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Patriotic Story

Steven J. Newton

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July 7, 2005

USA as flag

This Fiction account is part of my “Old Sergeant” Series and is meant to express a patriotic point or insight.

The Old Sergeant was sitting in his office looking at an old thermometer. It couldn't be right. It was inside and it read 110 degrees. Once, just once he thought, I wish we could have a war in the Bahamas or anyplace that was temperate. It was always either too hot or too cold and it wore on the mind and body. More importantly it affected combat efficiency.

The doc had told him that they had 3 men in the hospital from sunstroke. Well, you can't fight a war from the inside of an air-conditioned building, the old sergeant thought. And only the Lord controlled the weather even though the army sometimes thought they could make requests.

A few days later the sergeant's platoon was on patrol in Al Ramadi and you could see the stress in the faces of the men as they walked in the heat. They weren't even paying attention to their surroundings no matter how much he berated them. It was all they could do to just pick up their feet and put them down again.

The old sergeant knew the neighborhood they were in and he considered it a fairly safe area. He called a halt and had the men take a break under the shade on a dilapidated house. The men already had their water out and were drinking and soaking themselves down.

The old sergeant heard a noise off in the distance. Shortly one of the goon squad heard it and all the men were on their feet rifles at the ready. The sergeant got up and walked to the curb reaching for his wallet.

“Pappy, what in the world are you doing? Shouldn't we take cover or something?”

Pappy looked over at his men and smiled to himself. “Listen close boys.”

As the noise came closer the platoon saw a humvee come around the corner. And it had a bell on it that someone was ringing. Ding-Ding. Ding-Ding. Ding-Ding. Still suspicious most of them kept their rifles at the ready but out of the corner of his eye pappy saw a couple of the old timers smile as they reached for their wallets and walked over by the curb.

A minute later the humvee was within 10 meters of the old sergeant and pappy was waiving money at the driver. The humvee pulled over and an elderly civilian in a crisp white coat said in a loud voice, “My, my you children look hot! What will it be sergeant?”

Pappy said, “I'll have a chocolate fudge bar and I'm buying for my friends here sir.”

The old man laughed. “Well, you must have just gotten your allowance son. Be sure not to spend it all in one place!” He looked at the platoon, who were standing around with their mouths hanging open in utter surprise. “Well it doesn't look as if too many of them want any ice scream sergeant. Either that or --------.”

Before he could finish his sentence, someone yelled, “I don't believe it! It's the ice cream man!”

In a second, the whole platoon was screaming out their orders. “Vanilla, I want vanilla,” one of his men yelled.

Another said, “Aww no. Strawberry. Have you got strawberry?”

The old man in the white coat was dipping into a portable icebox on the back of the humvee, filling orders as fast as he could. “Now be patient boys. There's more than enough for everyone! Now no pushing! Anyone that pushes has to go to the end of the line!”

Pappy took his fudge bar and sat on the curb watching his men. Suddenly they were all children again. No thought of war or death or the heat. Just ice cream. He smiled to himself even as he kept a wary eye out for trouble.

An hour later they were back on patrol and the men were still talking about the ice cream man. “I can't believe it,” one said. “I just can't believe it. Is this something new the army has come up with?”

Another said, “You got to be kidding me. Makes way to much sense for it to be the army. If you ask me it was pappy.”

“Right Pappy? You arranged the whole thing with the ice cream.”

The old sergeant turned around and looked at his platoon. “Ice cream? In this heat? You boys are suffering from sunstroke. I never saw any “ice cream.”

At their looks of bewilderment the sergeant just grinned. It had been worth every penny and all the favors he had called in.

Note... I hope this Fiction account has impacted your sense of patriotism in some respect.  And any resemblance to a person living or dead is coincidental and unintentional... Buy book one of the “Old Sergeant”

Steven J. Newton
Copyright 2004

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