general direction of the canal, hoping to pick up the road again after a few minutes. As I was bumping along I noticed one of those landmine signs:

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So did my passengers.

They freaked. I suppose this could be considered a normal reaction. They all started jabbering at once. I invited them to shut the hell up, and then I calmly backed the fuck out of the mine field, carefully retracing my inbound route.

Once I got back to the spot where I had obviously taken a wrong turn, I took the other turn and eventually made it to Suez. Picked up the inbound passengers and didn’t even have any shit to clean up in my vehicle, but I think at least one of my passengers had shit his pants.

Now all I had to do was make it back to Base Camp without any more drama. I gave it fifty-fifty.

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Home, Safe Home

More to come on SFM

Here is a related post.

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No Bare Feet Beyond This Point

I grew into manhood in the Sinai desert: 1977-1980. Missed out on Disco, but it was damn well worth it.  What you may choose to read below is the first installment of a personal history I am determined to write about the men and women I had the honor to know, to love, to work and walk among, and to call ‘Friend’, as we all tried in our way, to bring peace between the Egyptians and the Israelis after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The conditions were harsh; the boredom at times mind-numbing. Seventy-five percent of us were under thirty. Most of us were Texans. We were not actually building anything see-able, tangible, touchable: we were, in fact, civilian ‘Paid Political Hostages,’ not construction contractors, not U.S. military Special Forces, but we ended up building something immensely more important than bricks and mortar: The Camp David Accords—Peace between two enemies who had not known peace since before Moses was a pup. Some of us who spent too many years there, went slowly and surely insane…

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1979 Sinai Field Mission

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WARNING:

NO BARE FEET BEYOND THIS POINT

A faint laughing snort escaped as I shook my head upon seeing that sign duct-taped to the door of the hooch belonging to some of my fellow drivers: ‘Rocket Tom’, ‘J.R. Mog’, ‘Jet’, and ‘Big Mo’. Big Mo wasn’t a driver per se; I mean he didn’t drive trucks or R&R passenger vehicles: He drove dozers, road graders,  front-end loaders, and the occasional fork lift, although he considered fork-lifts “Too wussy for a Texan named Big Mo” to drive.

I gave the door a hearty knock.

“Enter!”

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