Now Playing: A War Story
Sumtimes, when Maman is folding laundry inna Bun Room, she tells us whut she calls "War Stories". Sumhow, dey are allus aboudda time when she was werkin' assa p'fesshunal musician. Cos dat's whut she was bifore she wassa bunny-parent. Dere are ebben pikchurs ob her frum dat time, called "hed shots" which, when you come to fink abouddit, are a preddy skerry fing.
So she was telling us a speshul War Story, aboud her friend, whose name was Lloyd. He was also a friend ob Bim's. Lloyd went toda Rainbow Bridge not long ago, so Maman's talking aboud him was preddy unhexpekted; Maman hassa wotta trubble menshuning udder hoomins who go to da Rainbow Bridge (although wotsa hoomins don't unnerstand dis, cos dey only fink dat dey know Maman. Dey fink she is simple and easy to unnerstand - she is lazy and ungrateful is whut dey fink. Dey are wrong, but you can't tell "sum peeple" Dadda says. He doesn't fink too highly ob "sum peeple" for sum rezon.).
Ennyways, I wanna tell you aboud Maman's friend, Lloyd. He wassa'nudder musician, and a berry good wun. Maman says he was wun obba furst hoomins who ebber helped her in her p'fesshun, which is rilly saying sumfing, lemme tell you!
Well, when Lloyd was just starting out, Maman says datta whole werld was being taken ober by sum guy named "Hitler" who libbed ober in Europe, and sum udder guys who libbed ober in Japan. Maman says dat "Hitler" guy was a bad man, and datta Japanese was being misled. She says da whole fing was preddy p'litical, and dat it doesn't madder. It is His'try and you can read abouddit inna buk.
She says whut does madder issat one time she anna whole bunch ob her friends were sitting inna Hersal Hall, doing a rehearsal wif Lloyd for a show called Oklahoma!. And sumone came outta Lloyd's office inna theatre, carrying a brown paper sak. And inside ob dis sak, dere wassa musical instrumint called a "French Horn" (which, Maman say is neither French nor a horn, but dere you are), and da instrumint was all battered, and bent up, and discoloured, and it culdn't ebben be played. It was dat messed up!
Anna person said to Lloyd, "Hey Lloyd, whuttaheck happined to dis French Horn?"
And Maman sed Lloyd stopped da rehearsal, and he just kind sat rilly still on his conductor's stool and den he smiled, and he sed, "Funny fing aboud dat."
And den he began to tell dem aboudda French Horn.
He sed dat when he was eighteen years old, he knew he wanted to play da French Horn, but he didn't hab enough munnies to go to a fing called a "Conservatory", so he signed up wiffa United States Navy, cos dey wuld send him to skool to lern how to play da French Horn bedder, and maybe he culd be inna Navy Band dat played forda Pressydent obba United States. And he sed dis wuld be a great fing fora "kid frumma Midwest".
Yeah! He was dat good at playing da French Horn!
So since he was just starting out, and only eighteen years old, da Navy put him inna sailor suit and put him inna band onna Navy ship called da USS West Virginia, and sent dat ship to a place called Hawaii.
And he thought dis was all berry inner'restin' onna'count obba Fakt dat he was frum dat place called da Midwest, and had nebber seed an ocean, and had nebber lerned how to swim and had nebber bifore been onna ship, and had nebber heard obba place called "Pearl Harbour" bifore in his whole life!
And so it wassa Sunday morning and Lloyd wassn't ebben finking aboudda guy named "Hitler" or Japanese or ennyfing. In Fakt, he was standing in his underwears byda widdle sink, starin' innu a mirror and shabin' and wondering whut "Hawaii" was gonna be wike when he got offa ship and went on toda shore.
And alla sudden, he heard airplanes, and ebberyfing started hextploding alla'round him! And he was scared, and he started running to a fing called "Battle Stations", only when he got dere, it was all on fire. So he ran to anudder place, and he den dere wassa huge hextplosion, anna West Virginia sorta jumped up innu da air. And he wondered why dere were no guns shooting back atta airplanes dat were dropping bombs onna ships lined up inna harbour - specifically why da West Virginia wasn't shooting enny guns - and it was because da person wiffa key to alla bullets had alreaddy gone ashore!
