The life of close friend who’s now gone is a life that helped shape us….. and now provides us a journey into the past. Sadness permits us to recollect our relationship with our long time friends, and, in turn, this provides depth to happiness. Sadness cracks open the Beauty of memories and brings about the unspeakable beauty of Joy.
More War Stories
We didn’t have much time for socializing during our outfit’s actions in Normandy, Paris, Northern France, or the battle of the Bulge. But toward the end of the war, we had a lot of time for chess. Jack thought he was the best chess player, but I often proved him wrong. We both thought we had conquered the game… but were proven wrong by the German interpreter assigned to our outfit. He observed us playing chess one day and asked if he could play. He beat us badly within a few moves.
As the War ended, we recognized we had both acquired the bad habit of swearing. We decided our language must be cleaned up before we returned to civilian life. We chose the best solution: a hard hit on the upper arm of the offender any time we heard a bad word. Our upper arms quickly turned black and blue. At times we found it difficult to even raise our injured arm. But it worked…and rather quickly.
I am one of Jack’s WW11 Army Buddies. I joined his outfit as a replacement in early 1944 at Camp Haan, California. For a short while I truly felt out of place but, knowing my ancestry originally came from the Lake District in upstate NY, I began to feel more accepting of Jack’s humor (and insults.) I am 3 months younger than Jack, and he never failed to let me know that made him the wiser, smarter one.
Everett "Woody" Wood
Over the next 70+ years, we exchanged gifts, phone calls, and letters. Jack once requested a Buffalo chip. He had read that such chips were used in place of firewood on the open prairie. Across the lake from our Colorado home was a small herd of buffalo. So I collected a choice chip and, placing a candle in the middle, sent it to him for his birthday. He called to thank me but complained the one sent was not completely dry. Being the gentleman that he was, he thanked me anyway and declined my offer to send a drier one.
Everett "Woody" Wood