One way or another, all of us go through some kind of basic training. A place and time in our lives that, whether we like it or not, things change into a different pathway. A place where, like it or not, there is no turning back.
In basic training, this was what we would consider a typical day.
4:45AM: The sounds of sleeping and snoring, which was amplified by the 30 some-odd guys in one barracks. “RISE AND SHINE! Rise and shine, gentlemen! Everybody up, up, up! Fall in time in 10 minutes!” (“Fall in” meaning outside dressing in uniform for the daily run.)
As you were scurrying to make the fall in time you thought, maybe this was a dream and in a few minutes you would wake up in a nice Nebraska farm to sunshine and biscuits made by your grandmother. No such luck.
“Run!” And run you did. Oh, no fancy running shoes. Combat boots all the way. Our drill sergeant would run with the company unit, so whatever we were asked (ordered) to do, our drill sergeant would do it first and look like he just came out of a tanning booth to show you how easy things are in basic training.
The run always reached close to an hour and took us uphill, downhill, through hills and over hills.
On the roads or off the roads didn’t matter. “1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4.” Drill sergeants always had a rhythm to their cadence song:
Wanna to go home on your left your right,
Wanna go home on your left your right,
Sound off 12 sound-off 34,
Bring it on down 1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4.
For some reason, deep inside you knew this run was good for you. You knew as you ran you were part of something bigger than yourself. One good thing about the daily run was that you wound up at the Mess Hall (that would be “cafeteria” to us civilians). That turned out to be a really good thing for one reason: FOOD!
To be continued…