My father began every story with those words. He’d lean back in the kitchen chair—where most stories were told—and tilted his John Deere cap to the side. Well, then...
Me and Sweetman were on a long run over the China Hump…you know what that is, dontcha? Well, that is a flight over Burma and China to Japan. We dropped bombs on towns there... Well, then.
It took close to, oh say 24 hours to fly there and back. We'd stop over in China to unload food supplies for the hungry Chinese. Then take off to fly low over the waters, so low that we could see the white caps on the waves. I betcha we coulda reached out to grab some sea water.
Flew low to conserve fuel. Plane was heavy. Man, it was heavy with fuel tanks and artillery. Me and Sweetman were bay gunners. The closer we got to Japan, Japs would be buzzing around us like hornets. Me and Sweetman would shoot at 'em, heavy guns and loud. Now and then, we’d say, “I got one…”
Well, then. This story is about a rule we had on the bomber. The first one who had to pee would have to clean the latrine. Nasty, bad job.
Ol’ Gandy had to go bad. The rest of us were pent-up about the mission, we couldn’t have peed for nothing. But Gundy had to go.
But the latrine? He decided he’d open the bomb bay doors just a little and pee down them. Worked just fine.
Then we heard the navigator Ol' Shelton say somethin’ like. “What’s this? Yellow sea water?” He smacked his lips, wiped his face. “Tastes funny.”
We never told him what it was. Don’t think he’da like it.
Top row (rt. To lt.): Charles T. Roc, Charles H. Donald, Ronald M. Gandy, Louis E. Peck (my dad), John Sweetman
Middle Row: Capt. William O Ezell (pilot), Lt. Hump Halsey (co-pilot), Arthur M. Shelton, Merril Williams
Front: James D. Waring, Robert Quick
Well, then Dad would stand up, straighten his cap, and go out to do chores.
Some stories don’t need an end. Others do.