So Lloyd was standing dere, wif ebberyfing all on fire around him, anna "officer" came by and sed to him,
"Whut are you doing, sailor?"
And Lloyd sed, "Standing by to abandon ship, Sir."
Anna officer sed, "Well do it, Sailor!"
And pushed him ober da railing.
And dere was Lloyd, who culdn't swim, inna wadder!
And he bemembers finking dat he hadda gedda'way frumma ship, because it was sinking and he didn't wanta get caught up innit, but dere was all kinds of *stuff* inna wadder, wike barrels, and wood, and more barrels, and den Lloyd saw a widdle boat drifitn' by.
So he grabbed on toda boat, and berry carefuuly taked off his shooes and put dem inna boat! He sed he bemembers finking dat dose were his best shooes and he hadda take care ob dem. He sed dat when you are skerred outta your mind, da strangest fings occur to you - Wike saving your shooes inna middle ob Pearl Harbour.
And den he bemembers wooking around forda West Virginia, and she was gone.
Anna whole sea all around him was on fire, and he was all OnAlone.
And nextest, he bemembered dat he was stumbling onna beach, and dere wassa house, anna door was open, so he knocked but no one answered. So onna'count obba Fakt datta door was open, he went inside, and he went innu da bedroom and found sum shirts inna closet, and he put wun on, because he didn't fink he shuld be runnin' around all wet, wif no shirt and only his Navy unnerpants and socks on.
And den sum guy came in and axted him whut he was doin' and called him "sir", and dat puzzled Lloyd, but dat was hokay, cos he was beginning to find ebberyfing preddy puzzling now. And he left a note saying he had borrowed da shirt and wuld return it as soon as he culd, and went off wiffa guy who called him "sir". And he noticed datta shirt had dees, wike, leafs onna collar, but Lloyd sed he didn't rilly getta point obba oak leafs onna shirt atta time, onna'count obba Fakt dat he had just more or less been blown off his ship.
And dat guy he was wif gabe Lloyd a gun and told him to go "on guard dooty".
Well, da only fing was, Lloyd had nebber been taught ennyfing aboud guns onna'count obba Fakt dat he had been in Navy Musician Skool. So he went wandering around onna beach, wiffa gun, inna borrowed shirt wif leafs onna shoulders and unnerpants, on guard against whutebber - until sum udder Navy people found him, and took him to a place where he could lie down and sleep, and get sum food and figger out whut had just happined to him.
Whut had happined to him was "Pearl Harbour". Da West Virginia had been sunk in her berth, going straight to the bottom, taking Lloyd's French Horn wif her.
Well, wiffoud his French Horn, Lloyd wasn't much use to the Navy band and cossa Hitler in Europe dere wasn't enough special metal (called "brass") to make anudder French Horn for him to play, so he taught himself to play da guitar rilly, rily well (Maman sed he wassa fantastic musician!) and da Navy decided dey did need him inna band afta all! They put him innu da Jazz Band atta Officers' Club atta Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and he spent da rest obba Werld War Two playing inna jazz band for sailors on "R & R" at nite, and making up beds during da day. And dat's whut he did from 1942 until 1945.
And afta da War was finally ober, da Navy raised da West Virginia frumma bottom ob Pearl Harbour, and dey found Lloyd's French Horn unnerneaf ob his bunk! So dey put it inna paper sak, and sent it to Lloyd, and he put it in his office, which is where Maman and her friends found it. And Lloyd took dat whole rehearsal forda show Oklahoma! to tell dem aboud Pearl Harbour and his French Horn.
So why am I telling you dis War Story? Becos Maman sed dat we Shuld Allus Bemember whut sum Young Hoomins are doing for us, datta Navy, anna Army, anna Air Force, anna Marines anna Coast Guard are all made up ob young - berry young - hoomins, wike Lloyd and Bim, and wike our Phil-da-Lad, and Auntie Grace's Matt, who are
all in skerry situations ebbery day, all ob dem doing dere best to keep alla us safe.
And tiday is Pearl Harbour Day.
So if you sumone inna uniform tiday, please go shake their hand and say, "Fank you for serving."
And if you have a spare momint, please senda prayer or a vibe for alla brave young hoomins who went toda Rainbow Bridge on dat Sunday in Hawaii.
--------------------- By George