Mid-July in Minnesota, and it’s hot. On these muggy, miserable days, I take some sort of comfort in the memory that this is nowhere near the miserableness of my summer of 1968. That’s when I was drafted into the Army and spent those dreadful months in basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Polk, Louisiana (Two U.S. Army bases named after Confederate generals — 🙄).
So can you picture me trudging through the swamps of those Southern states with a rifle on my shoulder and a full backpack weighing me down — all for the now-laughable purpose of preparing mostly-pacifist me to be a killer in those even more miserable swamps of Vietnam??
It was bad, but that was as bad as it got. After all that prep, I didn’t have to serve in Vietnam. The universe was watching out for me. I wish I would have known that as I was sweating profusely, shaking mud out of my boots, swatting mosquitoes and watching armadillos scoot by. Get the picture?