by Michael Lansford
Things I learned during my whole life as I grew up are what I told you amazingly trained me for Vietnam, even before the war existed.
When I was a child my Dad was a Pipeliner. We followed the lines wherever they went, living in a small trailer until I was ten. We moved all over from Texas, to New Mexico, to Colorado, and Arizona. The hard part about all that was, I never stayed in one school long enough to have friends, as I knew we wouldn't be there long. One year I went to six different schools. The only home I knew was our trailer, so to speak.
Then I learned from my grandmother after dad died, and it became very clear, what all he faced in the Pacific in the war. Drinking probably was his only outlet for all that happened to him and no one ever knew about it. After seeing documentaries about the Pacific, I understood it all. I had been wrong to judge.
Everything was like in the cowboy days, no creature comforts. Every day you worked to survive, planting crops, raising cattle and horses, always prepared for winter and anything that may happen.
The best thing was the horse I had. As the old rancher always told me, if I ever got lost or something happened, just let the reigns hang down and he would find his way home -- just don't let go of the reigns, because he won't stop for you. It worked. As hard as it all was, it prepared me for my life later on.
But I learned many years later that my Aunt adopted me, so just in case something happened to me, I could be taken care of. Knowing that made a difference as all I ever knew growing up was rejection and being left alone and left behind.
At the beach, the principal crop was rice. There were rice fields everywhere. I walked most of them, worked some, hunted in them all for our winter food, ducks and geese. We trapped around all the ponds for the pelts: muskrat, nutria and even a few mink. I started working when I was ten. Whatever it took to live, we did.
I told him where I was from and that going home wouldn't be much different for me, pertaining to rice fields. The only things missing were the yellow crop dusters. Mainly, it taught me more about how to get through the rice fields and survive, all just things that as I look back, prepared me for what was to come.
Growing up, no matter what I did, someone always reminded me I would never succeed, or be successful, never amount to anything, you name it, I got it. But it all made me stronger and more determined not to fail at anything I did. Failure was not an option.
"Leavings at The Wall"
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
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