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 01, 2008

The Golden and Olden Years

This morning while basking in the glow of my Golden Years my thoughts drifted back to an earlier time. Golden Years, if you don't know, is a phrase coined by someone aged 25 who has yet to learn about aches, pains and parts of your body that no longer function as intended. Legs and fingers, for example. In your Golden Years, legs sometimes go left when it was your intention to go right. At inopportune moments they tend to give out completely or develop an excruciatingly painful cramp. Fingers that seem perfectly normal suddenly turn to stone when you try to make change at a checkout counter.
So this is why my thoughts turned to a time when everything worked properly. Quite naturally my early weeks in the Army came to mind. That is when raw recruits learn that sergeants aren't God. No, they are far more powerful than a mystical, and perhaps mythical, figure in the sky. Sergeants are on the ground right beside you and are there for the purpose of destroying any illusion of joy and happiness in your life.
Take the sergeant who carried a hickory switch that he used to thump recruits on the head. This was not a solid swagger stick carried by a puffed-up officer who hoped to swagger more impressively. The hickory switch was flexible so that it inflicted maximum pain without fracturing a skull.
The sergeant enjoyed using his stick on a helpless head on all occasions, but especially when we were duck waddling. His victims were those who were not quacking loudly enough, at least in his opinion.
While in an uncommonly good mood one day he explained why he carried and used the switch on people unable to retaliate. His exact words were, "I don't use the switch because I don't like you. I use the switch because I hate every bone in your worthless body."
His words were a morale booster. He didn't dislike us after all. In fact, after hearing them I felt almost as good as I do on the average day in my Golden Years.


Blogger Pam Robertson said...

Dick this brought a smile that was much appreciated -- your stories, even the poignant ones, are always great for stimulating a thought or too, and often a giggle too. A Sergeant with a switch -- cheeky blighter!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

Thank you, Pam.

12:09 PM  

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