Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas On KP

Well, another Christmas has come and is just about gone and it soon will join the ranks of those I can't recall. In thinking back, only a few stand out in memory and the others are just a blur. Chief among those that proved memorable was the Christmas of 1943 at good old Camp Wheeler, Georgia.
I had been in the Army for less than two months and had found that it was not living up to my grand expectations. The early weeks of basic training had taught me that I was unworthy of occupying even a small area of the earth's surface. The same was true of the forty or so others in my platoon. Our sole purpose in being alive, we had discovered, was to make life unbearable for our leader, dear old Sergeant Felts. We should, he told us, crawl back into whatever sewers we had emerged from so the Army could get on with the business of trying to win a war.
Then a few days before Christmas we had a rifle inspection and I was gigged. "This man has cosmoline in his gas port," cried the lieutenant doing the inspecting. "Put him down for KP on Christmas, Sergeant Felts." The sergeant put his nose an inch from mine and shouted, "You're on KP for Christmas!"
So on Christmas Eve I tied a white towel to the end of my bunk and was awakened at 4 a.m. by the Charge of Quarters shouting, "Get up! You're on KP for Christmas!"
Then at the mess hall the Mess Sergeant yelled the most dreaded words known to man: "You're on pots and pans!" Army pots are the size of garbage cans, the pans as big as basketball hoops. After being used, both are either coated with grease or buried under a baked-on crust of unspeakable filth.
And it was raining. And it was the first day we were allowed to go into town. Unless, of course, you were on KP. So in they filed in their Class A dress uniforms and then off they went to Macon while I stared at the monumental stack of pots and pans needed to cook a Christmas dinner.
It ended eventually, as all things do. I was back at the barracks in time to hear how great a time everyone had in town and how wonderfully they were treated by the citizens of Macon. When the lights went out at 9 p.m. I was already in the sack, and it wasn't visions of sugarplums that were dancing in my head. How could so many pots and pans have found their way to one little mess hall? Why did every one of them have to be used to prepare three meals?
Yes, I remember it well.

www.dickstodghill.com

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