Our overnight Navy visitor returned to Da Nang after working with Reb in the bakery. He extended an invitation for Reb to join him on a night shift at 1st Med so I explained to him that we would work out the details. There was nothing to lose from this relationship, and I considered it a healthy distraction. It would also allow Reb the opportunity to spend some time at the China Beach R&R Center.
This venture needed approval from Top Culverhouse, and I tried to sell it as a reward for Reb’s hard work in the bakery. The Top was reluctant to approve this unofficial overnight stay. There were a lot of loose ends, and we didn’t have all the answers.
Culverhouse was shaking his head as if to say no, but then he bluntly asked Reb, “Why do you really want to go to work at 1st Med for a night?” Reb’s answer was unexpected, “I was hoping to be able to sketch some of the nurses.” This seemed to break the ice on the conversation, but the Top needed some time to “think it over.”
Later as we were unloading our weekly dry goods order, Culverhouse showed up to watch us rotate the products received. When everything was secured, Reb asked Top to look at his artwork. It was an impressive collection, and the intimate sketches of Margaret caught Top’s eye. “Is this what you have in mind at 1st Med?” Reb answered, “Oh no Sir, I just want to sketch them at work.”
Culverhouse approved the overnight but wanted to see Reb’s results.