Sunday, May 3, 2020
Fiddler's Green - 2 May 2020
The man was tall, well built, dark haired, and wore classes. He was a bit befuddled. He was well mounted on his favorite Tennessee Walker, Big Boy, who stood at about 15 hands, but couldn't quite figure out why.
Nor could he figure out why he was clad in OG-107 jungle fatigues with his SFC stripes on the sleeve. He hadn't worn fatigues in years. A gray Milano was on his head, well weathered with a lot of miles ridden and pastures mowed on it. The Ted Williams 30-30 in the scabbard looked familiar. As did the M-79 hanging from his saddle horn. He hadn't used one of those since that day way back in 1964 when the VC nearly cut off the whole company.
The ramshackle bar and grill was crowded. And the hitching post out front had a couple of familiar looking horses tied up out front as well. A large neon sign read SCHLITZ. Well, that settled it. Riding up to the bar, the SFC hitched his horse. And on a hunch, dug into his right saddle back and fished out the small S&W J-Frame. The Model 30 dropped easily into his pocket. That felt normal. Two of the other horses tied up look so damn familiar as well.
Walking through the doors, he was greeted by a kid who looked too damn young to be wearing the PFC chevrons on his hat or to have that brown plastic gun on his hip. He doffed his hat and placed it on the convenient hat rack. Which was nearly full. Stetsons, a coon kin cap, a couple of campaign hats, one or two bus driver hats, a couple of berets.
The juke box was playing an old Don Williams song. A group of guys were playing cards at the nearest table. They looked friendly enough. The SFC was so damn confused. Miss Kitty popped a top on a can of beer before he even got to the bar and handed it to him with a smile. He felt better but was completely lost now. An old Sergeant Major in tiger stripes nodded as he took the offered beer. He had the Special Forces arrow head patch on his sleeve. He looked like some the guys who were really putting the hurting on Charlie up in the central highlands.
The dealer of the card game stopped shuffling.
"Mister Carlton, care to join in? Nickle buy in." JT said, happy to see his old friend. JT was wearing a set of 505s, with his Eight Army and 1st Cav patches in full color.
"Jay Tee?" I haven't seen you in 20 years."
"Hell Cart, he hadn't changed none." Mr. Ed said after sipping his beer. Ed was wearing a set of olive drab utilities, the Eagle, Globe and Anchor stenciled on the breast pocket.
"Uh....guys, where are we? I was just home. With Becky and the grandkids. I think Mack was there but he mumbled something and went outside."
"Yeah, Skee. You're at Fiddler's Green. Saint Peter hasn't something big planned he's pulled in a bunch of us here recently."
"The bar from the old Cavalry song?" Cart asked, totally lost now.
"Yeah, Skee. Welcome to the other side. You were missed here and you'll be missed back home. But like I said, Saint Peter has something big up. Bunch of us are up here. Pretty easy gig. Ride some, shoot some, train a little bit with the new kids, and then come here for a couple of beers."
"Okay." Cart said slightly taken aback, but glad to be in good company. JT and Ed explained the two familiar horses outside. After he got back from the 'Nam, and got settled in at the Mill, they were his riding buddies. A T/Sgt in the old Ike jacket, a big 4th Armored patch on his sleeve, walked out from the bathroom.
"Skee, good to see you." Uncle Homer also took a beer and set down at the card table.
"Oh, Cart, I nearly forgot, we heard you were coming a week or ago. Laid something on for you."
Captain Moreno walked in from the private party room, she was wearing those new fangled computer printed camo fatigues that Mack raved about.
"Hey, Sergeant. This little one waited up all night to see you." The Army nurse handed Cart the small little girl. And the baby started to goo. Cart really felt good now. He hadn't seen his Granddaughter since she was taken way to early. She smiled at the big friendly man. One of the most decent men on the planet. It was nice to have him here, not quite Heaven, but almost..
"Sorry Sergeant, but this little one has an early bed time." Captain Moreno said as she turned to leave with the swaddled new born. Cart felt a lot better. He took another beer from Miss Kitty.
"Deal me in." Cart said, glad to be among friends. His head felt a little better, the headache was gone, and his knee was obviously working. And hell, training for some big op didn't seem so bad.
Uncle Cart passed away yesterday. I can only hope and pray that his reception at Fiddler's Green was something like the above. He was a good man. All y'all would have liked him.
at May 03, 2020
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