Saturday morning, they ate breakfast in the big house, but then went over and sat for a while on their porch steps at Greg's house. Skies were clear, the temperature was already in the 70s, and headed for the high 80s.

   Greg looked out over the compound, and sighed dramatically.

   "What are you thinking about, Gregory?"

   He sighed, again. "Just that this is my last week of freedom."

   "Your last week of freedom?"

   "Yes. Beginning next weekend, every thing I do will be with 'the little woman.'"

   "You do realize that you already do everything with 'the little woman,' and that you like it that way?"

   "Yes, but I'm speaking now for all American males. No red-blooded American man wants to be eternally shackled to a ball and chain."

   She seemed to be giving that some thought. "What if the 'ball and chain' would sit on the front steps with you, and have long, meaningful conversations about all kinds of things?"  Before he could respond, she continued. "What if the 'ball and chain' would let you sleep with her every night, and sometimes she'd wear shiny, soft, silky pajamas, and sometimes nothing at all?"

   "I think my heart is racing a little fast, right now. This conversation may not be good for me."

   "What if the 'ball and chain' would fool around in bed with you for so long in the morning, that you'd be late for work, but would be very energized all day?"

   "That's... "

   "And what if the 'ball and chain' would go riding with you in the evenings, and you'd park in the dark and listen to the ducks settling down for the night, and coyotes howling in the distance, and you'd sometimes see coyotes - or even a bobcat?

   "What would your red-blooded American male have to say to all that?"

   "Well, if you presented it to him that way, he might have a different outlook."

   "He certainly would. Now, what did you really want to talk about?"

  " I don't really have a lot. How are we doing on all the last-minute wedding stuff?"

  "I think we're doing okay. I assume we'll do all the setting up Friday night, when Tim brings our bower, and sets it up. We  can get the chairs set up, and the flowers arranged then, too.

   "I don't think we need a real wedding rehearsal  but, if we have Mandy and Tim there, we can kind of go through the motions. Who stands where, who has the rings, and such? I think we've all witnessed enough weddings on TV and in the movies to know pretty much what to do."

   "Okay. I think my folks will get to town some time Friday afternoon. We have the motel room for them."

   "I think Mom wants to have them come over for dinner that night - them, us, Tim, and I assume Rae. Do the same thing for breakfast... I assume that doesn't violate any wedding rules about seeing the bride before the wedding?"

   "I'm no expert, but I think if you don't wear your wedding gown to the breakfast table, we're all right."

   'Well, that's good. I didn't want to go all morning without seeing you."

   He looked over at her. "I had sort of assumed that you would be waking up in my arms on our wedding morning."

   She looked back. "Are you sure that wouldn't violate some wedding day procedure rules? In some ways, it seems maybe a little more of an issue than wearing my wedding gown at breakfast."

   "So, who would know?"

   "Well, let's see. My family, your family, Tim, Rae..."

   "Let me put it another way. Who would care?"

   She smiled. "Well, I would definitely care, if I didn't wake up in your arms."

   "I think that's settled, then. We have a second motel room reserved. I suggest we make good use of it."

   Vic stood up, stretched, and sat back down again. "We certainly have trouble staying on a subject, don't we? We seem to get easily distracted."

   "I hadn't thought of it that way. I usually think of it as other things getting in the way of us staying on topic."

   He kissed her. She kissed him back. She cuddled close against him. He put his arm around her. She giggled, contentedly. "We are going to have a lot of fun, aren't we?"

   "We're already having a lot of fun. We're just going to have more."

   They sat a while longer, and gazed out over the compound. Nothing moved, not even passing clouds. There wasn't a sound to be heard, not even a distant airliner headed somewhere. (Maybe because of the machinists' strike?)

   "There is something we need to discuss," Vic said, finally.

   "Uh oh, are you about to lead me into some serious conversation, for which I am not ready?"

   She punched his arm, lightly. "No, silly. This is important, but it's not serious - or not serious serious. Do you know what happens shortly after our wedding?"

