We’ll “BUG” Your Printing . . From the front door thru delivery we’re Union: Contracts with OPEIU No. 298, ITU Local No. 138, PPAU Local No. 143, Bookbinders Local No. 18, and of course the Rooters, Rushers and Expediters Local No. 1 FUTURA PRESS INC. Hickory 2-8682 .4111. Hickory 2-2426 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE P. 0. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS On Traveling Anecdotes Commerce My brother, S/Sgt. William E. Byrd, wrote me from Vietnam about a youngster who came over there. “He’d been there about a week, and one day he walked into the orderly room. The first sergeant looked up and said, “Son, what can_I do for you? The recruit answers, “Sarge, just how the hell can a man tell the difference between a North Vietnamese and a South Vietnamese?” “I’ll tell you, boy! Go get your weapon. Now, you walk out into the hills about two miles, you see a little man in black pajamas. Yell, just as loud as you can yell, “To hell with Ho Chi Minh.” The recruit takes off. He’s gone for four days. Sarge is ready to report him as missing when, late one evening, he comes staggering back. “Son,” says Sarge, “Where have you been and what happened to you?” “Well, Sarge,” the boy replied, “I did what you said. I looked and finally I spotted some black p.j.’s. I yelled ‘To hell with Ho Chi Minh,’ and he yelled back ‘To hell with MacNamara.’ And then while we were shaking hands this damn tank ran over both of us.” Strangely, I first heard this anecdote during World War II, with Roosevelt and Hitler referred to; then later it was Truman and Hirohito. To be consistent, this one should refer to LBJ, or even Dean Rusk, but it is still clear that it is what folklorists call “a traveling anecdote.” The writer, an English professor at East Texas State University, is a past president of the Texas Folklore Society. His latest publication is “J. Mason Brewer: Negro Folklorist.” He published an article on the traveling anecdote in the July 8, 1960 Observer. 12 The Texas Observer ATHENA MONTESSORI SCHOOL 01. RED RIVER AT 41ST Opposite Hancock Center GR 6-9700 or GL 4-4239 r =1 Leo Nitch, Director r ,11111 Z. Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto GR 7-4171 A “traveveling anecdote” has been defined by J. Frank Dobie as a good story which “keeps on traveling.” Its point, like that of a proverb “has universal applicability.” The more folksy an anecdote is, “the handier it is for passing on.” It is passed on, Dobie believes, with “an occasional variation.” To add a footnote to Dobie’s treatise, one might add that “traveling anecdotes” of war are folksy only in a grotesque, gruesome way. Another anecdote I heard in Europe James W. Byrd after W.W.II about the Germans later appeared with a South Pacific setting. In it, a kindhearted American soldier captures a wounded enemy soldier. He gives him water and a cigarette. They can’t talk, but they show each other pictures of wives and kids back home. About this time a tough American soldier walks up and machine guns the prisoner. The gentle American protests, until the Gerhidden hand grenade is revealed. I eventually found this story in print in a Korean war novel by Rex Pratt and saw it dramatized the same month in a movie version of a World War II novel by Norman Mailer. oh gods your powers provoking the towers of trees to the lilies of clouds. Your judgments invoking the ultimate oaths and silently choking The crass and the loud who, in fits of joking, left the earth a waste ash-charred and smoking. lifeless bodies that i fear i see adrift in endless space with me behind and giving chase, the finish ever drawing near, On May 10, 1967, in Paris, Texas, I read a version of the same anecdote, changed to fit the Vietnam war. According to the Associated Press and the Paris News of that day, this incident: ” ‘Out of the brush came a woman holding a kid. The woman was heading right for our helicopter and one of the South Vietnamese began yelling to her,’ said Marine Sgt. Bill Bloomfield, a Texan at war. “The woman refused to halt despite warnings from the Vietnamese soldier. “He yelled at her again and she just kept coming towards us,’ said Bloomfield, of DeSoto. “Suddenly that little guy cut loose with a blast from his machine gun and killed the woman and child. “Bloomfield, the helicopter crew chief said a Marine officer aboard became both sickened and angered at the incident. ” ‘He changed his mind when they found a plastic bomb hidden in her clothing,’ he said. “She apparently was going to try to get close enough to blow up our chopper.” Same song, second verse. The implications of both anecdotes, if true, are startling; if “traveling anecdotes,” as I believe, they are even more thought provoking. I suppose we folk must continue to believe such anecdotes; how else can we justify killing women and children? El yet never sure who lost the race When vestiges of the slow-footed pace time did erase from the blackboard sky with tints of light that reveal the chalk as hints of white laid concealed from sight from objects floating by. JESUS ASCENSION ARREOLA, JR. Austin The writer is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. His poetry has appeared previously in the Observer. CLASSIFIED ANNE’S TYPING SERVICE: Duplicating \(multiNotary. Specialize in rush jobs, including Sundays. Formerly known as Marjorie Delafield Typing and Duplicating Service. Call HI 2-7008, Austin. BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOK-PLATES, Yellow Springs 8, Ohio. glackboat2 sh y
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.