21 November 2013

Dead in Panama

Jungle Ops Training Center (JOTC) at Ft Sherman, Canal Zone

JOTC barracks reflected in crew chief's visor

Bravo Company, 1/325, 82nd Abn Div, on the Rio Chagres

Unloading LST

Rising Sun over Limon Bay

One of the strangest conversations I ever had with Dad, and there were some strange ones, concerned my being killed in Panama.  Dad was informed by my mother, who,  according to Dad, seemed to be on another planet.  She approached him in our backyard where he had set up a radial arm saw and spent as much time as he possibly could cutting wood and avoiding people.

"John's dead." she said.  "What?" he said, turning off the saw.  "John's dead.  It happened early this morning." He was stunned.  How could it have happened? And then he remembered I was in Panama.  He knew it could have happened any number of ways and plenty ran through his head.

He looked at her and said, "Our son's not supposed to die before us."  She cocked her head, "What are you talking about?"  "John," he said.  "You said he was dead."  "No," she said. "My uncle -- John -- he died this morning." "Oh," he said. She turned and walked back into the house.  He switched the saw on and grabbed another piece of plywood.


M.Lane said...

Brutal. My dad said once "you may think you have problems but you don't have any problems until you put a child in the ground". Lucky it was Uncle John.


Smitty said...

"Uncle" was the operative word.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Damn, man...I can literally hear the saw slowing down when the ol' man turned it off...that distinctive dying rasp of electrical revolutions.

Bigdaddyman said...

Ouch. That cut me to the quick, especially Trad Dad thinking there were any number of ways his son could die in Panama.

Oyster Guy said...

For me the big question is did your mum know what she was doing? I once witnessed my mum deliberately tell my dad half a story just to gauge his reaction. Not very nice....

Anonymous said...

Okay, that was spooky.

That last shot is really nice. You could work with it in the DR or on the Mac if you had a nice scan of the neg. My guess though, is you already have, and I'm looking at a really rough scan.