   "You mean, other than the obvious?"

   She punched him again, not quite so gently. "Greg, you're trying to hijack the conversation, again."

   "Well, what do you expect? I'm sitting here with my arm around a delectably, delicious, darling young woman. There's not another person within five miles..."

   She lifted his arm off her shoulder, and moved maybe six inches away from him. "I expect you to concentrate." He put his hand on her thigh. "And not on that! What happens shortly after our wedding is that Mom and Daddy move away."

   "Oh, that. What about it?"

   "What about it, is that we need to give them a going-away party."

   Vic had his attention, now. "Of course, we do. I hadn't thought about that, at all."

   "Neither had I, there's been so much else going on. But we've lived here eight years, we must know half the people in town, everybody likes Mom and Daddy, and I'm sure they'd like a chance to wish them well. What should we do?"

   'Not exactly my bailiwick, but I'd say a cake and coffee get-together, or maybe a potluck  - probably the former, as the other would take quite a bit of planning. We probably don't have the time - or the energy! - for that."

   "I think you're right. So, we need to keep this secret, but we also need help. I'll talk to Mandy, and you talk to Tim, and then we'll compare notes.

   "So, what are you thinking of doing with the rest of our weekend?"

   He looked her up and down, in what he hoped was a wolfish way. "I had been thinking about 40 hours of romance in your bed, but your reactions the past half hour have not left me hopeful. Perhaps I will just write my paper on the Selective Service."

   "Perhaps that is best. However, although 40 hours are not in the cards, I wouldn't rule out a segment or two of that time."

  "Wow. Well, segments are good, too. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my mind on the draft. May I ask what you will be doing during the non-segment periods?"

   "You may. I'm going to put out of my mind all thoughts of weddings, moving, college, going-away parties - in fact, everything except... Crime!"


   "Yes. Today and tomorrow, I am going to discover if Lord Peter is successful in saving Harriet from the gallows. Well, that's not exactly right. I know he saves her, because she's a character in several later Lord Peter books. What I'm actually going to find out is how he saves her."


   They both pretty much stuck with their plans through the morning. Greg spent a lot of time at the kitchen table, writing. He also spent a lot of time walking up and down, trying to formulate his thoughts before the next spate of writing.

   His walking took him by Vic on a number of occasions, on half of which he discovered her with eyes closed and her book open on her chest. Light kisses on her forehead elicited sleepy smiles, but not much beyond that. He let her sleep. Lord Peter and Harriet would have to look out for themselves.

   He came out again, at about one o'clock. Vic was just opening her eyes. She quickly picked up her book, and tried to look like she had been reading. "How's the crime drama coming along, Vic?"

   "Oh, it's moving right along. How are you doing with your task?"

   "It's coming along. However, I think I am burned out for a little bit. How would you like to share an adventure?"

   She looked at him over the book. "If the 'adventure' is about one of the segments, it isn't time, yet."

   "Well, that's a little disappointing, but actually I had a much different adventure in mind. What would you think about driving over to the diner, getting hamburgers, and chatting with Jackson and Cora for a while?"

   She started to get up off the couch. "I think that's an excellent idea for an adventure. Shall we go now?"

   "Are you sure you want to leave your book for that long?"

   She stood up. "Oh, I think they'll be okay for a while."

   They drove through the refuge without seeing much except lots of ducks. When they turned south on the pavement, Vic spotted four antelope in the alfalfa fields. "Oh look, Greg. It's the antelopes that aren't really antelopes. Can we stop for a minute?"

   Greg pulled the car onto the road edge, and shut off the engine.

   "They're so graceful and pretty," Vic commented.

   "They are, and they can run 50 miles per hour."


   "Well, that's what I've read. I haven't seen many, and I haven't raced even one, so I don't have first-hand knowledge. They can run fast, I'm sure of that."

   They sat and watched while the pronghorns munched unafraid on the alfalfa. "How come they don't come on the refuge?" Vic asked.

