- Your “It’s The Great Debate!” Thursday Night NFL Football Open Thread – October 22, 2020
- Your “Another One?!” Monday Night Football Open Thread – October 19, 2020
- Your “You Can Thank Covid For This Bounty” Monday Early NFL Football Open Thread – October 19, 2020
It’s not often you get a whole boxcar to yourself but the thing is you can’t very much enjoy it. The rocking motion puts you to sleep, over and over again. I was headed west on the Pennsylvania ’cause I heard there was a get-together around New Goshen, Indiana-never heard of it before but what else was there to do? You never know with these meetups. Sometimes 5 folks showed, sometimes 20, sometimes 50. The big ones a real hoot, plenty of drinking and swapping of stories both real and tall. Where was I? Ah, the sleeping. I don’t dream much anymore but I dreamt of Johnny last night. I knew because I woke in a sweat that was both cold and warm. That hadn’t happened in a while. Hope it doesn’t happen again soon.
I met him in boot camp-I’d gotten kicked out of the house, there was a war on that the U.S. had recently joined and I figured I’d do my part. He was there on the bus headed to the base. You couldn’t miss him. Bright red hair, pale skin like it was a thin cotton bedsheet. He was getting a ribbing from some guys and wasn’t getting upset about it, kept his cool. I noticed that about him. After we got our brushcuts the jokes died down a little but not with our drill instructor-he lit into Johnny something fierce but Johnny would just take it, I mean what could he do, jaw back at him? I figured our instructor needed a whipping boy and Johnny could take it so that’s how it went.
The first time we were all allowed off the base Johnny wore this bright red bandana or maybe it was a neckerchief?, around his neck. I couldn’t believe it. He was inviting all kinds of shit-talking but it occurred to me that this kid, a kid just like me, was his own man. From that day forward we buddied up. Most times when guys rode him he smiled and looked down like he had some sort of secret he was gonna keep to himself. Things got rough a few times and we got into some scraps but nothing serious.
We made it through boot camp easy and were sent to England in mid-May of ’44. Things were coming to a head, there were so many rumors flying round but I knew we would be seeing some action. Sure enough, we found ourselves on a transport ship headed to ‘Utah Beach’. I thought it was kinda funny that them Frenchman had a beach with the same name of one of our states. Johnny was sitting across from me and we were both nervous as hell but we kept looking at each other and it was unspoken, ‘I’ve got your back and you got mine’. Just before we were about to jump out he yelled at me to get my attention and I saw that he had his ‘lucky’ red bandana tucked in his chest pocket. Big grin on his face. I laughed.
We made sure we were no more than 3 yards from each other as we made our way forward. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Johnny fall backward, his face in the sand. I rolled him over and he was done for. It looked like the bullet he took hit his shoulder and went into his neck. His eyes were glazed over, his mouth was moving and nothing was coming out. Then his eyes rolled back into his head and time seemed to hang in the air for a bit. I couldn’t see anything around me, there was no gunfire, no explosions. But then a bullet grazed my arm, stinging me back to now. I grabbed his lucky bandana out of his pocket and moved forward with the rest of the unit.
I couldn’t tell you what happened the next few days-I remember anger, fear, desperation, dread and other stuff all jumbled together as one. It was night near a fire later on when I was eating my rations that I ‘came to’. I dropped my food and wandered a little bit, finding a shed that I collapsed into and I began sobbing. I cried for a long time, so long that I pissed myself, not that it mattered one bit.
I kept hold of his bandana in the belief that the luck would work for me if it didn’t for him. It’s usually folded away among my things but when we have these get-togethers I tuck one corner of it in my front pocket and let it hang down. You see, you’ve got to stand out in some way so that you can be identified by your brothers. At one of my first ones a guy asked me what my nickname was. “Nickname? I never thought about it”. This old fella said, “Look over there, that’s Doulbledown Pete, over there’s Triple Trouble and that guy’s Frank Fancy. You gotta have a name.” I looked down at the bandana trailing out of my pocket, “I guess my name’s Johnny, Dead Johnny, is what it is.” The old man looked at me, turning the name over in his mind, “Dead Johnny… Dead Johnny… damn, that’s a good one, folks’ll remember that one for sure!”
And that’s how I got my name, and I gotta admit it’s catching on. What is it, ’48? Maybe 1949? I’ve been at this now for a few years anyway and the name is starting to get around…
/to be continued
TO THE GAME!
Cam Newton’s star turn last week caused many to overlook the fact that the entire receiving corps went 10 for 96 yards. That’s 2019 Michael Thomas numbers! Needless to say, this isn’t the most opportune time to get the passing game going. So look for more of Pats wr’s not being able to get separation and Cam trying to make the best of it.