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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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Snakes and the U.S. Army

Apparently the first thing the United States Army does when picking out a site for a new camp is make sure the area is infested with snakes. Oddly enough, during my six years in the service during two wars I rarely saw a snake. I have no regrets about that.
Only one unfortunate fellow in my company was ever bitten by a snake. The biter was a huge rattler down at Camp Polk. The man was bitten about 10 o’clock one night and was back standing reveille at six the next morning. Life is really rotten when you can’t get a day off for something like that.
One of my more interesting experience concerning snakes came the day my National Guard outfit arrived at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for two weeks of summer camp. The squad leaders and platoon sergeants were ushered into a room and warned about the rattlesnakes that apparently were in every nook and cranny of the camp. This, like all Army lectures, went on and on until those with a brain were ready to scream out in protest and even those lacking a brain had received the message.
When the merciful end finally grew near we were told that all of us would be issued first aid equipment in case one of our men, or even – God forbid – one of us were actually bitten by a snake. The first aid equipment when it was handed to each man on the way out the door consisted of a single-edge razor blade.
During our fourteen days at McCoy I never saw a snake, nor did I hear about anyone else seeing one. A few of us did, however, see what must have been the granddaddy of all lizards. This fellow, who was close to three feet long, scurried across our area just after we had dug slit trenches in which we would spend the night. As we watched open-mouthed he leaped into the hole belonging to John Oliver. Fortunately Oliver was not in the hole at the time, but from a short distance away he cried, “Lizard, you just got yourself a home!”
Late that night a young soldier named Lester Gene Christy and I were standing guard in a deep foxhole dug especially for that purpose. Actually I was standing guard and Christy was sleeping. Before dark we had spread leaves far out from the hole in all directions in case an unwelcome visitor approached. Sure enough, something came slithering through the leaves. I jabbed Christy with the butt of my rifle and said, “Get up. Something’s coming this way.”
Never, even in months of infantry combat with Germans carrying cut-throat razors roaming around on patrol, have I ever seen anyone leap so high or take off running as fast as Christy did that night.
So what was slithering through the leaves? I have no idea because it turned tail and departed almost as fast as Christy.


Blogger STAG said...

Damn, here I figured I had figured that leaf trick out all on my own.

6:53 PM  

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