   "They probably do, occasionally, but mainly just as they're passing through to get to the good stuff - the alfalfa. Usually they live up on the higher plains but, as more and more irrigated crops are grown down here, more and more antelope come down off the hill to graze on it. I bet we start to see them on the refuge as the years go by, just because more will be in the vicinity."

   "Well, that'll be nice. I think they're pretty great animals. I can see why Dr. Fichter likes them so much."

   They drove on to the diner. The parking lot was empty. Inside, they both hugged Cora. Jackson stuck his head out of the kitchen, and Vic blew him a kiss. Greg made the obligatory comment about their business being booming.

   "Well, Greg, you can make your comments," Cora began, "But we actually had paying customers in here a while ago. A whole raft of them, maybe a dozen altogether. They were just too many to count."

   "Wow. Where did these paying customers come from?"

   "Jake's having a pajama party over at his place, and he brought everybody over here for lunch."

   "Pajama party?" Vic queried.

   "Well, old folks' version. Relatives from Oregon. Laughing, talking, reminiscing, Jake showing off his new farm equipment - if he has any - probably a little drinking. Folks sleeping on beds, couches, floors... wherever they can find a spot, I imagine. Good time had by all - and enough money left behind for us to keep open another day."

   "Sounds like a good time," Greg agreed. "Where from in Oregon?'

   "Oh, that place up on the mountain beyond Ontario. What is it, Jackson?"

   Jackson came all the way out of the back room. "Baker City. Up on the Grande Ronde. Kind of pretty, but they said it's been hotter than blue blazes. You wouldn't think so at that altitude, but I guess it's hot just about everywhere, this time of year."

   "So, changing the subject," said Cora, as she did, "What are you kids doing way out this way on a Saturday afternoon?"

   "We were thinking about having lunch, if you can stand more paying customers in the same day."

   Cora glanced at Jackson. "Well," he said, "I don't know what we'd do with those kinds of riches, but I guess we could give it a try. You want the usual, I suspect. Burgers, fries. What to drink? Coffee, iced tea, cola..."

   "I was thinking milk shake," said Vic. "I've never had one, here. Do you make a good one, Cora?"

   "By far, the best you could get within a few miles of here. What flavor?"


   "Chocolate, it is. How about you, Greg?"

  "No, I think I'll just have coffee. I need to watch my girlish figure."

  Vic turned to Cora. "That's a change. He's usually watching my girlish figure."


   When the food arrived, Cora and Jackson sat down with them to chat. "So, the big day is just a week away," Cora observed.

   "Yes. Greg is calling this his last weekend of freedom. He's concerned about being forever tied to a ball and chain."

   Jackson draped his arm over Cora's shoulder, and pulled her a little closer to him. "Yep, it's a pretty awful situation, Greg. If I had it to do over..."

   Cora kissed his cheek. "You would do it all over again, and probably be even happier the second time. Is it all going okay, Vic?"

   "We think so. There's just so much going on, with Mom and Daddy getting ready to move, and Mandy and I not far from having to think about college. And we were just remembering this weekend that we really need to arrange a going-away party for my parents.

   "Despite all that, I'm really excited and happy and, his ball and chain comment aside, so is Gregory.

   "Speaking of all the things coming up, are you pretty much up to speed on how things are working out for us?"

   "Sure," Cora replied. "Chuck and  Alice leaving  in August. You going back to school. Greg staying here until around Thanksgiving, then moving up with your folks for the winter, and Tim being around as the caretaker. Greg back here in the spring, with you when school lets out."

   "Yep, that's basically it, pending of course all kinds of other possible changes."

   "What's the outlook for hunting on the refuge?" Jackson asked.

   "Well, there won't be any official word on the season from Fish and Game until September, probably. I haven't heard anything to make me think the season will be much different than last year. I haven't talked to Todd in a while, but I suspect he'll run the show on the refuge, again. If he's around, he'll probably show up for Chuck's send-off, so I can talk to him, then.

