R&R Itinerary

Saturday, April 13, 1968

The afternoon Admin run brought a letter from Jenny, a package from my grandmother and an itinerary for R&R to Hawaii.  The one-page itinerary was meant for Jenny (my copy was an official set of orders).  I was to report to the R&R Processing Center for my flight on May 8th, and I was scheduled to return on May 15th.  The package from Grammy was a resupply of her homemade herbal tea and some small envelopes of pepper seeds to barter with, in the local marketplace.  I waited to open Jenny’s letter until after dinner.

Sumo had started boiling eggs in small (5 dozen) batches.  Our plan was to dye 30 dozen eggs and fill the Easter baskets that Mama-San had acquired for us.  The baskets were handcrafted and tightly woven in different designs.  They were more than I bargained for, and I suspected Mama-San had used her influence to upgrade my order.

We finished boiling the eggs and stored them in four separate containers to cool in the walk-in.  Reb would immerse the eggs in dyed vinegar water (yellow, pink, blue and green) later in the night.

After dinner I showered and read Jenny’s letter while sitting in my folding chair overlooking Arizona territory.  She was anticipating our reunion in Hawaii and added some intimate remarks about her plans for me.  I answered her letter with a short note and included the itinerary for her to start making travel arrangements.

After a few hours of sleep there was a pounding on the door of our hooch.  It was Lieutenant Martin, and he was ranting about Easter decorations.  I sat up as he was lecturing me about how important Easter was, and I said, “Sir, we have decorations.”  He answered, “I don’t see them” and kept up his rant.  Finally I stood up face to face and said, “SIR, WE HAVE DECORATIONS.”  As he was leaving he muttered, “You damn well better have some.”

Reb came into the hooch and asked what all the yelling was about, and Sumo explained the situation.  Reb remarked about the Lieutenant having gone through the mess hall looking for something, “He seemed really agitated.”

I asked Reb if he had enough time to make a similar sign like the “HOSANNA” sketch he had done for Palm Sunday.  He said, “What do you need?”  I reached for my prayer book and showed him . . . “HE IS RISEN.”  Reb assured me it would be done and mounted above the mess deck entrance.

Next Edition:  Easter Sunday


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