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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

KS - drums

Joining the Army in Great Falls, I was officially inducted in Butte, Montana on 24 July 1959. Our group traveled by train – through some of the most beautiful mountains anyone would want to see – to Fort Ord, California for basic training. My file folder of memorabilia contains several items pertaining to this time segment. First in the time line was a small map of Ford Ord as it was back then. It was of little use, since we weren’t allowed to go anywhere anyway, at least not until near the end of our training.

This was my third experience with a uniformed group as I was in the boy scouts a short while and in ROTC during high school. In the first group we learned a bit about knots, but in this third one the sergeants were tying us in knots of a different type as they made very sincere efforts at making proper soldiers out of us. They did this while using a plethora of lower gradient words I had not been exposed to up to this point in my life. Nor did I have much of an idea such words existed or that they could be used as descriptive adjectives concerning so many things and people.

Our training company – 5 platoons of 40 plus men each – learned to march as a unit with the use of drums – one bass and one snare. Since I had a small bit of experience with the bass drum in high school, I made my first real mistake in the Army – I volunteered for something – the bass. A mistake because not only did I still have to carry everything everybody else did, I had to carry – and play – this large percussion piece.

My playing partner on the snare drum was a Mexican-American with the last name of Diaz – can’t remember his given one. Evidently he had a lot of experience – more than yours truly – but our little combo worked out well – this according to those in charge. On a regular basis – after we had marched a short distance – Diaz would turn off the snare part of his drum, turn his sticks around, we both would throw in a few extra beats and would march to somewhat of a bongo beat.

The two drummers marched between the 2nd and 3rd platoons so the whole company could hear the cadence. The perpetrators thereof, the men in the company and most of the cadre enjoyed our special rhythm. An exception to this was our company commander, because after hearing our unusual beat - a couple of weeks into training – he took a very dim view of it and made us stop. He said it made the unit march funny and he didn’t want his men skipping down the street. We didn’t agree with his assessment but stopped anyway, this being less damaging to our budding military careers.

During this time my inner ears were starting to hear a different drumbeat as well, drawing my soul into a march away from the moral teachings by which I was raised.

TBC - ec


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Hey ec, in case you miss it, I have tagged you here.

2/28/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

AC - I did get the tag and I'm working on it now.

2/28/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

An excellent story—and parable.

2/28/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I think I know the end to this'll find your rhythm and sing in usison with others. Or, something like that.

2/28/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - Thanks, good to know you are out there.

bonita - This true story does have a happy ending but it will be a long time coming. ec

2/28/2006 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

I was saved at the age of five and it was a (needless to say) good thing. There were many years when I walked in the ways of the world and had it mot been for Gods grace setting me marching to a differnt drummer I wouldn't be the man I am today.

3/01/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

TMG - His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations. ec

3/01/2006 02:04:00 PM  

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