Written by Bobby P. Stringer
I saw a farmhouse, a few little buildings and some sheds. I saw a pit where they were throwing in these reddest turnips. They threw these turnips into a long narrow pit about 5 to 6 feet wide. It appeared they were harvesting. I knocked on the door. I was scared to death, but I was so tired and hungry that I didnt care. They let me come into their house. They had a hibachi in the middle of the floor. It was nice and warm. It was a man and a woman with a teenage daughter. She brought me a Post Magazine and showed me a picture of new cars. She was pointing at the car, and pointing at me. I was showing her in hand jesters that when I got home I was going to buy a new car. I was flicking one hand over the other, as if I was counting money, and they gave me the thumps up in smiles. They thought that was neat. Her mother took off my boots. I was so tired that I overcame the fright. They took off my socks to dry. They brought me a bowl of rice, and a bowl kind of like a broth. It was too hot, so they took some peppers out of the bowl. I became so sleepy, sleepysleepy.
I didnt mean to fall asleep, and I woke up hours later. My clothes were all dry. I couldnt believe that after I opened my eyes I was still alive. I thought, What a nice family this is. I tried to give them some money I had in my wallet, but they wouldnt take it. They took a finger and made a motion across their throat, meaning they would get their throats slit if evidence was found they were harboring me. They went outside with me and pointed their finger in which direction to go.
Now, Im back up on the trail again. Going the direction they told me to go, same as before. After trotting for a couple of hours, I looked down and I saw houses and there was a creek dividing them. It good sized, dry creek bed. There were Chinese surrounding a big pot of food. They each had a little bowl pushing the rice in their mouths with chopsticks. I thought, I could reach up and grab one of them by his pants and pull him over the bank. I was that close to them. I made it through and passed through the Chinese in broad daylight! I was proud of me!
So, I got past the Chinese. I started up my fast trot again. I was homesick. I wanted to see the 8th Cav. so bad, cause I cant whip all those Chinese by myself. I kept thinking what a blunder General Macarthur had made. Any fool could have figured that out. A lot of guys lost their lives over that. What a stupid thing to do. We wouldnt have allowed Chinese that close to our border! It was pissing me off. I didnt want to think too much about this.
The next day, Im going like hell down the trail again. Go west, young man, go west. That is what I kept saying to myself. It kept my rhythm going. Then I came upon a few more small houses down the hill. The little pine trees were thick. I was taller than many of them. I crept as close as I could to see if I could get through the Chinese. Suddenly, I heard a noise behind me, Yuh! Yuh! I looked over my shoulder and there was a chink with a sub Thompson machine gun on me, the kind Al Capone and the Chicago gangsters used. Up to this point, we were told to shoot ourselves because the Koreans would wire our hands behind our backs and torture us, and then execute us with a bullet in the back of our heads. But they didnt seem like gooks to me. I knew they could have sawed me in half in a split second. So I decided to raise my hands and take a chance on living.
Down below the Chinese were eating. And so this guard that had me a gunpoint shouted below. They all rushed up the hill to see me. They took me down the hill. They took my 45. They were playing with it and I thought they going to shoot themselves. Caution was out the window. They were shouting and relying they had a prisoner. They had never seen a Caucasian before, only Chinese. All these Chinese were coming up to take a good look at me.
They gave me a small bowl of rice and another bowl of something else. I took a bite and, it was frickn HOT! They took out the peppers and burst out laughing. One Chinese came up to me and said, who, how and when? I would repeat the words and they would all start laughing. It was like I was their pet dog or something. I was relieved by now that I wasnt tortured and executed.
They had a muleskinner there. These guys moved their countrys supplies in massive two-wheeled carts. A big horse was in front of the cart to carry the weight and the skinny and agile mules were up ahead. These guys would snap their whips to the side of the mules to manipulate their movements. They were whipped trained. He was their equivalent to an 18-wheeled truck driver in America. In other words, he was their badass. He wanted to arm-wrestle me. I let him win the first round. They cheered him. He puffed up like a toad. It was too much for me. I took my ring off and tapped in on a table as a wager. I invited him back with a motion and grin. We gripped in force and I slammed his hand down. There were boos and cheers. Some were laughing at him, teasing him. It was one for the Americans. He patted me on the back.
Then they put me in a kitchen with an old man. There were 3 pots in the room with a chimney going up the back of the house. The channels kept the floors warm, as they cooked their food. He showed me how they beat our asses. He drew a wagon wheel on the dirt floor. He showed the inner hub as us, and the outer rim as the Chinese. The spokes were the bugles sounding off. And then, they closed ranks as we hunkered down. It was like a noose that tightens around the neck of the condemned into decapitation. He tried to tell me how they did it, but I already knew!
He had a twist of tobacco fastened on his belt. He pinched some off, put it in his pipe and handed it to me. He was a nice ole man. And then, this young female Chinese officer came in to see me. She must have been high-ranking. She jerked the pipe out of my hand, and kicked me on the legs. She was shaking her finger at the old man.
The Chinese marched at night, in the darkness about 30 miles. If they marched during the day, the planes would see them, and destroy them with napalm. Ive seen a lot of that in combat.
To be continued.
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