Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…
Man, I was hungry.
Leaders and Letters… the Pass It On for Monday, September 23rd 2019… brought to you by Pass One Hour Heating and Air. Here’s Francis Pass…
Boomp. Boomp. Boomp would go the mortars. If I closed my eyes, I’d swear they sounded just like bullfrogs bellowing in a pond back home in southern Illinois.
But I was a long way from that pond in southern Illinois. Half-the-world away. And, man, I was hungry.
Our fire base had taken on heavy mortar that night. I knew I had to keep my head down, but that dadgum rain.
Those Loc Ninh raindrops suck the life out of a fella. And on this particular night, those droplets felt like ticks stickin’ to a toy poodle. I was that poodle.
And, man… did I mention I was hungry?
The next day, I couldn’t wait to get in the chow line. My head said to go get in line, but my heart said otherwise. Because right there, between me and my daily bread, was a mailbag.
To a serviceman, the two most important things were the mail and a meal. In that order.
I stood what felt like hours waiting to hear my name. Then, it happened.
I tell ya, that letter from home might as well have been dipped in solid 14 karat gold, because it was worth a small fortune to me.
What that letter said, well, that’s for another day, if I feel up to it.
Once I had my fill of love from back home, it was time to get my fill of food.
I proceeded to the chow line where I was met with a familiar face. Standing there at the front of the line was First Sergeant Bishop. He wasn’t loading up his tray. Quite the contrary… he was facing the troopers, asking each one if there was anything he could do to help them out.
Then, once every trooper had gotten his share, First Sergeant Bishop stepped in line and filled his own tray. He was always the last man in line to get a meal.
Before you ask… no, this behavior wasn’t typical of officers. First Sergeant Bishop was different. He was a great father figure and a phenomenal listener. And still is to this day.
Everybody was fed… but some of the fellas didn’t always receive mail from home. One of the worst feelings in the world was gettin’ to the bottom of the mailbag and not hearing your name called.
But First Sargent Bishop would always be standing there, keeping a close watch during mail call. Any soldier that didn’t get mail, well, he’d go over and talk with him one-on-one.
Y’know, everyone you meet is taking on a mortar attack of their own. Some attacks are heavier than others. And, in the end, we’re all hoping to have a letter full of love waiting for us at the bottom of the mailbag.
I just hope and pray that each of us has a First Sergeant Bishop to stand at the front of our line, listen to our struggles, and comfort us when the letters from home don’t come in.
Could I ask you, friend, to be someone’s First Sergeant this week? Lend a hand. Let someone else go before you in line. And keep an eye out in case the mailbag comes up empty.
Thanks for listening/reading.
I’m Francis Pass.
Oh and PS – if your belly’s bullfroggin for some catfish fritters, journey on down to Elizabethtown. I hear the fish dinners down there are fantastic. And let me know if you need someone to come along for the ride. Because, man, I am hungry.