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Chow Line

Story ID:9543
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Corona CA USA
Year:1945
Person:Struck Chelsea Kansas Kid
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The Chow Line

While in the Army
The chow was our main gripe
The food sloshed on your tray
Was a terrible sight

Potatoes and gravy was mixed
With your fruit
What meat we got
Horse meat it was tough as a boot

After you chow down
You clean off your tray
Into thirty gallon garbage cans
As you went on your way

Into those thirty gallon garbage cans
Were several little hands
Of young boys, about ten
Looking for a morsel to put into their can

Deep into the garbage reaching
Long I stood there watching
As they were stretching
And they were feeling

Into those garbage cans
For a scrap of meat
Made me sick
As I repeat

What I saw at the end of the chow line
Day after day,
At the end of the line
We would throw larger pieces of meat away

These little kids were survivors
They’d kill for a place at the garbage can
Something this farmer
Found hard to understand

If we or our neighbors were hungry
There was always a place in our kitchen
Maybe not the food that you like
But we had lots of fried chicken.

As I think back
I almost get sick
Seeing again these little Boys
With arms greasy and slick

From digging deep into the garbage
Feeling for a bite
Into milk, coffee, and slop
For me a terrible sight

Just count your blessings
You don’t know how good you’ve got it
We live in a wonderful country
Food I’ve never been without it.

Monte L. Manka 02-20-2014