--A young future Ranger is in the top row
Hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale
And it's about to set sail
I got me a car, it seats about twenty, so come on
And bring your jukebox money
Standing in the sunlight laughing
Hide behind a rainbow's wall,
Slipping and a-sliding
All along the waterfall
--Brown Eyed Girl,
Every day is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Every day is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine
--Every Day is a Winding Road,
Happy Veterans Day.
Two lines have intersected looking through the reticle into my life.
An old high school buddy and Vietnam veteran Dan Perhay out of the blue sent Ranger a photograph of my training platoon at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation (IGMR, PA) where our ROTC class took Basic Summer Camp.
It was called "summer camp" but we did not have a social director, unless one counts Major Michael or SFC Gene Floody as such.
The Major was a phantom-like presence, but Gene Floody was a rock in the slipstream current of Army training. He never once chicken-shitted us or harassed us beyond the prescriptions of our training. Ranger has always remembered SFC Floody fondly.
This was the beginning phase of his young adulthood and he had the world by the dick string.
Following the completion of training, the five cadets driving in his full-sized car climbed aboard at the impound lot (which is where trainees keep their cars and keys locked up so they can't fly the coop).
Ranger turned on the radio, which was not allowed in barracks. Playing was Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl".
Pete Varis said, "Hruska, that's your kind of music," and we all laughed. We had the world whipped.
We returned to finish our senior year and went on into commissioning and active service. Ranger has never seen those guys again.
Ranger heard the song on the radio the day he received the photo. Every time he hears the song he smiles and relaxes a bit, remembering how happy we all were on that bright summer day in Indiantown Gap, PA.