I was living in all-services base housing in Kansas City Mo. in the early 80’s. As a young Marine, it was my first time living in a house, with a yard, that I could call my own to any extent. Prior to that time, all my dwellings since leaving the paternal abode had been in the form of barracks, trailers, and apartments. So as bizarre as it may seem, I took a large degree of pride in my hootch, and the yard came with it.
The base housing authority supplied all the fertilizer and grass seed you ever wanted. Water was on the government’s nickel as I recall, and all I had to provide was the lawnmower and the sweat equity. Within a few months, I was in serious competition for “Yard of The Month”. Looking back over the years it’s absolutely hilarious that such a thing would be of such importance to me. My, my… how the times have changed!
One Friday afternoon I came home to quarters and was horrified to see a crew of utility workers tearing the hell out of a corner of my precious lawn. They may as well have walked up and keyed my brand new truck! How dare them son’s of bitches make a mess of my beautiful lawn! I was white with rage.
I glared lightning bolts at the workers, who returned my dagger looks with stark indifference, and then I went inside.
In those years I was working on developing my alcoholism with the same fervor I was focusing on my lawn. Only a short passage of time passed between the closing of the front door behind me and the vigorous consumption of a prodigious amount of Bacardi Rum. The combination of the booze, my anger, and my general disdain for all civilian pukes now produced an act of sheer stupidity on my part – one that if was repeated today would have doubtless sent me to the pokey!
With a .30-.30 Marlin rifle in hand, I stepped out onto my front porch where the yard wreckers (now half-heartedly clearing away their mess) could see me clearly – and I jacked a shell into the chamber.
I hollered out “You damn well better put it all back like you found it!” I didn’t point the weapon towards them; instead I perched the butt of the stock on my hip and directed the barrel skyward. But the threat was obvious – and reaction was instantaneous! You never saw a bunch of guys scramble so fast to toss their remaining gear in the truck and haul butt outta there! (The indifferent looks on their faces disappeared pretty quickly too as I remember!)
Had that scene played out in 2011, the next sound I would have heard would have been the SWAT van pulling up and a bullhorn (maybe) telling me come out with my hands up.
As it was, I found myself standing tall in front of the Commanding Officer at 0800 the following Monday morning. Large chucks of my posterior were vigorously removed, and rightfully so - of course.
Ahhh… to be young – and stupid. LOL