Sunday, April 7, 1968
Reb had outdone himself for Sunday Brunch. The condiment table was loaded with assorted doughnuts, glazed twists, maple bars and his signature Bigfoot. A steaming 10-gallon pot of hot chocolate was the last item on the line, and there was a serve-yourself ladle, Remarkably, there were no mishaps (holding a mess kit with one hand while filling a canteen cup on the counter with the other).
We had placed the palm fronds on either side of the entrance to the mess deck, and Reb had charcoal sketched “HOSANNA” over the door on butcher paper. It was in reference to Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey.
Chaplain Starling had not yet noticed our Palm Sunday decor (it was behind him as he went through the chow line). Halfway through the line he saw the pastries, and his jaw dropped . . . “Where did you get these?” I explained they were Reb’s handiwork. He took a Bigfoot and turned to enter the dining room and saw the palms. He stopped and said, “Please Deliver Us.” I think we made his day.
During the church service, Starling referenced Jesus coming in off his last patrol on a donkey . . . an act of Peace. He paced around and interacted with the Marines. Someone asked, “What does Hosanna mean?” and he raised his arms, “Hooray.” Everyone enjoyed his sermons, and he always added humor, “Jesus had worn out his Birkenstocks, and the donkey carried him the last mile.” It was a memorable sermon.
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