Today he wrote:
I was on The Cardinal, heading south to Charlottesville, when I wandered up into the lounge car, sat down, and got into a conversation with a Vietnam vet. He said after 'Nam, he was stationed on an ammo ship in France. "You know those old wives tales about rags starting fires? Well, they're true." With the blaze broke out on board, he and the rest of the crew went to flee the fireball that the ship could easily become, but the MP's forced them at gunpoint to start the engines and head out to sea. "We went out so fast, we were still tied to the pier - we ripped it right off and dragged it to sea." Thankfully, they put the fire out, and a crater in the bottom of the ocean was avoided. "One blew up in the fifties, and they found pieces twenty miles away." Man, it sure is cool to talk to folks!
That last sentence reminded me of what I was saying last night, about talking to people and really listening to what they have to say. So I commented:
How do you get people to talk to you? Do you just go up to them and say, "Hi, I'm Josh, what's your story?" I'm sure Josh is way cooler than that. But I wanted to know if he makes a formal introduction then hits people up with 20 questions, which is sort of my style. I've been accused of being nosey, so maybe my style needs some work.
Josh answered back:
"This one was fairly easy, Mary. I sat down at his table in the lounge car, introduced myself, and noticed his hat. I usually ask fellows about their military hat, as I figure they wear them for a reason. He just started, and I sat and listened. It was great!"
I'd never thought of the hat trick before. I'd probably be afraid to ask about some of the hats that men wear around here. Southern Style ball caps. You know the ones made of camouflage that are supposed to trick innocent deer into walking within blasting range of a 12-gauge shotgun, or advertise Copenhagen snuff or John Deere tractors. I'm not sure how long I could listen to hunting stories coming from a man a-chewin and a-spittin. I am, however, going to start paying more attention to hats. Maybe I'll get up the nerve to ask.
How do you strike up a conversation?
Today I noticed the delightful feel of cotton gauze. Baby dresses, sleep sacks and hand towels. It's a little bit scratchy but in a soft way. I think the last time I wore gauze was in high school - an embroidered peasant blouse. For as hot as it has gotten in the past couple of days, I think gauze should be the fabric choice of all of us.
Tell me, did you have your Horton ears on today?