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Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

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Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In a Hurricane's Eye


This is what I was doing 54 years ago, glad to be outside again and enjoying what we saw as the weirdness of the several peaceful hours of the eye of an otherwise endlessly raging, monster typhoon that passed directly over Okinawa while I was stationed there. I've forgotten the name of the man to my right. The guy on my left was named Sobchinski. I thought it was a cool name because he pronounced the "Sob" as "Sub." Having been snared in KP shortly after boarding, both of us plus two other guys had washed pots and pans together all through the two weeks on a troopship from San Francisco to the island. (This was in 1954.)

Note in the background the big steel shutters over the windows that helped give the barracks a definite mausoleum air during the two or three days that our aircraft maintenance squadron had already been penned up in there. And after this picture was taken and the storm returned we were completely shut in for several more days, living on snack food, beer, and sodas and slowly descending into a general state of torpor and raunchiness.

But we were much luckier than the Okinawans. They still hadn't recovered from the desolation brought on their small island by the fierce fighting only nine years earlier. They lived in wooden structures with sheet metal and thatch roofs, and nine or ten of them probably died in this same storm. Still, it would've been in my normal twisted state of mind to envy them, because at least they were in a good position to see everything that was happening, whereas we didn't know jack you-know-what.

Okinawa is a tropical island, just like Cuba or the Bahamas, and the hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, or whatever you want to call them visit there with at least as much regularity and violence.

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