More stories my father told me.
As a kid I was regaled with tales of my father’s exploits in the Corps. To me it was like listening to the bold adventures of Tarzan or King Arthur. Sadly, in modern times these same adventures will earn young Marines reprimands both administrative and verbally concussive. [ I know many a FAST Marine reads these entries and yes, I will destroy you if you reenact anything you see printed here.]
He told me how Sailors used to sew silver dollar coins into their neckerchiefs. In a pinch, swabbies would yank their neckerchief off and have a nice sap in hand. Marines however, would sharpen the edges of the buckles on their web belts. Before a fight they would wrap the belt around their knuckles leaving about four or five inches of web belt hanging out with a nice sharpened brass buckle swinging from the end. This brass was also highly polished of course. One couldn’t get into a proper bar brawl with tarnished brass. The horror!
My dad related to me a short saga about the night he entered a bar frequented by both Sailors and Marines. The Marines were shooting pool in the back room and Sailors were taking their drinks in the front bar. In ancient times servicemen wore their uniforms all the time, even on liberty. It was easy to spot who’s who in the zoo.
Passing a table of eight Sailors my old man heard one of them derisively remark: “Chicken$#!% Marines…” Unsure if he heard correctly, my father approached the table. Approach in this case would mean: ‘loomed in with all his aggression.’
“Any of you &*$$!%$ want to fight then stand up right NOW!” His fists smashed into the tabletop for emphasis, jaw set and eyes glaring. They declined to accept his invitation, each of them suddenly finding the bottom of his beer glass intimately fascinating.
“But dad, what if they had all stood up?” I remember asking him excitedly, expecting judo chops and bodies hurled through windows. Rarely did my father spin a yarn that didn’t end in violence of one kind or another.
He shrugged his shoulders: “I guess they would have whooped me. But they didn’t stand up.”
All’s well that ends well.