Louie was kind of absent from our lives in 1968 when the events of this letter took place. Keeping in touch wasn’t easy for a number of reasons. The mail took quite a while to go back and forth from North Dakota to Korea. Visits were rare, as travel was expensive. Telephone conversations were almost impossible. I’ve discussed how much work it was to try calling Korea in a prior post.
I never played cards with Louie, he played Pinochle in the sixties and Cribbage in his sixties. I never learned cribbage (too much arithmetic for me) but his walrus tusk cribbage board is among my most prized possessions. Pinochle was the game of choice in my early college years, possibly at the same time Louie was playing cards with the girls in Japan.
Our games never entailed the hi-jinx Louie’s did, but my memories of the game are exceptionally pleasant. The guys I hung with weren’t big into homework, and frequently went home for the weekends. On Sundays we’d try to get back to Fargo early for an evening of Pinochle. My roommate Dean K and I would face off against the likes of Doug, Cliff, and Rick. After more than forty years I’ve almost completely forgotten the rules of play, but I do remember that bidding depended on the content of my hand and my partner Dean’s cards. We played so often and were so well matched that at the start of bidding we’d look each other in the eyes and somehow know what to bid.
Our card games were in the dorm at college. Louie’s game was in a Geisha house in Japan. We had fun, but his evening ended in hilarity, at least in retrospect.
In 1968 I had the honor of performing my military duties in the Republic of Korea once more.
The whole country was rebuilt considerably but still had that stink of human waste throughout. They used that stuff to fertilize their fields to raise their crops.
Back during the war they had what they called “R&R” for the troops, giving them a little break from the war. Those R&R breaks were usually taken in Japan and consisted of 5 days.
Louie’s letter …