The Lantern

 

Monday, January 20, 1969

Sumo had a blue dental appointment card which instructed him to report to the clinic before the end of the month.  After seeing the dentist, he planned to do some shopping in Da Nang so he rode with Fernando on the admin run.

My cooking skills were average compared to Sumo’s.  As a result I always tried to keep it simple whenever he was gone and I usually served “comfort food.”  Lunch consisted of chili mac and rainbow Jello with canned peaches for dessert.  Dinner was a spicy Cajun pepper steak served on a bed of dirty (bacon infused) rice.  Reb made sheets of carrot cake drizzled with his brown sugar maple glaze.

Fernando’s truck arrived late (just before dinner), and I missed mail call.  Sumo showered after his dust-laden ride on Convoy Road, and he made it to the mess hall in time to help serve on the chow line.  He complimented me on the meal, “This is some good shit.”  Coming from Sumo, this was high praise so I acknowledged him with, “There it is.”

Top Culverhouse hand delivered my much-anticipated letter from Jenny, and I pocketed it for later.  Doc Wayne had snitched to Culverhouse about Jenny having the Hong Kong flu.  The First Sergeant had eyes and ears on everyone in Kilo Battery; his radar for the personal mental readiness of “his Marines” was sharp.

Sumo had gone to the shopping district in Da Nang and purchased an oil lamp with a red silk shade.  It was about the size of a beach ball, decorated with stars and moons (a celestial motif).  This was Sumo’s contribution to the new staff club since he had offered no help to build it.

Jenny was now back in Fresno, feeling better.  She wrote, “I think I lost a few pounds.  It’s a heck of a way to get ready for your return home!”

Next Edition:  NAPS

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