Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Folks, It Seems A Little Colder, November 1957, 38th Parallel Korea, Love, Robert

Pfc. Robert C. Patton

Dear Folks,

So far our basketball
team has won four games
and lost none. I haven't
being playing much, but
that doesn't make too much
difference to me. A lot
of the boys have college
experience. We stay in
a hutch together and just
practice basketball.
  As each day goes by it
becomes it seems a little
colder. It hasn't snowed
yet, but it sure has
been cold enough. I know
that I don't write about
much, but I am not
in France or Europe. Korea
was just only a couple years
ago in a war. There is nothing
to this place. All town and
villages are off limits. Black
market, dope, theft exist in
great numbers over here. These
people have been occupied
the last 50 years. Their
civilization is 4000 years old
but hasn't progressed one
year. Its just one mountain
after another. There isn't
to much to write about
you try to make the day
pass quickly and quietly. Just
counting them until you get
the hell out of the army.
Let me tell you how a
village looks like. It would
be what you would call
Ensley. The houses are made
of mud and straw. The
floors are just plain dirt.
You walk down a dirt
street, where army trucks
pass by and stir up clouds
of dust. In front of the
house there are ditches
which serve as sewers, they
have slimy muddy water
in them. You see dirty kids
playing around in them. The
Koreans have no running water,
no bathroom, nothing except
what the army does for them.
They didn't have roads until
we built them. You might
say what poor unfortunate
people these are. The slumiest
part of Birmingham is great
compared to a Korean town.
When you first see the way
they live you feel sorry for
them. But you began to
realize these people have been
living the same way for
4,000 years and I doubt
if they will live different
in another 4,000 years. But
my problem is not Korea,
just the army. I just let
the days go by as quick as
possible. I received the underwear.
I hope you got my money
order. You should have $250, I
have $150 saved here. I am going
to try to save at least $500
that should be enough effort.
                           Love Robert

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bruce Abbott, Principal

Me and Mr. Abbott

  Bruce Abbott was my High School Principal. He let me drop high school Physics when I was a Senior. I was grateful for that but you don't get out of anything in this life. I signed up for Observational Astronomy later when I was in college thinking I could get to look through the big telescope on the roof of one the buildings on campus and there Physics was again and I was knee deep in it.

  I got to crown the new Homecoming Queen one year and Mr. Abbott was my escort. I got to crown her and he gave her the flowers or I gave her the flowers and he got to crown her. I don't remember which but I do remember Mr. Abbott spitting out a Rolaid before we went out onto the football field during the halftime activities on that crisp fall night.

  We were sweating it out, literally, on graduation night on "Old Winston's Eastern border, reared against the sky..."as the lyrics of our Alma Mater wafted through the open doors of our little High School gymnasium on that balmy Southern night in Northwest Alabama.  Mr. Abbott was about to hand us our diplomas and we would shake his hand, one by one, all 29 of us.

  I remember the words he spoke to us that night. " Don't ever be ashamed to say that you graduated from Meek School".  He knew what lay ahead of us, our parents and teachers loved us and were proud. We were barely one generation off of a dirt floor in a poor white county and had no idea that the rest of the world was about to cut our okra and see how tough we were.

  Our class had the highest percentage of college graduates in the history of the school to that date.

  Thanks Mr. Abbott, you did good. I heard that you won't be needing those Rolaids any more. God Bless you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dear Folks, Hands A Little Cold, Nov. 1957, 38th Parallel Korea, Love, Robert

Dear Folks, (hands a little cold)
  Well I made the
basketball team, that will
last to about January.
That is a little break
since I have been in
the army.
  I'm glad I took
my basic training
during the winter, because
I at least know what
to expect. The day time
is not to cold, but
when night comes it
gets real cold. I don't
expect I will play in
to many basketball games,
but this is one time I
am very happy to
sit on the bench and
just watch. I guess
Earl is getting discontented
because of not working
but he should get as
much schooling as
possible. I am trying
to build up a nest
egg with my money
first, because If you
don't start saving at
first it gets harder and
harder. I will sent it
to you time and time, and
also save it through the
                    Love Robert

Note: Earl was a 1st Cousin.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Honey Pumpkin Pie

  Honey is a naturally healthy unprocessed sweetener and gives baked goods a delicately sweet flavor and good keeping qualities, not to mention helping the Honey Bee.

Honey Pumpkin Pie

1 unbaked pastry shell
1 can (15 oz) Solid Pack Pumpkin
1/2 c Honey
1 t Ground Cinnamon
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Ground Ginger
1/4 t Ground Nutmeg
1/8 t Ground Cloves
3 Eggs
1 Can (5 oz.) Evaporated Milk
1/2 c Milk

1) Combine pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

2) Add egg, evaporated milk and milk.

3) Pour mixture into prepared crust and place on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F on rack just below center for 1 hour 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Honey Hint: Add a little vegetable oil to the measuring cup before adding the honey and the honey will pour out easily.

