Volume XVI, No. 35
Frank Fax Facts
Volume XVI, No. 35
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
I never even think of myself as a Veteran; and I am sure that is because I spent most of my 2-years sitting behind a desk. I was the Librarian and “Chronologist” (more about that later), Historical Division* of the U.S. Army in Europe, stationed in Karlsruhe, Germany, or USAREUR. (if my memory hasn’t deceived me.)
As you surely know, Thursday was Veterans’ Day. When I was a school student, this was called Armistice Day, and we seldom did little more than acknowledge it’s easy-to-remember date. On one of those long ago November 11th’ s, Dewitt Pickering (pronounced DE-witt) sat at his desk during class and posed this riddle: “How do you write ARMISTICE DAY with 5 straight lines?” Seated at my desk, I thought smugly “That’s impossible!!” For once, I kept my mouth shut. Dewitt rose and strutted (he was the band master and baton twirler, after all) to the black board, took a piece of chalk and proceeded to write,“11/11”! The class, as a whole, gasped in amaze and amusement!
But, in today’s totally different world, schools were let out, the city of Mobile had an excellent downtown parade (after all, Mardi Gras began here!) and even had Ann-Margaret as the “Grand Marshal.
Father Gorman had invited me and the rest of our little ”St. Edmund’s Holiday Trio”, composed of Elizabeth French-violinist, and Sam Woodward-cellist), plus Peggy Raines (the lovely widow of Vernon Raines, who founded the Mobile Symphony Orchestra in the 1950’s.) to lunch at the Red Lobster. When we were seated at our table, the waitress asked if any of our party was a veteran. I didn’t say anything, but the ladies both said, “Frank is!” I surely blushed, so embarrassed was I. But when the waitress told me that I could order either a free appetizer or dessert if I had anything to identify me as a veteran, on, I stammered that I had never seen combat (as I brought forth my wallet in which I keep my VA identification card, with my picture and service number) and she said that did not matter. It was a delicious (as always) lunch; three of us had the special seafood plate (shrimp scampi, fried shrimp and three pieces of Tilapia, plus baked potato and Cole slaw for me). When we had finished our meal, the waitress brought me the dessert menu, since the others declined anything more. Actually, I was almost too full to appreciate the “heavenly” cheesecake with fresh strawberries that I selected, so I passed it around the table twice, as each one shared in my "un-earned" dessert. At least that’s as I see it!
*(Better known by us, the very fortunate members, as the “Hysterical Derision”)
Southern Miss was a 10-point under-dog to the University of Central Florida (which is now the third largest college in the nation.) But USM, who got off to a horrible start (UCF led 14-0 almost immediately) got back on track and surprised everybody (me, most of all) by holding “The Golden Knights” (whose colors are black and gold, just like USM) scoreless until the 4th quarter. Final score: USM 31-UCF 21 (just the reverse of the prediction of the 10 points). Now both teams are 7-3 with two more games to play. Until yesterday, UCF was the team considered most likely to go to the Liberty Bowl (C-USA’s best bowl of six) but anything is possible now. ECU (who beat USM) was fallen out of contention for the Conference crown, but the Golden Eagles are still in the close race.
“Cats whiskers are so sensitive, they can find their way though the narrowest crack in a broken heart.”
Chapter 2 (second half)
Everyone in the 5th grade seemed be catching chicken Pox! Everyone but me, that is. Mama never allowed any of us the luxury of staying home, no matter how sick we tried to act. On a day when I felt particularly eager to go home, I raised my hand, as listlessly as I could manage. This finally caught Miss Mildred Nicholson’s attention, and she asked, “Yes?”
“Miss Nicholson, I’m sick!”
She rose from her chair and walked over to my desk. She laid her cold, bony hand on my brow, and said, “Well, you certainly do not have a temperature.”
“But I feel really sick!” I insisted.
“You do not look the least bit sick! Listen, if you’re pretending that you’re coming down with Chicken Pox, just to get to go home, forget it!” She could be mighty hard and hateful at times. “Because,” she continued, and by how I hated her guts, “when you get Chicken Pox; that is, if you get it, you’ll know it, believe me. Even your hair hurts then.”
The rest of the class was thoroughly enjoying our little disagreement. I felt that I was being treated unfairly, but declined saying any more about it.
One week later, I awoke with a raging fever. Mama rook one look at me and said, “Well, I was afraid you’d catch that mess sooner or later!”
I felt awful. I finally got to stay home (the first time this had happened up to that point.) But, contrary to Miss Nicholson’s assessment of the disease, my hair never seemed to bother me.
When the dreaded pox began to cover my entire little body, I was cautioned by each brother and sister, Mama and Daddy, too, not to dare scratch them. “Or you’ll end up all scarred for life!”
They did itch horribly, and being used to having my own way most of the time, I did try not to scratch them; yet I still carry a few scars from my pox. As if to make the point more forcefully, Mother Nature saw to it that I had Shingles a few years ago. The doctor I saw with the latter disease assured me I did not have Shingles, with the results that I did not get the vaccination that would have prevented me form having several new scars.
I simply have never been able to convince anybody that I am sick!
CHRONOLOGIST: a term "invented" by Cpl George Caravasious, who was my "boss" in the library. He began (to make "the Brass" think he was working diligently) arranging all the articles we had on the shelves in chronological order: one index card per entry. We had many a laugh over the fact that the officers we were under took it seriously. Unfortunately, when George left, I was stuck with the job, which I loathed!