Every Sunday after the Steak BBQ, Top Culverhouse would show up with his stash of taco shells from home. They were brittle and stale, but it was a family tradition in Texas to make tacos and beans on Sunday night. He received “Care Packages” of tortilla shells by mail, and we provided the cooked hamburger and accompaniments.
Usually we sat with him as he ate, and he would “shoot the shit” about life in Texas or the trials of fatherhood (he had two teen daughters). It was all interesting stuff to me. He planned to retire in two years. I asked Top, “What are you going to do when you get out of the Marines?” He answered with confidence, “I’ll probably fill out a resume and run someone’s company for them.” Leadership was his expertise, and he was brimming with Self Assurance about his abilities.
I challenged his authority on this, “But you have to know something about the business.” He laughed and said, “So you think I know about artillery?” It was a fair question . . . the answer was, “I manage people.” Culverhouse was an administrator, and getting people to do the job they were trained to do was his craft. He was so good at it that he sometimes had people doing his job for him. It was like Tom Sawyer tricking Huck Finn into whitewashing the fence.