This week’s Here’s To Your Health, is a continuation of Keith Ls’ story:
When I was a child I had a horrible speech impediment and when I was eleven years old I was hospitalized for appendicitis. My grandmother who was a great lover of St. Jude, knelt down next to my bed and prayed for me and then slipped a St. Jude medallion on my night stand and then she prayed a 9 day Novena for me. After I was taken to surgery they improperly clamped my tongue and caused it to split, but after they sewed it up and the swelling went down, I could talk.
A big part of A.A.’s Eleventh Step:
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out,” is reflecting back over my life and knowing that God has had His hand on me the whole time.
When I graduated from high school I had no idea what I was going to do, it seemed to me that everyone I graduated with already knew what they were doing, but I had no earthly clue. So I took my very first inventory, I took off my shirt, stood in front of the mirror, flexed my muscles, stood sideways and stuck my chest out. I was five foot and one inches tall, weighed one hundred thirteen pounds. I was a born killer, so I went over to Wheeling, West Virginia and joined the Marine Corps. I wasn’t yet 18 years old so my parents would have to sign for me, but I didn’t tell them what I was doing until my recruiter showed up with papers for them to sign.
My poor mother lost it, she cried all night she kept saying he’s just a boy, they’ll kill him, but my dad said, “Don’t worry Pat, they won’t take him.”
The next morning I got on a bus and went to Pittsburg and it must have been a bad year for recruiting quotas because that day if you had a pulse they took you and by that afternoon I was sworn into the Marine Corps with three other guys from the Pittsburg area. That was at about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon and our train was leaving at about 0100 hrs. the next morning.
One of the guys said to me, “Kid we’re going over to the saloon and get a beer and a sandwich you want to come along?” I said, “That’s just what I was thinking,” the way I dealt with life then was to watch what you did and then join in so quickly that it appeared to be my idea, but I had no idea what life was about. So, we went over to that bar in Pittsburgh and all the other men had women with them. The bartender came over and asked, “What do you want?” My first thought was “Oh, no, it’s another quiz.” I thought he was going to tell us to take out a blank sheet of paper and put our name in the top left corner …They ordered a beer and so did I. I’d never before drank beer or any other alcohol, but after we did that about three times, the next time the bartender asked, I said, “Give us four more beers,” I’d already become a leader. When I stood up and looked around the room all the men looked smaller and all of their women looked at me with hungry eyes and so I went from table to table telling them about my wisdom of life. I knew very little about the Marine Corps, except that they took men down to the swamps in South Carolina and drowned them. And, the next morning I woke up on the floor of a Pullman car the Marine Corps provided for our transport. Somebody had wet the floor where I was at and whoever did it wet me too. I got off the train and the other guys said, “What took you so long, and now what do you want to do?” I said, “I want to find something to drink!” I began to drink and I drank all day until the train stopped at Yemeni, South Carolina. If you haven’t been there, I wouldn’t bother, but anyway, somebody moved the bottom step on my Pullman car and I fell off the train across the next set of railroad tracks.
There was a rude man down there who started yelling obscenities at us. To be continued…
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