In this part Pop reminisces about a Navy buddy.

I hope that when we both have had our fill of this (as you say) “old ball of mud” that the Good Lord will find a peaceful corner somewhere in Heaven or wherever it is that He sends us salesmen and that we can reminisce about Life, people and The Seacoast of Maine.  Huh?

Nope!  I don’t even know anyone in Seattle except my Son, and have been there only once on liberty, when the Carrier Lexington brought me back from the Pacific and up beautiful San Juan De Fuca Strait with its deep, green water and its wooded sides.  It is among quite a few other ones that forever sticks in my memory.  My last glimpse of Seattle was when “Tiny” (a fellow B’son mate) about six foot four, shouldered my Sea bag and carried it to the Navy yard Gate in Bremerton for me.  It is tradition in the Navy that when you are saying Goodbye that your best Buddy carries your Sea bag to the Gate for you.  At least it was in the Old Navy.  I hear they even serve the boys “breakfast in bed now” but of course I wouldn’t know about that.  Anyway Tiny DuPre was from Corpus Christi, Texas and we rode out the War together and came back together.  I was as you know 40 years old, and Tiny must have been 60 even then as he had been called back from retirement.  We roamed the deck of the Lexington on our way “home” and the crew called us “Mutt and Jeff”.  I have never considered myself that short but I was beside him, that’s for sure!  For several years we wrote each other and then I did not hear anymore and I think he probably went to his reward.

I know he struck terror into the heart of a liquor store operator in King St. in Honolulu once.  We had been sitting in a Bar having a few Rum and cokes, or which 99% was water and ice and 1% was rum.  Tiny said “you know Boats this paying nearly a buck a drink for ice water gets my nanny, I am going to buy myself a quart of good old Bourbon.”  I told him that sailors could not buy liquor in the stores only civilians and Navy Yard workers.  He said “wal now Boats, we will have to see about that.”

Anyway to shorten the story.  We went into the liquor store.  Tiny threw down a five dollar bill (the price of the quart) on the counter and told the guy to give him the quart.  The fellow was one of those little “Japanese Hawaiians” and he explained that “he no could sell,” so Tiny just grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and said “hand it over or I will throw you and your entire stock of liquor out into King St.”  The fellow took one good quick look at Tinys height and breadth and complied.  We then retired to Waikiki Beach and drank it under the palms.  The Submariners took over the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Beach during the War you know, and all Sailors were allowed there if they behaved themselves.

Of course the most of them stayed on King St. as they were looking for girls.  Tiny and I were just looking for “peace and quiet” and thanks to his huge frame and determination we had both along with a quart of Bourbon and a view of the most magnificent scenery in the World.  God Bless you Tiny wherever you are!  Whenever I have a drink of Bourbon I say a silent prayer for Tiny!

He was also instrumental in getting me home a little quicker.  An AlNav (Navy Bulletin) came out saying that older men could apply to go back home.  That was about two months before the War actually ended.  I had “had nuff”, but did not think I had a chance.  Tiny said “I aint been in this Damned Navy all these years Boats without knowing my way around.  You and I are going home ‘and see the baby’s mama’ (that was his expression for his wife).”  Sure enough through some quirk of Navy knowledge and Navy Regs. he cornered the Chief Yeomen and we came home “to see the baby’s Mama.”  His babies were grown up and as I remember it two of his daughters were Powers models.  Anyway their picture sure looked it!  And boy did he hate Civilians and Draft Dodgers!  He was a REAL Navy man, I was just an imitation tagging along for the ride.  And I don’t mind telling you that with Tiny along it was a “safe” ride.  I believe he could have cleaned out a “bar room” in nothing flat singlehanded.  Even the Marines took a second look, believe me!

Well I guess this is enough of this “gobbledook” don’t you?

The very best of luck on your operation.  Just relax in your beautiful home, with its trees and flowers and get back on your feet fast, and don’t let any “rabbits run up the drain pipe.”

Sincerely

Leon

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