It was a typical Sunday morning breakfast, for the first weekend after payday. At least a third of the Company was not home. Another third was still in bed asleep. But the last third more than made up for the absences in the loudness of their drunken laughter and horseplay and the clashing of cutlery and halfpint milk bottles.
Warden was just going back for seconds on both hotcakes and eggs, with that voracious appetite he always had when he was drunk, when this blast shuddered by under the floor and rattled the cups on the tables and then rolled on off across the quad like a high wave at sea in a storm.
He stopped in the doorway of the KP room and looked back at the messhall. He remembered the picture the rest of his life. It had become very quiet and everybody had stopped eating and looked up at each other.
"Must be doin some dynamitin down to Wheeler Field," somebody said tentatively.
"I heard they was clearin some ground for a new fighter strip," somebody else agreed.
That seemed to satisfy everybody. They went back to their eating. Warden heard a laugh ring out above the hungry gnashings of cutlery on china, as he turned back into the KP room. The tail of the chow line was still moving past the two griddles, and he made a mental note to go behind the cooks' serving table when he bucked the line this time, so as not to make it so obvious.
That was when the second blast came. He could hear it a long way off coming toward them under the ground; then it was there before he could move, rattling the cups and plates in the KP sinks and the rinsing racks; then it was gone and he could hear it going away northeast toward the 21st Infantry's football field. Both the KPs were looking at him.
He reached out to put his plate on the nearest flat surface, holding it carefully in both hands so it would not get broken while he congratulated himself on his presence of mind, and then turned back to the messhall, the KPs still watching him.
As there was nothing under the plate, it fell on the floor and crashed in the silence, but nobody heard it because the third groundswell of blast had already reached the PX and was just about to them. It passed under, rattling everything, just as he got back to the NCOs' table.
"This is it," somebody said quite simply.
- James Jones, From Here to Eternity
We're off to Hawai'i -- except right now we're stuck in Cincinnati, waiting for our 2 hour late plane to get in from Honolulu, load us in, and fly back to Honolulu. (Apparently, it shuttles back and forth, kinda like New York's 14th Street L.) To make up for the inconvenience, Delta has given us $7 meal vouchers. I'm about to go search the food court for a poi stand.
Anyone have friends on Oahu?
As previously noted Jeff and I are going on a 9-day Hawaiian vacation, leaving this weekend. One place I'd like to revisit is Hickam Air Force Base, where I was stationed in the early 70's. Unfortunately, base tours are infrequent and limited. What would work better is to find a local sponsor, someone on Oahu who is either active duty or retired military or employed by the military, who has a base privilege pass, and could sign me in and be my escort for a couple of hours while I wandered around indulging my nostalgia.
So I'm calling on the power of Live Journal's 2 degrees of separation. Anybody know somebody who could help me out? Reply by comment here, (or email to tychoanomaly at gmail dot com). Thanks!
No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done. Other things leave me, but it abides; other things change, but it remains the same. For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun, the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud rack; I can feel the spirit of its woodland solitudes, I can hear the plash of its brooks, in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago. -- Mark TwainThirty-four years ago today, I was on Oahu, finishing my four-year Air Force enlistment, which included a 2-1/2 year stint at Hickam AFB.
This August, Jeff and I celebrate my 60th birthday with a return visit. It's my first time back since 1973. Jeff's never been -- I'm looking forward to showing him the sights.
We've started saving our pennies and doing the research. Any advice from recent visitors is welcome, especially regarding package tours, bed & breakfasts, and such.