Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"It Was a Dark and Stormy Night..." Stories, Pt I

Of the many fulfilling aspects of parenthood, telling bedtime stories must rank in the Top Ten for me. I remember fondly slouching on a chair next to Cary's bed or laying back on Tom's bed in the dim light of bedtime and bringing 'Varney the Vampire' to life once again, or creating the next cliff-hanger episode in the life of Mouse Marie. Stories are very important in my life. So, I think I'll tell a few.

Jamming With Westmoreland:

Anyone old enough to have lived through the Vietnam Conflict immediately recognizes the name Westmoreland--General William Westmoreland, Commander of All American Forces in RVN, The Republic of Vietnam. The steel jawed, Marlboro Cowboy-looking soldier who oversaw our First Defeat in a Major Conflict Ever. He kept demanding more soldiers. And even those of us who made a living avoiding any thought of Vietnam knew that when Westmoreland demanded more troops he got them, and every time he got more troops, we moved closer to the head of the line and a night ambush in a steamy jungle filled with guys in black pajamas.
       I hated Bill Westmoreland.
So, it was with some interest that I went on a sales call in 1993 to meet with a young attorney handling a large estate and looking for financial advice. The young attorney's name was Westmoreland. What were the odds, I asked myself on the subway ride to his office. Common enough name...
I walked into his office and saw two things simultaneously--a large framed portrait of 
His-Father-The-General (!!) and a white stratocaster (!!!) laying across a chair under the photograph of those all-too-rare moments in life. Westmoreland--that evil bastard who presided over the deaths of 58,000 American boys, the destruction of a country and deaths of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese--and the White Strat.  Jimi at Woodstock,  playing The Star-Spangled Banner with a smiling Westmoreland looking on from above.

What else could we do but jam all afternoon with tears in our eyes?

No comments:

Post a Comment