Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: My Navy Day

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: My Navy Day


YES, I AM STILL HERE looking out the window on Main Street, and thinking about the day I joined the US Navy.

It was June 19, 1962. Yep, 58 years ago this coming Friday. Heck, I don’t think I’m anywhere near 58 years old, yet.

I do remember catching the bus to Little Rock after talking to a lying recruiter here a few days earlier. I didn’t join out of patriotism; I was trying to escape my father’s wrath. A little matter of wasting my time and his money in college.

There were a bunch of guys going off to different branches of the military. All of us — Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — took our physical exams and solemnly raised our hands at some big office in Little Rock. The downtown YMCA, I think.

There were three of us headed off to Navy bootcamp at Great Lakes, Ill., which is located smack dab between Chicago and Milwaukee. We rode the train. My father had insisted I wear a suit, and because of that, I was put in charge of our group. I thought I was overdressed and would have gladly surrendered the leadership position.

Our trio included boys from Conway, Nashville, and some other little town I just can’t remember. I think the town name starts with an ‘H’ and the school’s basketball mascot was a Greyhound. But maybe not. The guy’s name was Earl. “They call me the Duke of Earl,” he said, alluding to a popular song of those days.

You talk about some bug-eyed country boys when we laid eyes on Chicago! Great experiences were ahead and I’m very glad I joined and served in the Navy. I’m just sorry I didn’t get a tattoo at that parlor in Miami, but that’s another story and alcohol may have been involved and I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. This continues to be the weirdest birdwatching season of all time. Friday I hung up a fly strip because the little darlings just would not leave me alone at coffee time on my patio.

The instructions said DO NOT TOUCH the sticky stuff because you might be stuck forever. I carefully hung the flytrap and didn’t get stuck to nuthin.

Later that day, sitting in a patio chair and enjoying the sinking sun, I heard a strange noise. I followed it to the fly strip. The noise was from a sparrow which was stuck to the sticky stuff (I guess the bird didn’t read directions carefully like I did).

“Oh heck, I haven’t even caught one fly yet and I’m gonna have to throw this fly strip away,” I grumbled.

But I didn’t touch it. I figured I’d wait until the bird died and then put on some gloves and toss the strip and my gloves into the trash cart. The trash truck guys would just have to take their sticky chances.

When I looked again, the bird had gotten loose and was thrashing around on the ground. It couldn’t fly because its wings were stuck to its feet and vice-versa. It was pitiful to see.

Well, I could’t do anything about it because there was sticky stuff all over that poor bird.

“A snake or a rat will get it pretty soon,” I said to myself cowardly after vowing NOT to watch the bird die. I also wondered what would happen when that snake or rat came in contact with the sticky stuff.

But a few minutes later I looked at it again. It had gotten one wing and one foot aloose and was working feverishly on the other side.

Looked again in about a half-hour and the bird was gone. Maybe it was eaten by that rat or snake, or maybe it managed to get everything unstuck and fly away. It couldn’t fly far because it left most of its feathers on the fly strip.

I did admire its determination and was so sorry it got stuck in the first place.

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OW, THAT HURTS! I am still waiting to hear your ideas of what could be more painful than a woman in labor who bonks her shin on a trailer hitch.

One suggestion received: Walking barefoot in the dark and kicking a table leg with your bare toes. Yep, that would hurt.

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STILL WONDERING. Since the advent of the coronavirus, is there much mouth-to-mouth resuscitation going on? Should you wear gloves when doing mouth-to-mouth? And what is the proper distance? Is it possible to give someone a ‘hickey’ whilst wearing a facemask. I’ll keep asking until I get a satisfactory answer.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) anonymous emails:

Question — Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?

Answer — Their birthplace.

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WORD GAMES. More twins: Yea and Nay. Are you fer or agin?

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HE SAID: “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway.” Gen. Jim Mattis, US Marine Corps

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SHE SAID: “How fortunate I was to be alive and a lawyer when, for the first time in United States history, it became possible to urge, successfully, before legislatures and courts, the equal-citizenship stature of women and men as a fundamental constitutional principle.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court justice

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