Letter's Home . . .
at least my hands weren't blown off
Written by: Robert Sandell
Commentary by: Alex Sandell

Letter # 21

Nov. 9 '43

Hi Folks

Got your letter here t' other day for which thanx. We're still out in the woods. This was supposed to be the end of the maneuvers, but they tacked on some more, so we don't know how much longer we'll be out here. Probably another 2 weeks at least. I'll be maybe getting a furlough after an indeterminate time following their inception, which in turn is after an indeterminate time that we're in camp which follows an indeterminate time in the woods yet. Hence you can see the absurdity of me trying to figure out when I get a furlough, if I even get one! The army places in front of one a maze of fluctuating imponderable variables to cope with in any so-called "planning" that this 1/7,000,000th of the army might try to foresee for the "future." In other words, Martha, it sure would be swell to be able to meet you & Elmer in Chicago & from thence home go as 'per your letter, but unfortunately the army and me don't always see eye to eye on such matters, and somehow the army wins in such arguments. When a man has those shiny little doo-dads on his shoulder he sometimes can have a bit of choice on going home. Comparable, let's say, to the amount of influence Alice would have in your decisions to go to town, etc.. An enlisted man, however, has about the same amount to say about it as Snuffy would about your trips.

Well anyway, things are "running" about the same as ever here in the woods. We crossed the Sabine over into Texas the other day. That's my first steps in the Lone-Star state. It's almost so far from this end of Texas to El Paso as it is from here to there! Weather continues to get cooler & rawer as we continue to take bites into November. Just 'nite we went to a place 14 miles from where we started, but those screwy millimeters said we'd gone 57 miles. That's like you going to downtown Mpls. via (I can't make out the word written here - Alex), or something like that. But choose a wet misty night. No, don't put your lights on. This is blackout. Now open up your windshield, wide. Start at 10:00 PM. Arrive there at 4:00 in the morning. No, no don't go to sleep now. You've got to dig a hole 3 ft. wide & 4 ft deep. So you're done eh? Keep this up for 3 months & when the 3 months are up the guy with the stars sez, well, seeing as it's so much fun, let's keep on a doin' it, etc., etc..

So much for that stuff.

Really, these woods give nothing to write about, so seeing as I've written just that, I'll close this as you'd close the door to an empty house.

Regards then, to you all & be hoping to see you all sometime this winter, I hope. Will write again soon's something turns up that's writable.

Adios & answer soon

Bob

P.S. - Had a dream the other nite that I was home on furlough. No sooner had I stepped offa the Glenwood Streetcar when a Looie hollers "dig in." Being as it was hard pavement, I decided to dig into a garage & straightway hacked through its wall, whereupon its owner collars me & sex: fix! So I spent 14 days fixing that wall & it cost me $200 for lumber to boot. I hope the real thing pans out a little bit better than that!

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