Monday, March 7, 2016

Prayer: Something I Had Forgotten About Concerning The Last Days of Saigon

After our Saturday afternoon gluttony at the *La Castille we walked outside and took some pictures of a protest before continuing our pursuit of pleasure. I believe this is my Canon FT with either the 135mm or maybe my larger lens. I can't remember if it was a 200/250 or? Of course with the requisite 35mm film holders on a strap and a bag carrying other lenses and more paraphernalia. Bob Goodpaster, my boss and good friend took this when I wasn't looking. It's a copy of a print, hence the bad quality. 

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor
Big Market 10/6/1968-Dong Khanh street (now Tran Hung Dao B) runs straight to Father Tam Church. The horizontal road is Ly Thanh Nguyen. Picture by Toshiyuki Usui
Just came across a picture of the church taken after Tet '68. *See link below * THE SUICIDES ON APRIL 30, 1975


From my friend Bill Lemon: "First, I will certainly pray for ............ Although I am no longer a good Episcopalian (sort of like I am pissed at the GOPe), I have recently recharged my Christian batteries and while I don't attend a brick and mortar meetings, I do pray- hard and often. (Anyone with children should get used to praying). I recall you and I prayed in the Cholon Church (at the end of Tran Hung Dao) during the last day's of Saigon. The key is not to focus on ourselves but the soul of others."

Some of our shenanigans below. :) 

When my good friend, Bill Lemon, went back finally a few years ago, (He had more time in-country than I, but about equal now after the war though we had a friend, Frank Toner, who had gone there as an adviser to the French in 1952 and had managed to keep a job up until the very end, '52 to '75!) he wrote me that if he had been put in a time capsule at the beginning of April 1975, and then just opened when he went back, he would have sworn that the South had won! (Commenting upon the free market system, and the general view of Saigon, and the people) More....

The best story was when my friend, Bill Lemon , was stopped at a traffic light with his arm out the window and a Cowboy came by on his Honda and grabbed at his watch, but missed. At the instance my friend felt the other's hand, he instinctively reached out the window with his right hand and happened to grab the thief's watch, and the Cowboy sped away without my friend's watch or his own!

La Castille, Chickens &Booze
My friend, Bill Lemon, and I decided to go to the mountain resort of Da Lat for a few days to enjoy the cool weather. In Da Lat you really never need more than a fan, and often not that. They have very fresh vegetables, and when you step out on a tile porch in the morning, your bare feet become cold to the touch. We bought two tickets on Air Vietnam for the short trip there. When we walked out from the terminal we saw that we would be flying on an old DC-3, and as we approached the doors we saw the boozer that I described before with the red face pass us with another man, both in uniform. They were the pilots for our trip! He looked to be in bad shape, and I mentioned to my friend that I hoped he had a bottle in the cockpit to calm him down. We had a bumpy ride on the way, but I don't know if it was caused by the weather or his trembling hands. That coupled with all the chickens in cages beside us taking up the right aisle made us very grateful when we safely touched down! More......

"The brothels are cheaper than the hotels, marijuana is cheaper than pipe tobacco, and opium easier to find than a cold glass of beer."Much more..........

 (This was TET '68. A friend of mine, Bill Lemon, was caught in Cholon when the Communists came. They were going door to door, street by street searching all the houses. After the second day, it was apparent that they would get to where he was staying the next day. Now picture this: George weighed 300 pounds, but his wife made him a white top with black pants like women wear there especially when they are selling wares, put a conical hat on his head, and he was able to walk a few blocks to where a man, who had been contacted by telephone, met him in a jeep, and got him away safely under a hail of fire!) Much more......

Much more......

Once after Bill and I had partaken of the wares of the La Castille in abundance, and then smoked numerous joints while drinking even more throughout the afternoon, we came to the startling conclusion that we had found the formula for the perfect high, so I wrote the amounts down on the back of my case that I was then carrying my derringer in, to preserve for all posterity. The next day when we read it, we made the profound deduction that anyone who had that amount of alcohol and grass during that space of time, would most certainly think that they were on the ultimate high! We didn't try and get it published......

 One eventful day, my friend and I were driving back to work when we spotted a 122 rocket  that had not exploded from the night before lodged in a ditch on the side of the road. We both thought that keeping it for a souvenir sounded like a great idea, and we just happened to have a length of rope in the trunk! So I backed up the car to the ditch, tied the rope to the bumper, and we went to the rocket nd were discussing how we would tie the rope around the fins when a jeep screeched to a halt, the MP jumped out and yelled "What are you doing?" When we told him he said we were crazy and that it might go off at any time. At that moment we both realized how foolish we looked, and sheepishly took our rope and left.More........


  1. Hi Brock,
    That last one about the "Booze, Grass and Rockets!!! All I can say is "WOW!!!' I'm surprised that the MP even took the time to say that!!
    Blue skies,

    1. Ha!:) Thanks. I'm planning on going back in June and getting into a lot of trouble as usual, if you're interested.