…in the Nursing Home, that is.
Dad spent about three hours playing with it and yelling at us what a “great rig” it was. The volume was so high that I could hear the lyrics from across the room. Every now and again he’d ask if it was his or my brother’s, and did I think he ought to get one for himself? Give him a break – he’s 87.
He may have his days where he can’t remember what happened five minutes ago, but he has no problem with what happened 65 years ago. He told me the “Cabbage Story” again, at my request.
That was a big ship we went Overseas on. Everybody had a job they had to do, and I ended up doing prep work in the galley. You never saw such a big space, either. There’d be fifty soldiers working down there at once, getting the meals ready.
We’d be peeling potatoes, or cabbages, or brussels sprouts. Those little buggers are hard to peel – I still hate brussels sprouts to this day, don’t I, Maude?
Mother: I guess so.
Dad: You’re darn right, I do! I hated having to peel those things. We’d be down there for hours at a time, hunched over, peeling vegetables – it got pretty boring. Now and again we’d get up to shenanigans, like the time that big Mulatto fella almost stabbed me to death… closest I came to getting killed during the whole war.
Mother: Well, what about when you spent all those months in the hospital with Diphtheria?! That nearly killed you!
Dad: Well, there’s a big difference between dying of Diphtheria and getting stabbed to death by a big Mulatto fella, now, isn’t there?!
Mother: I guess so…
Dad: You’re darn right there is!
Me: So how’d you nearly get stabbed to death by a big Mulatto fella?
Dad: I hit him in the head with a cabbage.
(at this point the conversation pauses… as it does every time he tells me this story, because neither of us can stop laughing for a bit…)
We were bored, see? And we got up to a game of catch. We were supposed to be peeling cabbages in our group, and the outer leaves come off just as easy when you toss a cabbage twenty feet across the room to the guy on the other side. I suppose we could have peeled them faster if we hadn’t been fooling around, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun, I guess.
Anyway, I was tossing cabbages back and forth with another guy, and the cabbage we were using for a ball was pretty much peeled, when this big Mulatto fella come walking in between us, just as I heaved my cabbage across the room. Smacked him right upside the head with it.
Cabbages are hard, too, when all the fluffy stuff is peeled off. He was a big fella, though, and even though it smacked him pretty good, it didn’t knock him over. He turned and looked at me and I knew I was gonna pay for throwing that cabbage.
Then he snatched up a knife and started walking toward me, and I knew I was a dead man.
Mother: You’ll notice he’s not walking around dead about now…
Dad: You shhhh – ush!
Me: Yeah, Dad – how’d you get outta getting stabbed to death?
Dad: I don’t know. He just stopped about half-way and put the knife down. He didn’t even say anything, just walked away. Maybe he thought better of it, or figured I wasn’t worth a court-martial. Anyway, he didn’t stab me to death, so that’s good.
Me: What’d you do then?
Dad: I went to my bunk and changed my pants.
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Random Song for the Day: “Friend is a Four-Letter Word” – Cake