Friday, April 15, 2011

Through the Looking Glass

   I'd never been out of the country --- actually I'd rarely been out of Alabama when I was drafted in 1971. Looking back I must have seemed like I was Gomer Pyle to the drill sergeants and other draftees at Fort Campbell. But I made it through basic training and my advanced training at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. 

   When I deplaned in Panama it felt like I was in the jet wash because the air was hot on my face. But it was like that the eighteen months I was in the tropics. 

   When the bus dropped me off at the front gates of Fort Clayton, I stood looking at the huge palm trees that line the drive. It was late afternoon and the sun had dipped down below the trees but it was still light. 
A breeze out of the west rattled the frons, and I could hear a chittering sound that I'd never heard before.
When I walked under the trees to get a better look, there were hundreds of colorful exotic birds singing their hearts out. If I'd been clever, I would have done a little research on the various species of birds there, and written them down in my journal.....but that didn't happen.

  I spent my time in the country wandering around seeing incredible things and all I have to show for it are flashes of memory --SHAZAM DRILL SERGEANT, LOOK AT THEM BIRDS..... or, LOOK AT THEM BIG OL' LIZARDS, or, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN WATER THAT COLOR? Hind sight is............

  I guess what started me down this path is, tonight we watched Alice in Wonderland. I regret that we didn't watch this one on the big screen. I re-read Alice a few years ago and I was totally blown away by the imagination of Lewis Carroll. 

  I hope you all have a remarkable weekend.


  1. I've never been to Panama and it just sounds so amazing!!!! I hope you get to return there but the imagination is a wonderful thing so I hope you get to visit this fab place frequently! Take care

  2. Wonderful piece of writing, Rick! It's so descriptive that I can see and feel your stepping out of the bus. The is a lot of talent in your house, I just read Jilda's post too. Between the two of you there is a lot of creativity! How is you studio coming? Can't wait to see pictures....

  3. never been to Panama but I love the Quintana Roo part of Mexico.

  4. I hope you and Jilda didn't sustain any damage from the storm. Good writing!

  5. I've read "Alice" twice with my daughter... the last time she was 7. Now that she's a teenager, I should perhaps introduce her to Jefferson Airplane (maybe not). Like your memories of going to the tropics for the first time...

  6. The remarkable thing about that memory of Panama, and for me of live in general in my life before 2000 is there is photographic evidence but not nearly as much as there is now.

    Everything is photographed and video recorded. Heck we all have a complete voice, still and action recording deevice on our bodies; the cell phone.

    I'm glad I have my memories and no photographic evidence. SMILE

  7. a- I was born in the Canal Zone
    b- would need two hands and a couple feet to count the places I have lived...including two times in Germany
    c- Alice in Wonderland is wasted on the youth
    (my mother has two babies in diapers in Panama and tells of panther alerts in the housing area)


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required