Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter from a Marine

In the spirit of our Truckers for Troops campaign, I can’t resist again sharing this much-circulated letter from a soldier to the folks home on the farm. A trucker e-mailed it to me and had no idea of the origin. I googled around for a source, and I see that it’s been posted on a number of sites. Although the name and military branch seems to change, the letter is basically the same. Suffice to say, it’s been around the Internet a while and we still find it a delightful read.

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are. Tell brother Walt and brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled. I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m., but am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth up your cot and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not so bad; there’s warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food. But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the city boys that just about live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much.

We go on “route” marches, which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. A route march is about as far as out to our mailbox. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. This country is nice, but awful flat.

The sergeant is like a schoolteacher. He nags some. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none. This next one will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bull’s-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and it don’t move. And it ain’t shooting at you. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful, though; they break real easy. It ain’t like fighting with that ol’ bull at home. I’m about the best they got in this except for Tug Jordan from over in Silver Creek. He joined up the same time as me. But I’m only 5’6” and 130 pounds, and if you remember he’s 6’8’ and weighs near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

Emily