We finished the scrub down of the mess hall after breakfast and were starting preparations for lunch. Sumo and I discussed how slow things were so we chose to give each other a break. He would cover the noon meal, and this gave me the morning off.
I decided to try my spotting scope from the roof of the Exec Pit and laid in a prone position to view Charlie Ridge. India Company Marines were sweeping south, and the hills were crawling with patrols. It was slow going and methodical; I was thankful not to be a Grunt.
Reb spent most of his spare time sketching. His favorite subjects were people. He composed a drawing of Hua taking a nap on a pile of sandbags . . . it told a story of the labors of war.
As I was putting the scope away in the hooch, Reb inquired if I had any photos of Vietnamese children. After showing him my scrapbook, he asked to borrow a photo I had labeled “Buddies.” It was of two young boys, one was smiling and the other had a more serious expression. Reb wanted to use his new “Washi” paper, and he began sketching, using the slate from his portfolio. * Black and white was Reb’s medium, and he added shades of gray with either thin lines or by rubbing.
I took a nap and relieved Sumo after lunch. He had set me up to make beef stew, and rather than add potatoes, we served the beefy mixture over a choice of rice or noodles.
After dinner Reb relieved me, and I asked him about the “Buddies.” He said the sketch was coming along and that the background would be faded toward the edges. “Better to leave some details out . . . less is more.”
* See previous blog, “Art Supplies” August 19, 1968