Excerpt from my novel
12: Sunday Bulletin
Johnny—most of the old timers being drafted—was caddying on the bright, sunny day of infamy. Ricocheting round the course was news of the bombing. Johnny had never heard of Pearl Harbor nor did the other caddies in the foursome. His golfer explained what and where it was. Johnny thought of the strange places depicted in war cards that had no true sense of place, no meaning just as the early years of the war in Europe had no meaning until Pamela unsettled his mind.
He didn't have long to wait on the Belt Parkway ramp to hitch a ride. He knew why when a young lady who stopped for him was anxious about the news, having no car radio, and wanted to know what he thought of it. He was embarrassed because he all he knew was what he heard while on the golf course. But he did tell her it meant that he was but four months away from Parris Island. She let out a moan, and squealed, "Oh, God, my brother is about your age too!"
After the kind lady dropped him off and he reached his block, he stopped at Sally's and rang the front door bell.
Mr. Byron opened the door and invited him in. He had the radio on. Continual news accounts, commentary and speculation abounded over the air. The father gestured for him to sit down on a high back mohair. Johnny politely responded, though he was in no mood to talk with him. He would rather discuss the dramatic event with Sally or get home to his mother who was sure to be worrying. Actually Johnny had been getting along fine with Mr. Byron. Some months ago Byron informed him that the Seabees, likewise the Engineer Corps, turned him down because of his age and thin credentials, Johnny’s nagging resentment of him turned to minimal admiration. Earlier hostility had subsided in his mind when Byron volunteered to relieve Johnny from Sally and Pamela’s organization so he could caddy on weekends. Carl Byron bent his ear to the radio for a moment and then looked at Johnny and said gravely, "A real shocker, eh, Johnny?—even though we knew it was coming."
"Yes, sir, we knew, but not like this. Those Nips are real animals!"
"Right you are—like weasels." He stretched to lower the radio. "I wonder if they’d take me now?"
"Yes, sir, they might have to change the requirements," Johnny answered as though he knew something about it. He looked over his shoulder, wondering if Sally had heard the doorbell.
Byron noticed. "Oh, Sally’s not home. She and her mother are to Our Lady of Lourdes for prayer. You know, how women are.…Would you like a coke…or maybe even a beer?…Many a kid will be volunteering tomorrow—old enough to fight but not to vote, nor drink.…Crazy world. You’re getting close to the age; fortunately you won ’t have to go."
"Maybe not, but I think everyone who can go, should," Johnny averred the fervor of youth.
"Well, I sure would like to, but I don’t think the government will agree at my age."
"You never know, sir."
"Yes,…You know, we both just said that we knew it would happen. But, you know, I regret now having disagreed with your father in the early thirties. I used to remind him that he fought a war to end all, and that Hitler was just a fleeting joker that would fall by the wayside. Strange how some see and others don’t. Yeah, Johnny, you had some smart father—a hell of a construction man, too."
Johnny liked that, except for the construction aspect, but he wanted to leave: "Well, thank you, Mr. Byron, I have to get home to my mother and see how she’s measuring up."
"Yes, the poor lady. I’m sure she’s thinking of Ray. But, Johnny, strange as it sounds this is the best thing for him. He gets plenty of help now."
"Right, sir, right," Johnny agreed with surprised delight, then pulled himself out of the cushiony chair.
Byron followed him to the door. "Tell, Bridget, to keep her chin up. Granted, it won’t be a pretty scene in the nation, but it does mean that the end will come sooner now. We’ ve finally seen the light the hard way in the burning ships at the harbor." ...
Amazon ISBN 1413754880
Copyright © 2008 Richard R. Kennedy All rights reserved. Revised: Aug 15, 2008.