The Tenth

Blog 2054 – 05.10.2021

The Tenth

For someone who has lived as long as I have everyday of the month has taken on a certain significance. For over fifty years now the tenth of each month still brings back to me the anticipation I felt on the tenth day of each month that I spent in the Republic of South Vietnam during most all of 1970. There I spent most all of my last teenaged year and the first days of my twentieth year.

I arrived “in country” on January tenth so that meant my DEROS date (Date Estimated Return From Overseas) was to be the same day of the month twelve months later. Actually in my case and many others that year due to the President (Richard Nixon at that time) promising to end the war as soon a possible and drawing down the U.S. deployed forces, we received a one month drop and I actually got to leave Vietnam a few days earlier than that. But till December that year I counted the days, especially marking the passing of each tenth of the month.

We in the West have a thing about tens, the decimal system, and even giving special names to the decades, like the Roaring Twenties a century ago. What will this decade come to be known as? I hope it is not the Pandemic Twenties but we will have to wait and see.

In 1970, young and dumb and you guys know the rest of that little poem, I thought my life was on hold but it was not. The sun rose everyday even on the other side of the world from everything that I had known as a boy and everyone got up and did their jobs as best we could. Though I marked off my calendars dutifully and wrote at least two letters home daily the rest of my time I spent, working, reading, and with my fellow soldiers in the day room, at our work station, NCO Club, or barracks that we called hooches. Even the not so normal takes on an air of normalcy after a while.

Coming home was not what I hoped it would be. Often it is not. I thought most of those seeming long months away that my lovely young wife would be waiting for me when I returned. She was not, but had found someone else. That is life, the French say, “What Will Be Will Be.” Ours is but to make the best of it.

Yesterday, I thought I had lost my little pocket reminder, the little heart-shaped medallion that I have mentioned several times in this blog. But after a diligent search I finally found where it had slipped out of my pants pocket. Yesterday was Mother’s Day but we should honor mothers every day and everyday as a Holy Day or holiday. As the great philosopher Elvis Presley once sang, “Why can’t every day be like Christmas?” Indeed they are or should be, every one. Don’t you think so?

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

Days In The Sun

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