Oct. 16th: 0830 hours

Dear Dad,

I finally received the letters that you wrote to me about a month ago. It seems they went to some other Ben Pierce in an infantry unit. They finally made it back to me. I hope my letters to you have arrived home with more success and in a more timely fashion.

In answer to your questions; YES! Please mail me some long underwear! Send me gloves, mittens, socks, parkas, scarves...you name it, I need it.

It is already cold here. And getting colder every day. This time next month, we'll be into the rainy season. Just what we need. We can be hip deep in both blood and mud. So send what you can. I'll probably receive it some time in May.

Luckily, in the midst of all this misery, there is Sarabeth MacAllister. She continually brightens my days. She is a surgical nurse of the finest kind. And she's witty. And very good looking. I enjoy being with her so much.

I met one of her brothers the other day. Colonel Crockett MacAllister. He's in G-2...Army Intelligence. I'm not sure exactly what he does. Reconnaissance, I think. Both of them were vague on that point.

He is one of the few people connected with A I who may actually have any intelligence. He is an shrewd observer of people. I had the feeling that he was analyzing and evaluating everything we said and did. I don't think people get away with much around him. Except...probably Sarabeth can.

I must confess that I was nervous about meeting him. The fact that he is roughly the size of a barn had everything in the world to do with it. And, he is very protective of his sister. So, I was glad he shook my hand and not my entire body.

He and Sarabeth look very much alike. They have many of the same facial expressions. Their sense of humor is similar. They like to make each other laugh, as well as other people.

She played a wonderful trick on us the other day. We were in the Swamp while she was teaching us how to play a domino game. She shared a package of baked goods with us. We all ate some of the cookies and raved about the taste. They were very good!

B J asked what kind they were. Sarabeth looked us straight in the eye---without a hint of planned mischief---and answered: cow pies.

Being city boys, it took us a few seconds to realize what she was implying. You should have seen the looks on B J and Charles's faces! It was priceless! I don't know how I looked---but Sarabeth was laughing so hard at us, she was having trouble breathing.

Every time she tried to speak, she'd break into the giggles again. Finally, holding her sides, with tears running down her cheeks, she managed to tell us that the cookies weren't made of cow manure...only called that. She said that, years ago, her brother, Travis, had named those double chocolate chip cookies ‘cow pies' because they looked very similar to the contributions left by the cattle on their ranch.

We all started laughing and carrying on. Except Charles, of course. And even he smiled. The puns got even worse after that. For the rest of the night, (until she had to go on 11pm duty) anytime we reached into the cookie tin or made eye contact with one another, we'd dissolve into laughter.

I really enjoyed that evening! That was probably one of the best times we've had over here. It was also one of the best jokes I've ever had played on me.

You know how much I despair at being constantly surrounded by everything colored olive drab. That's one reason why I wear my Hawaiian shirt and my purple bathrobe so much of the time...because they break up the monotony.

Maybe that explains why I'm so fascinated with Sarabeth's hair. It is definitely not ordinary. She really stands out in a crowd. Her hair is red...but not the color of blood. It's a more cheery, sunshiny shade of red.

Sarabeth keeps her hair pulled back from her face. She has several different hairstyles. Sometimes she wears it in a ‘ponytail'; sometimes she uses a barrette to pull some of it back, letting the rest hang free; sometimes it's in a bun at the base of her neck; most of the time, however, she braids it. (She even has three or four different ways to braid it.)

In addition to cookies and dominoes, she must have received several hair ribbons from home. Recently, she has taken to wearing a different colored ribbon or bow in her hair every day. I know I'm not the only one who anticipates seeing her smiling face and her colorful ribbons fluttering in the breeze each morning.

You may be thinking that I'm spending a great deal of my time watching her. You're right. But it is better than thinking of the hundreds of broken bodies I'd had to try to glue back together. To me, Sarabeth is like a lighthouse...every time I feel myself slipping, I look at her and I feel anchored to life again.

I just read that last paragraph over again. It sounds silly to me. I enjoy watching her because she has wonderful hair and a body that drives me wild...that's all.

We are planning to have a costume party at Halloween...if the North Koreans will cooperate. B J and I are talking about having some kind of competition between us and the 8063rd. Water glove tossing. Bobbing for nurses. A doctor's kissing booth. Things like that. It should be fun.

Planning this party has made me think of all the fun we had in the fall. I miss you, and Crabapple Cove, this time of year. Who am I kidding? I miss home every day---every minute---of the year.

I need to think of something to cheer up B J. With Halloween coming soon, Thanksgiving and Christmas won't be too far behind. His daughter, Erin, is growing so fast. And he hates missing these important times in her life. Any time he gets a letter from Peg, telling him that the car needed to be worked on, or that the gutters needed cleaning, he agonizes over not being there for her. And for Erin. B J is my best friend in the whole world. I have to think of something to do for him.

They just called us to triage, Dad. I'll try to write more later.

Love always---your son,


Back | Forward