There was one English TV station in Vietnam; Armed Forces Viet Nam…AFVN. I had bought a little 8″ TV at the PX. Most of the time there was no use for it except a pain in the butt as we were getting shoved around all over the delta. But, if there was a generator around it (the TV) provided a tiny link to the world. Old TV shows, military news propaganda and a few sports games were live to mention some. It mostly just proved there was something else “out there” and the world did not end when we went boot-down in country.
Two things on the TV stand out clear over all the years. One was in ’69 when they broke into regular programs to broadcast the audio (no video) live from NASA as the first man stepped onto the moon. Everyone who could get to electricity with a TV had been waiting on that one. The second was the death of Martin Luther King. That event took over the TV schedule for an entire week or more until no one bothered with TV or radio.
At the time of King’s death there were probably around 150-250 American KIA a week and God knows how many wounded. No one was insensitive to King’s death but after a bit it just seemed all-out-of proportion to the reality with which we lived daily.
“My years on the trail were the happiest I have lived. There were many hardships and dangers that called on all a man had of endurance and bravery. But when all went well, there was no other life so pleasant. Most of the time we were solitary adventurers in a great land as fresh and new as a spring morning.”
Charles Foxwing Goodnight
Goodnight was the founder of numerous ranches, the Goodnight-Loving trail, the Goodnight trail and preserver of the great Bison. He founded Goodnight, TX & the Goodnight College there. He was a Texas Ranger and a Confederate soldier (served in Texas guarding against Indian attack throughout the Civil War). He was the inspiration for Woodrow F. Call in Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” novels. His partner, Oliver Loving, was the inspiration for Augustus McRae. When Loving died in New Mexico from an infected arrow wound Goodnight brought him back to Weatherford, TX for burial.
At the time of his death Goodnight had “lost it all”. He believed himself to have been a failure. He actually epitomized the national conception of frontiersman, cattleman, explorer and businessman. His long life (91) of adventures are the stuff of legend. He represented the best American concepts of honor, bravery and freedom.
Press #3 for Attila the Huns
Hey big A, what’s up??
It’s me, Johnny, your 66th great-grandson…
WHAT do you want…I’m very busy with executions.
Just thot I would give you a call Paw.
There are better times Johnny…go play with your slaves.
We don’t have slaves now days…
Your loss…we’re killing several right now, should I send you a few…
Why thanks Paw, that’s generous…
They’re just plant food…anything else you want?
Naw, just wanted you to know I am thinking about you after all these centuries
I took a word bath the other day
& was amazed to learn
the damn things really burn
but it’s ok ’cause of the lesson earned
yes My heart has eternally yearned
that for which my soul must eternally pay
for that earthy lost memory of May
when I lost much more than I might say.
The words, of course, were mine
funny how such things explode
as a spirit drifts from the normal mode
seeking serious things in comic abode.
It’s been a long old road
as the interminal days align
into that path of each life’s great design
and fear we do it’s been much too benign.
and the years have bestowed
only this lonely rhyme
of that ancient crossroad
of dreams filled and wants denied.