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You're in the Army Now
Part Two – "Well, Soldier, Yer In Luck"
by Don Drewniak

I took leave beginning three days later. Two flights brought me to Worcester’s small airport where Dolores was waiting for me. Much of Thursday was spent preparing for the drive to Hephzibah. With our Mustang stuffed with her clothing and other necessities, Dolores, Phaedra and I headed to Hephzibah just before noon the next day. We entered North Carolina early in the evening. No more than the length of a football field to our right was a large billboard that read, “Ku Klux Clan Territory.” There was a painting of a white-clad clansman on a white horse.

Dolores was stunned. “Is it like this in Augusta?”

“No, there is still bigotry, but I have never seen anything like this.”
We were pulled over by a town cop some eighty miles down the road. Dusk was approaching and I unfortunately had previously turned on my lights. The $%#@&*% informed us that a rear taillight was out. I expected to get a ticket. Instead, he told us that we couldn’t continue driving until the light was fixed. That was pure bullshit. With our Massachusetts plates, he knew we were easy prey.

“I’ll stop at the next service station.”

“Then that will be a hundred dollar fine. Cash.” That is the equivalent of $850 today.

“I am U.S. Army going back to Fort Gordon. I don’t have a hundred dollars.”

“Well, soldier, yer in luck. My brother-in-law has a repair shop four miles down the road. Cost ya ten bucks. ($85 today.)

Having no choice, I said, “Okay.”

“Follow me.”

We were on our way again a little over an hour later. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Arrival at the trailer was sometime around two in the morning. After unloading the Mustang, we crashed and slept until noon.

The air conditioner: Phaedra spent the bulk of the summer sleeping on top of it.