Wednesday, January 2, 2008

42 Years ago on a cold dark night...

(Sung to the tune of '10 Years Ago')

'...two guys were killed just taking flight. Their two-seater A6Ashot off from the deck, then blew up in mid-flight and left them for dead. I stood on the bridge and imagined their plight, as the poor bastards exploded and disappeared outta sight...'

It was a somber ship dropped anchor in The Bay of Naples next day, two of our comrades lay at the bottom of the Mediterranean, their unsuspecting wives waiting eagerly ashore for their celebrated and long-planned arrival party, soon to become a wake and then a sad funeral at sea.

Ah me, the vagaries of this inexplicable life are so frustrating. But whatta ya gonna do? Couple days later we pulled the hook and floated away off to Malta, ah yes Valetta, what a port'o call is Malta with her narrow streets and winding waterfront, with the gondoliers, the matchless pride of these stalwart people and the lovely women and handsome young men, something for everyone on Malta from trinkets and souvenirs to waterfront dives or pricey 4-star hotels.

Me, more a loner even than Craighead, slept in the bow of a gondola as the gondolier poled me out into the current and then started up a side-mount Evinrude and motored me back to the fantail of the USS INDEPENDENCE (CVA62) where the Ship's Bosun - Bosun Bowman, read me the riot act after being returned to the ship a) inebriated and b) in an unauthorized craft and c) out of uniform as somewhere along the Liberty Route I'd lost my jumper...

...can it be possible these events are 42 years ago? How is it possible that 42 years have slipped past and I never even noticed. Where have I been? I'm almost 65 and have little to show for it (excepting my clever and droll wit and continental/cosmopolitan manner, not to mention my erudition and modesty, my keen intellect and, well, I could go on...) but a head full of jumbled memories bumping into each other, ahhhh me...

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