   "The big issue for us may be water. We've got almost no inflow now, and it's a long time to the usual rainy season. Chuck and I have already made the decision to start drying up ponds, to keep the rest as full as possible for as long as possible. If we end up draining very many, there may not be much area to hunt in. That would frustrate Fish and Game, and our usual hunters, but there may not be any alternatives."

   "I didn't realize it was that bad, already," Jackson mused. "You know, you've got another problem to consider, too. No hunting would mean no hunters, which would mean no business here, which would mean..."

   "We might have to take a winter vacation to Hawaii," Cora finished. "Shut her down, Greg. I've been trying to get to Hawaii for years!"

   "Changing the subject," said Greg, "Have you been able to see the fire off to the west of you?"

  "Mostly just the smoke. I think all the crews have been working from the Burley side. Nobody's been out here that we've seen. Oh, we have seen the plane that they've been using to drop retardant. They must be using that little air strip at Raft River to load the stuff, because the plane is still barely off the ground when it goes over us. Noisy little critter, too."

   "Changing the subject again," Vic began, "We saw four antelope in the alfalfa up the road."

   "Ross didn't run you off with his shotgun, suspecting you were trying to steal his crop - or the water for his crop?"

   "Nope, all was quiet," Greg answered. "Has he been having trouble?"

   "Well, we were up by there the other night, and the  plants still look pretty good. He's just complaining about the same problem you have. There isn't a whole lot of water around, and alfalfa needs water. He's cut it once, already, and got a reasonable haul, but it's about the time he'd normally do a second cutting. I don't think there's much to cut, yet."

   "Ross doesn't seem to mind the antelope, and we love to see them," Cora said. "We drive up there some nights just around dusk, and stay until after it gets dark."

   "But you wouldn't be able to see them in the dark."

   Cora gave her a speculative glance. "You must be older than you look. Dark and balmy night, lonely spot, two people who like each other alone in a car together..."

   "Oh, we're not talking about antelope watching anymore, are we?"


   They talked for another half hour or so, then Vic and Greg headed back through the refuge. Ducks everywhere, a few jack rabbits on the road, but nothing else of note. It was just getting dark when they got back to the house.

   They went to bed early, using one of their "segments" then, and another the next morning. Both agreed the "segments" were inspirational. They were still in bed when the phone rang. Vic went to answer it, to Greg's delight watching her go.

   "Hi Mom."

   "Hi, Dear. I didn't wake you, did I?"

   "No, we've been awake an hour or so. We hadn't made it to an upright position, yet."

   There was a little pause. "I didn't call at an awkward  time?"

   "No, no. We were just still enjoying a little moment of pre-marital bliss. Sort of the 'cigarette moment,' without the cigarettes."

   Alice laughed. "Do they still do that? Every old movie that dared to show a couple in bed always showed them lighting up, afterward. But, changing the subject, are you coming in to town today?"

   "We would if you needed me. Right now, we're planning to come in tomorrow morning. I think Greg is almost finished with his new letter on the military draft, and we're going to take this afternoon to discuss it, and maybe finalize it."

   "Draft letter? Is this another like your letter to the editor?"

   "Same idea, but some new facts and considerations. Right now, there are a number of studies and hearings going on concerning the future of the draft, and Greg just wants another chance to put his two cents in."

   "Is he really worried about the draft?"

   "Yes and no. It's always hanging over our heads, so we have to think about it occasionally. However, most of what he's writing now isn't stuff that will affect us. We think the draft is unconstitutional, and we want to keep saying that as many ways as we can.

   "So, do you need me in there?"

   "No, dear. I think we're in good shape. I'll see you in the morning. Don't smoke in bed."


   After breakfast, Greg settled down at the kitchen table with his notes. About an hour later, he went to find Vic. "I think I have the draft letter drafted."

   She smiled. "Interesting way to put it, a draft draft. You want to discuss it?"

