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Tuesday, 03 November 2015

If You Can't Go Up, Go Under

By Clifford Rothband

I have met and dealt with some wealthy people, some famous because the media wrote about incredible feats they may have accomplished. Or maybe these folk just had a message to give, sort of a like seeing themselves' as a messiah.

These people all of them walked the same earth and had problems the same as the rest of us.

It took a long time for any Vietnam Veterans to gain any respectability. There were no parades or welcome home bands. At least I never saw any of it until of late.

It is hard to define a hero. My own criteria is one who survives and flourishes, raises a family, holds a job and cares for others. Lately I look at the political candidates, who are self worshippers, narcissists, money grubbers and collectors - if not of objects, then it seems to be other peoples money [OPM].

A true hero of mine recently passed away, Larry "Yogi” Berra. This was the man I don't have to quote his records in baseball. That anyone can look up. It is what he meant to me.

Remembering the summer of 1967, there I am in a rice paddy around Bong Son Vietnam. The grueling walking, the humidity and the heat. Walking in the field, and sometimes we ate a hot meal once a day guaranteed?

As an example, lining up with a metal helmet in hand, first comes the salad, then the spaghetti and meatballs on top, then desert like ice cream and Niblet corn sprinkled as a garnish.

Other meals included eating out of C rations canned. Another version was , K ration cans, including a package of crackers, salt tablets, Spam, a can of turkey, candy, chocolate, four cigarettes, a can of date nut cake [um good], two pats of TP.

We never figured out why they packed a rubber. Improvising, we used them over the AR-15 muzzles to keep the weapons clean.

It seems that every ranking GI had a money making scheme. We had a group of Vietnamese teenage kids following us as though we were on a beach in the states hawking cold drinks. If the kids weren't around you knew the enemy was.

The "underhanded" gimmick was that the kids sold ice cold soda's for a dollar American or two MPCs [Military Pay Currency]. I have later found out that the soda cans were supposed to be rationed out, not sold.

Now, I earned about $132 a month including combat and flight pay. They deducted money and I sent home about $115 for wife and child. How could I afford a cold one every day?

Yoo-hoo, that's how. Nobody drank that stuff but it was cold and half price or better.

One fine day, 30 or so years later, I am doing business with a guy named Charlie

who owned Canada Dry, RC Cola and Yoo-hoo chocolate drink. Just kidding. I told Charlie that Yogi Berra owned Yoo-hoo. He says that he will prove me wrong and telephones the Yogi and tells him to set me straight.

Wow, I speak to my childhood hero and tell him how happy he made a lot of troops.

Well, in true Yogi Berra words, No, he didn't own the product. He was the spokesperson and he did inspire a lot of kids to drink chocolate Yoo-hoo. And if he did deliver something from home and a little happiness to the troops, that was special. Sorry he couldn't do more for us, but like he said, "If you can't go over, you go under."

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

It's always fun to read about the Yogi Berra aphorisms.
This one is new to me and it makes as much sense to me as my favorite "No one goes there anymore. It's too crowded". My other favorite is "If there's a fork in the road take it". It took me a long time to appreciate that one.

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