William Metcalfe, 3/25/2018

Current Occupation: Having retired from profitable work, I am playing about with either writing or photography.
Former Occupation: There were 40 years of picture framing. My company was one of the first in Washington, DC, to push for preservation as a very important aspect of a framing job. 
Contact Information: After 30 years of aimless travel, I settled down in Washington, DC. after I found I enjoyed working as a picture framer. In the years of travel and of working with customers, I have accumulated a large collection of stories, which exist as short notes. For a period, I was also, by acclamation, a interesting photographer, but a move to a near suburb, a wonderful wife and our 3 children took more and more time. I had to curtail my pursuits. Now that I am retired and my children are adults, I have returned to earlier interests. The iMac which sits on my desk offers itself as a means of rendering a legible copy of a story from the dusty corridors of my mind. It also offers itself as a instructor in converting digital snapshots into something much more meaningful, might I say art. One can only hope

 

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CRAWFORD AND THE LIEUTENANT’S INSPECTION

 

    At one point of my Army life in the early 60s, three soldiers and myself shared a cubicle on the third floor of an imposing building. We all worked in different sections of the Army base and rarely saw each other. Once a month though, we were all gathered together for an inspection of our area. Normally, the inspecting officers were new young lieutenants. The senior officers had more important things to attend to, like avoiding inspections and immature 2nd lieutenants.

     Our space was formed by tall, dark green lockers that hid most of the fake wall behind them. Opposite each locker was a metal chest of matching color and, behind that chest, was a single bunk. The pillows were positioned on each bed so that we could sit up to watch our lockers all night, if we so desired. Even though the ceiling lights were turned off at the time our superiors thought we should be asleep. There was one window, but after a week, each new tenant lost interest in the view of the parking lot.

    If we were interested, we could look across the walkway to see the similar cubicle opposite ours. Generally, our view was as interesting as that of the soldiers who slept there. They could see our cubicle. If we walked down this empty walkway, we could count the other cubicles that housed more low-ranking soldiers.

    On inspecting day, a look out was assigned to stand near the swinging glass doors to our quarters. On this day, as soon as he saw the officer and his contingent striding towards him, he gave the signal. Immediately, we all jumped into the favored position, standing at attention beside our chests, staring at our lockers. We would be severely penalized if we even swayed while our inspection was ongoing.

    Crawford was the soldier whose bed was on the right side of mine.We were in the first cubicle to be subjected to this inspection. The officer must have known that this was a waste of time.  I watched him perfunctorily examine the soldier on my left. But he must have seen some deviation in Crawford's area for he quickly passed by my bed.

    Crawford was a nice enough person, but unfortunately his face suggested an evolution from a frog ancestor. His face would have been perfectly circular, but for his two ears clinging closely to his head. His large round eyes were sunken into his face. From the wide upwardly curving mouth, one expected a long green tongue to dart forth to catch a fly. In spite of his appearance, Crawford was a very pleasant human.

    The lieutenant opened Crawford's locker and immediately saw, at eye level, a blond Playboy centerfold. The officer was taken aback. Pinups were not allowed at all. In fact, they were forbidden. He looked at the photo more closely and saw that it had been inscribed, “To Crawford, with all my love. X X X”. The young lieutenant turned and stared at briefly at Crawford. "Private Crawford, if that photo is of your girl friend, it can stay, but, if it is from a magazine, it has to go." Crawford saluted and replied, "Yes, sir." The officer then carefully closed the locker, skipped our other cubicle mate and moved on to the next space.

    Thereafter, the Playboy playmate remained where she had hung. Love conquers all.

    In future inspections, the officers passed through as quickly as they could. I doubt that they would have seen a Bunny reclining on Crawford's bunk.

 

 

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