Blog 2427 – 06.17.2022
Dragonflies, Mosquitoes, and My Long Hot Summer
The temperature in Houston, Texas, my home town, is expected to be six degrees cooler today, 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Looking ahead next week they are predicting three days in a row of over 100 degree temperatures. People are flocking to the local hospitals with heat related illnesses.
Fifty-two years ago I spent a long hot summer in South Vietnam. It was my last year as a teenager. I was young, fit, and had probably the best tan of my life.
In 2011 after returning from a seven week work assignment in Aberdeen, Scotland, where it was mostly rainy and cool, jacket weather, we had in Houston thirty consecutive days of temperatures over 100 degrees. I got back home in early July. It was a hot summer, but could not begin to rival my eleven month long hot summer in Vietnam.
I remember the skies there were often filled with helicopters that to me resembled dragonflies. I was billeted on Tan Son Nhut Airbase, just outside of Saigon, it was renamed after the war after the long time leader of the North Vietnamese. I walked from Davis Station, where the 509th Radio Research Group (The Army Security Agency) had it’s headquarters company in Vietnam, about a mile to the base PX (kind of a military Walmart) many times during my long hot summer. Tan Son Nhut was a U.S. Airbase and so there were literally thousands of helicopters parked at anytime along the road to the PX, fields and fields full of them. The sound of their wop, wop, wop could be heard overhead at all hours as the choppers took off and landed nearby. It was seldom quiet in Vietnam and usually only when we we’re sitting in concrete bunkers because we had received some intelligence regarding a pending rocket attack or because some sadistic officer had scheduled a drill to improve our readiness and response times. They always took place in the early morning hours. The mosquitoes loved them. We not so much.
I will, so long as this adventure lasts remember dragonflies, mosquitoes, and my long hot summer.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Below is another, perhaps lovelier, long hot summer memory.
THE LONG HOT SUMMER JIMMIE RODGERS