  "Yes, but I think I'd like a little exercise, and a little head clearing time. Do you want to go for a walk?"

    She did. It was another dry day, with the temperature already moving up toward the 80s. They took the loop through the forest. No birds called, and nothing moved except them. Still, it was a nice stroll, and it did help Greg get his thoughts together.

   Back in the house, they settled down on the couch. Greg started to hand a sheaf of papers to Vic. "Why don't you read it to me first, Greg? Then, I'll get both the words and the feeling. When I read it afterwards, that should help me know what I'm looking for."

   "Are you sure? It's a little dry to start with, and then I've spent a lot of time on the Supreme Court decision. Maybe it's too much."

   "Just go ahead, and we'll see."

    He started to read:   "Dear Representative, There's a lot of discussion right now about Selective Service and the military draft. The House Armed Services Committee hearings are being covered in our local newspapers. The Pentagon has just released their own evaluation of how the draft is working - something, apparently, the President asked for two years ago. Then, in early July, I see that President Johnson appointed a 20-member National Advisory Committee to do a six-month, in-depth evaluation of the Selective Service System. Unfortunately, since doing away with the military draft is not one of the possible recommendations or outcomes of any of these efforts, it is - as the old saying goes - like putting a band-aid on a cancer. No matter how much "improvement" is accomplished, a serious Supreme Court review of the draft laws would almost certainly find them to be unconstitutional.

   "Do you think that's a good introduction?"

   "Sure. You state why you're writing the letter now, and what you think is wrong with what's being considered."

   "Okay, now I get into sort of dissecting the Supreme Court decision. I'm pretty tough of them, but I think it's fair. Here goes.  

   "The Supreme Court looked at the draft law almost 50 years ago. That was the first and last time. The look was brief and superficial. Being asked for a review at that particular time must have been a real dilemma for them, and later a real embarrassment. Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service law one month later, which set the draft in motion. The law was immediately challenged as unconstitutional (actually, there were several challenges), the Supreme Court heard arguments in December of the same year, and published their decision - that the draft law was fully constitutional - less than a month later, in January 1918. It must have been one of the quickest Supreme Court rulings in history, and on what looked to be a pretty complicated issue. But, in retrospect, what choice did they have? With the draft already going forward, and the United States committed to sending thousands of U. S. troops to Europe, were we about to tell the world that our actions were unlawful? Hardly!

   "Now, I get a little sarcastic in this next section. See if you think it's too much.

   "One thing that can be said in the Court's favor is that, knowing all they were doing was rubber-stamping Congress' law, they didn't besmirch the Constitution itself by pretending to analyze it. Instead, they resorted to hyperbole - tongue-in-cheek questions and comments not meant to be taken seriously. For instance, 'Compelled military service is neither repugnant to a free government nor in conflict with the constitutional guarantees of individual liberty.' Really? Isn't 'compelled' a contradiction of 'individual liberty?' What about, 'As the mind cannot conceive an army without the men to compose it, on the face of the Constitution, the objection that it does not give power to provide for such men would seem to be too frivolous for further notice.' Is it too frivolous, then, to talk seriously about how much individual freedom can be eroded by supposed military need? Also, the Court made the argument that lots of countries had mandatory military service requirements? What does that have to do with our Constitution? As a teenager, how much weight did your parents give to your argument  that 'everybody was doing it,' whatever 'it' was that you wanted to do? Is 'everybody's doing it' the usual way to judge constitutional issues?"

   Vic chuckled. "I like that 'everybody's doing it' comparison. It's a little snippy, but accurate."

   "Okay, there's more.

   "When the Court finally worked its way through a confused and confusing 'history,' a conclusion was reached: Congress has the power to declare war, and to raise armies to fight those wars. The power is unlimited by the Constitution. The Government can meet their needs any way they feel they need to. Conscription - forced employment in the military - is one chosen way.

