Read 14 + 15 today
The following letter was written while out on the rifle range Wednesday the 27th of January. It is now copied this 29th of January.
Dear Aunty Clara:
I don't think I described that mountain very well---the mountain which backs the firing range. It is a little short of superb. It is about a mile long. Reaching its highest level at the firing course where it is approximately two blocks high. It is rather hard to describe something like this but here is what it looks like to me. Most of the hill is covered with trees except for the section immediately to the rear of the range. This area, not covering more than 2 or 3 square blocks, is cleared out and slopes gently up the hillside. Half the distance up there is an abrupt ridge and the trees begin again and after a slight valley formation to the rear of the ridge the hill slopes steeply upwards. There is scattered snow from there on. Back in the clearing remains the remnants of an old and battered open barn, a few old sheds, and a picturesque rustic house half hidden by a slight rise in the land. That open barn is something typical Oregonian. I haven't seen anything similar to it in any other section I have ever happened to pass. We face the hill to the South and the winter sun rises from out of the Eastern slope and sets on the Western slope.
I can see very well how some people could fall in love with this country around here. Even I would like to live here. For the duration plus six months.
The second day we were out here we had another terrific snow. It seems the entire country including the Rouge Valley is having an exceptional winter. However, the snow melted rapidly with the rising sun but it continued to stay on the mountain top.
One more thing. Twice I have had occasion to walk down the mud road alone and advance towards two soldiers coming towards me. There we were tired, packs on our backs and guns slung over our shoulders tramping thru the mud. It made me think of the war scenes of Gone with the Wind.
Now back to last night when I hastily concluded my letter and supposedly rushed to bed. Ray Gradler asked to play just one game of ping-pong so I consented. We went to the dayroom but the ball was broken. That didn't make me mad; but of all the luck, we ran into Sergeant Censky and Morris Mersing. Well, the four of us just chewed the rag until Lt. Podelwitz came in and told us to get to bed because we needed the sleep. Good! I didn't mind that at all. So I goes into the washroom and who should I run into but Sgt. Driscoll. He says, "KLICK, where were you?" I couldn't say "at Headquarters" so I said I was writing a letter and was in the dayroom later on. That quieted him and he said, "Alright, but don't let me catch you going near Regimental". You see---suddenly they are looking out for my welfare.
Anyhow by the time I was finished talking to a half a dozen people on my way to bed and before I washed my mess gear it was 12:30. That however, is an improvement over the other later hours.
Incidentally, at 12 o'clock I opened the box of cookies. Boy---chocolate chip, walnuts, and dates all mixed in. I almost felt like packing them in my pack and eating them this noon for my meal. As it was I didn't have time to grab one of them this morning. Ray raved about them and kept worrying that I might forget to bring them out on the range as I did.
The morning came around altogether too soon and on top of it we have an inspecting general around this week; therefore, we had to dress in O.D.s first then change into fatigues. So what did I do when I went back to the barracks to get into work clothes? I climbed back into bed and slept until the fellows were coming back from chow. I just made it in time --- getting on my fatigues and dashing down to the mess hall to get a quart of milk and an orange. From chow I was pressed for time. In fifteen minutes I had to make the bed, put everything away, and get dressed to go out to the range in the trucks. I might as well get as many rides as I can because those hikes will not do my tendon any good.
I cleaned out my mess gear but completely forgot about my canteen and cup. Some stuff, eh? Ray came out without his equipment and had intended to borrow mine but I loaned the cover to a fellow who had dropped his in the mud.
* * * so endeth the letter written out in the field * * *
* * *