Note: Use naturally or organically grown ingredients for maximum nutrition.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Folks, Today Is Another Day, Nov. 1957, 38th Parallel, South Korea, Love, Robert

Dear Folks,

  Well today is another
day, but it is a day
less to spend on the rock.
When you send the ear
plug, see if you can't
get a couple of grammar
school English books. I
know that we have some
around the house.
  I am still playing basket-
ball, but I don't know
how long it will last.
  I have thought about
sending Christmas presents
home but until xmas
is over you can't buy
anything, because everybody
thinks along the same lines.
  You probably will have
a good Christmas, Thanksgiving,
New Years. Only thing I
remember about holidays
is that you had a couple
of days off. In the
army you just have one
day off for any kind of
holiday. Well hell I will
be through with the
army when I get out. I
am glad I didn't stay
in the states, because
if you are going into
the army, this is a place
where you can speak with
pride in serving your country.
                         Love, Robert

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Am Persuaded

  "For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life,
    nor angels
        nor principalities,
              nor things impending and threatening
                    nor things to come,
                         nor powers,
                               nor height
                                     nor depth,
                                           nor anything else
                                               in all of creation
                                                     will be able to separate us
                                                          from the love of God
                                                                 which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

                                                                                      Romans 8:38,39                              

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dear Folks, It Was Just A Lot Of Nothing, November 3, 1957, 38th Parallel Korea, Love, Robert

                                3 Nov 57

Dear Folks,

  I hope Sam told you how
lovely Korea is. If the Air
Force ever sent him anywhere
it would be Miami, because after
Korea he deserves it.
  This weekend we changed companies
or new locations. It was just
lot of nothing but we had to
move. Well October is over and
that is another month less to
spend in this damn hole. I hope
you can send me the ear plug
to the radio because it helps
to save on the batteries. I
don't think I can buy any
over here. There is not much
to write about, because the
things you do and people you meet
in the army is just an experience
which would take a book to
write about just everyday life.
  Let me know how things are.

                    Love Robert

Note: Sam is Uncle Robert's 1st Cousin.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Adventures Of Me

Call it what you will -Dashboard Therapy, Windshield Therapy, Gypsy Fever -I get a case of it a couple of times a year and I look for a remedy down a white line...on a highway.

  My Dad, The Man Who Could Make It Better, used to threaten my Nieces when they were little that if they didn't start behaving he would "sell them to the Gypsies".

  Before my brother and I were born our parents as newlyweds lived in Hueytown Alabama. It turned out that a band of Gypsies that lived in an Airstream on an adjacent lot had tried to buy my Mother. Their Queen of the Gypsies had died recently and they were in need of a replacement and thought my Mama with her long, flowing blonde hair should fit the bill. All she remembers about the incident was that a couple of men came to the door and my Dad answered it because he was closest to it. He had built his workshop onto the little trailer that he and my Mom lived in so he could hear her play the piano when he worked on his hot rods and racers. Mama remembers the Gypsy men leaving about as fast as they got there. I asked my Dad about the incident. I asked him how much they were going to give him for her and he said the conversation didn't get that far. I told Mama that in spite of everything that she and my Dad had been through my Dad loved her because he didn't even entertain an offer for her.

  I told my brother Richard, A Human Being, that he could have been a Gypsy Prince and that I could have been a Gypsy Princess if our Dad had sold our Mother that day. We would probably be living out in an Airstream somewhere. Instead, I hang my hat in a  '68 Shasta Compact that is all of 12' long (if you count the hitch) every now and then.

  The then this time is the Black Pot Festival and Cook-Off in Lafayette Louisiana. I started out the trip with 9 people and lost them before I pulled out of my driveway. The festival was on a Friday and Saturday , 3 p.m.-Midnight. I normally don't stay up till midnight. I get up at midnight. I wanted to see The Pine Leaf Boys, Blues De Musicien. They sang in French and played blues you could dance to.

The trip began with a full tank of gas, a map and some Google-ings. I tried using a GPS unit once on a trip to Thomasville Georiga and ended up in a residential area in Montgomery Alabama. I turned it off.

  I left my driveway just as dawn was breaking over the Alabama sky. I was leaving with IBS and fever and a good dog- I try not to go anywhere without a good dog. My fever broke along about Meridian as the local classic rock station played "play that funky music white boy". I started to feel a little better. They don't call it the comfort zone for nothing.

  Four classic rock stations later, "Charity" and I were in our camping spot with pink flamingos in place, just in time for a Louisiana sunset that couldn't be seem over all the RV's and tents at the festival grounds at the Acadian Village but I could hear the music of the night.

  Rumpled haired young men without shirts playing fiddles and guitars around the camp sites as their hippy chicks wandered around with their short skirts and cowboy boots.

  The camps grew quiet before the sun came up again and found young couples waking up together on the ground, women wearing overalls and horned rimmed glasses walking round as others walked their dogs.

  I met some Human Beings on that trip. Sometimes you have to leave home to find them. From my camp site neighbor who brought over a portable air tank and aired up the flat tire on my bicycle that I had had to put back on the rack: How did he know that tire was flat? What about the girl from Texas who had a Mercedes and layer of dirt road and who showed me how to keep the coolers at the Artist Hospitality areas clean and neat? Or what about the girl who just grabbed me and tried to teach me how to do the two step to the music behind the Festival Merchandise counter until I was dizzy? I will never forget the kindness and friendship that was offered to me by that sweet little family from Connecticut who were traveling cross country and missed their dogs. What a bland life it would be if it didn't touch others.

So I go back sometimes, to the floor that I love the gypsy that remains...