Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Old Blood and Guts"

A piece I did for the Daily Southerner several years back from an oral history of a World War Two veteran I interviewed.

Remembering “‘Ole Blood n’ Guts”
by Dana Lee Stone
     “It was his blood, and our guts.”  George Osborne of Tarboro laughed as he recalled his experiences in Patton’s Army during World War II.  “He was the greatest general and his men loved him.  They respected him, and he respected them.  He wouldn’t ask his men to do anything he wouln’t do.  He was our greatest leader, and had no fear.  I saw him three times up at the front.  At the Rhine River, he led his men across, wading in front of them.”
     George Osborne is 94 now.  Originally from Wallace, North Carolina, Mr. Osborne was drafted (“my wife wouldn’t let me volunteer”) into the Army during World War II.  He served in France, Germany, and Austria, part of the 65th Division, 565 Signal Corps.
     During his first days in boot camp, Osborne said there was a particular sergeant who came into the barracks to give the men a little advice.  “Boys,” he said, “there are three things to do in the Army, and if you do ‘em, you’ll get along fine.  Keep your bowels open, your mouths shut, and don’t volunteer for a damn thing.”  Osborne earnestly admitted, “I’ve stuck to that pretty well.”
     He continued, “they sent me to Camp Shelby in Mississippi where I had basic training, then to New York to get ready to go overseas.  They put me on KP.  I noticed they had some hams hanging up and I asked, ‘what’s that, horse meat?’ 
     “They said, ‘no, that’s beef.’ And I said, ‘no cow ever grew that big!’ 
     He was warned not to say anything about the horsemeat, because “the boys wouldn’t eat it.”  Osborne recalled how he looked over to see a soldier eating it: “hey, buddy, that’s pretty good horse meat, isn’t it? Someone in the background neighed like a horse, and don’t you know that boy put his plate down, and wouldn’t eat anymore.”
     Osborne continued his story by describing his deployment.  “We got shipped to la Havre, in France.  They had supplies for 3,000 men and here 30,000 came in on this convoy.  They put us in these tent camps.  For the first two weeks, the only things we got to eat were a spoonful of powdered eggs, a half a canteen of coffee, and a piece of bread.  They had garbage cans for the trash, but no garbage ever went in them.”
     As a driver, Osborne covered a lot of territory during the war, covering most of France, Germany, and Austria.  He told me about on his most memorable experience in Germany, when he encountered German SS troops.  “We were out in the woods and they asked for volunteers.  Me like a crazy fool, I volunteered…We were out crawling through the woods when a shot came through.  BLAM!  I felt the heat when it went across the back of my neck.  I looked around from where I saw the flash, and I didn’t even take aim.  I shot.  The bullet hit him in the head…This experience broke me from volunteering.  I don’t volunteer for anything anymore.”
     Osborne elaborated on one of the most controversial incidents of the War, the famous “slapping incident” that involved General Patton.  “I didn’t see it,” he explained, but this boy was laying out and Patton slapped him.  I think the boy was scared, mostly.  Patton slapped him in the face with his glove.”
     The incident led to Patton being reprimanded.  Osborne offered, “a lot of people think it was the worst thing Patton could have done, to slap that boy, but I don’t think so.  I think it brought the boy to his senses.”
     Recalling the death of General Patton, Osborne reflected:  “he was killed in a wreck.  He wanted to go into Russia and we all thought that the CIA was behind the accident.  That was really a sad time, when Patton died.”
   Osborne is obviously proud of his experiences during World War II, even though he claims not to have done “very much.” 
     “Our Division went the furthest and the fastest of any Division over there,” he said.  Surely these memories went with him on a trip several years ago to West Point for a reunion of the 65th Division.  “You know,” he said, “I may be the oldest one in it now.  I was 92 then, and I’m 94 now.”
    Nowadays, George Osborne can often be found at the Roberson Senior Center in Tarboro, where he goes for lunch and to socialize with his many friends.    

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Happiest Moment of My Life


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Message from the President of the University of Virginia

Dear alumni and friends of the University,

Last night about forty students held a demonstration on the north side of the Rotunda and as part of this demonstration, they shrouded the Jefferson statue, desecrating ground that many of us consider sacred. I strongly disagree with the protestors’ decision to cover the Jefferson statue. University personnel removed the shroud. One person was arrested for public intoxication. These are the facts of the situation, regardless of what you may read in media accounts of those who have their own agenda.

Coming just one month after the August 11 torchlight march by 300 racist and anti-Semitic protesters, a march that became violent, this event has reminded us that there are critical and sometimes divisive issues related to the exercise of free expression in an inclusive community.

I would like to frame this issue somewhat differently. Thomas Jefferson was an ardent believer in freedom of expression, and he experienced plenty of abusive treatment from the newspapers of his day. He would likely not be surprised to find that when there are critical disagreements in the polity, those disagreements will find expression at his University. UVA's importance as a university is underscored by the fact that arguments about free expression, hate speech, and similar issues occur here. Sometimes these arguments are noisy.

In your own college days, many of you experienced protests and activism at UVA. The war in Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11, and many other issues have been discussed, debated, and protested at UVA. We are at another such point.  I prefer the process of discussion and debate, and the debate is happening here at UVA with a wide variety of guest speakers, panels, and other opportunities to look at underlying issues. That there is also activism should not be a surprise to any of us.

With my best wishes,

Teresa A. Sullivan

Office of the President
P.O. Box 400224
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4224

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beaten Up, Kicked Out, Bitten and Chewed

"Beaten Up, Kicked Out, Bitten, and Chewed"

It was my "annus horriblous"  -- Ending a friendship over the Christmas holiday, bedridden by the flu at the beginning of 2017, then sideswiped at the NC Poets' Society in mid january by a sudden trip to the emergency room.

The emergency room visit was preceded by a swollen foot and ankle.  A quick call to Nurse Line told me I needed to get to an emergency room.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Foods From My Childhood

homemade mashed potatoes

apple pie

eggs and sausage for breakfast

green beans cooked in a pressure cooker

turkey cooked in a paper bag

grilled cheese sandwiches

meat loaf

cherry pie

blueberry cobbler

RC Cola