I remember the first time I met Marshall. I must have been about six or seven. At the time, I was living on a SAC base in Arkansas with my mom, two sisters, and my little brother. My Dad was on alert (which meant he was off flying somewhere).
The base was a safe environment; meaning we could stay out until the streetlights came on. Most of my friends were other military brats. We would gather at the neighborhood park and play until it was time to go home.
One day in particular, some other kids appeared at the park…Marshall was among them. I don’t remember what proceeded our fight, all I know is that we were defending our ‘turf’. Memory fails as to what it was all about, but that day I had brought a bag of acorns I had collected from the nearby trees. The other kids also had bags of acorns.
Next thing I know, we are chucking acorns at each other in a frenzy of attack. I don’t remember getting hit, but I’m sure I must have. The battle went on for what seemed like an eternity. My arm was tired by the end of it, but I wanted more. Out of ready to throw ammo, we retreated to gather more acorns.
Upon return to the battle field, one older kid showed up with a stick of bamboo. It looked more like a pole than a stick. It resembled a pole vaulters pole, that’s how long it was. Anyway, this kid began to swing the bamboo wildly and with bad intention. I remember not feeling any real fear, but instead a rush of excitement and rage. I asked Marshall what we should do and he said “Nothing, that kid’s not gonna do anything.” He was right, he did nothing but swing the bamboo and yell a lot. How did Marshall know what this kids intentions were? How did he know we were not in any danger?
I was amazed! How did he know? I felt confident from that moment on, and Marshall and I quickly became friends. Before that summer was over we’d become best friends and inseparable. Our next meeting however was not as innocent…