Breakfast was well attended as the storm continued to pour rain on Arizona territory. I requested we cut out the lunch meal and serve the ANZAC biscuits with coffee instead, as the roads were closed. There was a brief meeting in the Officers Mess, and the decision was made. We would serve two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) until further notice.
Reb was still awake and shared the contents of the package from Margaret. There were four 8X10 black and white photos. Two were of her brother’s headstone. * One was in focus, the other out of focus.
Another photo was of Margaret, sitting nude on a toilet. It was out of focus, and she was resting her head in her hands. There was nothing intimate, just blurry arms, legs and feet. What did it mean, was there a message in the photo?
The last photo was in sharp focus. It was a plate of oysters on the half shell with lemon wedges and silver forks. Not only did it confirm Reb’s story about the lunch he described, it was obvious she was teasing him to, “Remember the Passion” while sketching.
There were no notes or messages from Margaret . . . just four photos. They were wrapped in a folded newspaper from Sydney. The front page had an article about Vietnam War demonstrations in Chicago. The Democratic Convention had turned into riots.
There was no mention of this in “The Stars and Stripes.” We passed the newspaper around and talked about the implication of being denied this information. For me, it was a Red Flag: The only news we got was that we were winning the war. Something wasn’t right. Sumo decided to write to his mother and ask her to send newspaper clippings from Flint, Michigan, regarding the war. I would write to my grandmother and ask her to send the Oakland Tribune war news from the Bay Area.
The rage of the storm continued so we hunkered down and tried to rest. There were a few gusts that felt like our hooch would take off.
* See previous blog, “Mystery Solved” August 21, 1968