SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY
We had finished milking the cows--for the second time this day--on a Sunday during a cold winter snap. Winters in Cincinnati were always "pretend" winters, seldom, if ever, a real, lasting snow, only freezing rain, sleet, you know what I mean. Dreary, dreary, and more dreary--days upon days of it. Oh yes, we got our share of cold, and as a child , I HATED that! My fingers froze from morning until night. I mean, a cow really *jumped*!--when *I* started pulling on her teats, to squeeze out the last quart of milk (called 'stripping').
Dinner was early, so that live-in hired hands could enjoy what was left, of what most people called their "day off". And we all gathered around the 'Heatrolla', a coal-burning stove for a large sitting room. Most of the men--and me--read the funny paper, a couple of the old guys (aged 35-45!) kept up with the weekly news in the paper. On the radio in a few minutes would be a favorite show, maybe Jack Benny, or Fred Allen, I do not remember.
I am a bit confused as to the timing of events, for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941, a Sunday...and I thought I recall hearing President Roosevelt speak on Sunday, but his famous "Day of Infamy" speech happened on Monday December 8, 1941. It was a day, much like Sunday.
EDIT: I remember NOW--all day Sunday Dec 7, music was played on the radios all over the nation. Sad classical music. It was beautiful. A nation mourned, as it whimperingly licked its wounds.
Whatever!--This I DO remember--and shall NEVER forget, "A Special News Announcement--Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States". And, gathering close, so close, to the radio, we all listened intently, young and old, my sightless father (farm manager/owner) and crippled (Infantile Paralysis) mother. We heard the President tell us a few of the the awful consequences which were in our immediate future.
Everyone in that room shivered at the president's words--not because of the cold. The coal had been burning fiercely, we were warm.
We had been attacked, our Navy had suffered what many expected would be the end of our fleet in the Pacific. Many of our own people had been killed or terribly hurt, limbs torn from bodies, and the horrors of war were being realized at once by us all.
The next two days saw four of our younger workers leave for an induction center. It seemed as if everyone from ages 18-45, was enlisting in the military. Two of those four hired hands I would never see again, they were buried, one on Guadalcanal, the other at sea (live-in farm workers had become like family, they WERE family to us children--I was 8, 'going on' 9!) Since our family had a large presence in Cincinnati, my couple hundred relatives knew each other well, most worked in the family businesses in the city. Six or eight of my relatives went to war.
Believe me, I shall NEVER forget, what those men and women did, what they stood for, and I will remember always their bravery in action, their courage, and their spirituality, when facing seeming unsurmountable odds.
Not because of the war, but it did happen about that time, that I began my career as a drunk, stealing the 'new hired hands' wine bottles. See, I KNEW their hiding places even before they knew them. It was MY home, MY barn(s), MY hunting grounds, MY woods, etc.
And it was the beginning of MY alcoholic life, which would last for about thirty years. I'm certain now that God (or goddess?) was watching, saying "Well, this has to happen. I have plans for this boy, of which he knows naught." And naught I did know. That was good. Because else, I might not have found my way here, to AA, to blogs, to a happy, often useful, very busy life. Thank You God, and thank you, AA! And thank you, blogeronis!....