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A Tenting We Will Go

Story ID:7070
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA USA
Year:1946
Person:Sleepless Chelsea Kansas Kid
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A Tenting We Will Go

A Tenting We Will Go

When I lived on the farm
The Walnut river just a hop, skip and a jump away
I dreamed of camping in a tent
To fish, swim and to play

Just to sleep out in the trees
Inside a tent, on the ground
Fixing hamburgers a baked potato or two
And mess around

With the Hoot Owls
Mosquitoes, chiggers and gnats
All those strange noises
Enough to drive you bats

At the Repple Depple on Okinawa Island
At the age of nineteen
I got my chance at tenting
And drinking out of my canteen

The odor of the creosote soaked squad tents
Was sickening to me
Canvas Army cots
I didnít fit on comfortably

I was six foot two
The cot was five ten
Not made for me
But for shorter men

The soldier that had used
The cot before I arrived
Left it rump sprung
In order to survive

I filled the rump sprung vacancy in the cot
With socks and underwear
Just to get to sleep
And be comfortable lying there

It was in August
The weather was so hot
That smelly odor of creosote
And this saggy army cot

Made my thoughts of tenting
A nightmare for me
As I laid there in sleeplessness
In this tent overseas

The rats on Okinawa
Were the size of a small pig
They liked to come into the tent at night
Looking for something to eat ya dig?

Our second night of tenting ďJapĒ someone yelled
In the middle of the night
Twenty four flashlights went on
Inside the tent it was like daylight

Found out later an old Army man
Had pulled a prank on us new men
If we could have found out who
We would pulled one on him

Made no difference
My sleeping was lost
Another sleepless night
This tenting left me tired and cross..

Through rotten sleeping arrangements
Stinky Army tents
Rats, and other vermin
Hot as Heck, no cool vents

Then to top it off Typhoon Barbara
The wind and rain it was miserable
Soaking our clothes
Made it more deplorable

Please donít ask me to go tenting
My camping out days are over
Iíll sleep in comfort in my bed
Ratless and sweet smelling, as a field of Clover.

Monte L. Manka 04-05-2011

Building on the right was the Mess, that was badly damaged in Typhoon.