   "You might wonder - since this was a constitutional review - what they said about the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. You remember?  'Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.' Here's what they said: 'Finally, as we are unable to conceive upon what theory the exaction by government from the citizen of the performance of his supreme and noble duty of contributing to the defense of the rights and honor of the nation, as the result of a war declared by the great representative body of the people, can be said to be the imposition of involuntary servitude in violation of the prohibitions of the Thirteenth Amendment, we are constrained to the conclusion that the contention to that effect is refuted by its mere statement'"

  "If you can weave your way through all the words, you'll see that their answer is that the Thirteenth Amendment doesn't matter. They made no attempt to explain away 'involuntary servitude' as something other than 'involuntary servitude.' They just said it doesn't matter, when the only thing the Government is asking is that American men perform their 'supreme and noble duty.' Presumably, the statement in our other beloved document - the Declaration of Independence - that all men are endowed 'with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,' is also set aside in the face of military need. What else in our Constitution might be subject to modification or loss if the 'military need' was considered strong enough?

   "Why do I think the draft is 'involuntary servitude?' Because you can't get out of it, no matter how you feel about it. You must register. You must keep your registration current. If you are called, you must serve. You may get a deferral for education or some other purpose, but eventually you must serve. You might be spared from killing someone, or being killed yourself, by being a conscientious objector - but only if your 'conscience' is the result of attending certain churches, not any moral outlook (probably a clear violation of the church-station separation in the Constitution?). In any event, you might not have to go to war, but you must serve your two years in some war-related way. If that isn't 'involuntary'..."

   "Greg, that statement about conscientious objectors - is that true? You can't be morally against war and killing people unless they taught you that in church?"

   "Not just church, but very specific churches that specifically teach against war. One thing I didn't say is that clergymen - certain church officials - are exempt from the draft? Why? Isn't that another church-state issue? Well, anyway, here's more.

   "We should also remember that our 'involuntary servitude' isn't just for two years. Yes, we are drafted for two years, but our period of servitude could last for eight years, from age 18 until we are drafted, or until we turn 26. We only have to serve two years, but we are on call for eight! It's like a  prison sentence, in reverse. If you're in prison for a crime, when you are released you might be on parole for a certain amount of time. During that period, if you don't follow all the rules, you could be sent back to jail. With the draft, we're put on parole for eight years, during which time we might or might not be called into active service. Whether we are or aren't, we could go to jail during those eight years for not following the draft registration rules.

   "There isn't any way to know when - or if - we will be called. How do we plan? We can get married, but we might be called the next day. We might have children, but we might be called the next day. We might move our residence. We might get a new job. We might say 'what the hell' and just decide to live as normal a life as possible. Nothing protects us from it being disrupted at any point. Not 'involuntary servitude?' How can you say that?"

   Vic interrupted. "You used that  'parole' idea when we were talking before. Nobody seems to mention that, but I think it's a very strong point. I'm glad you put it in."

   "Thanks. I think it's pretty important, too. When you think of it, we really are being drafted for up to eight years, not two.

   "Okay, here I change to talking about if we really need a military draft, at all. And I want to use terms like 'involuntary servitude' and 'conscription' to continue to question the constitutionality issue.

   "Do we need 'involuntary servitude' and conscription to have an effective national military system? I don't think so. If there was ever a direct threat to the United States by an enemy power (Pearl Harbor is perhaps the only example we have of a premeditated attack on an American territory), I don't think there's any question that every able-bodied person would rush to defend family, home, and country. We wouldn't care about how long it took, whether we lived or died, how  much (or if!) we got paid. We would fight with all our might for all we believe in.

   "Our wars are not like that. They're fought in far-off countries - sometimes, in places we never heard of - for obscure reasons that even our leaders are unable to explain to us. Our chances of dying are high  - they say 116,000 Americans died in World War I, 405,000 in WWII, 36,000 in Korea, and already 4,000 in Viet Nam, with the Pentagon predicting this war has barely begun! I wasn't able to find any estimates of how many Americans were so maimed physically or mentally that they couldn't lead a 'normal life' when they returned home. Those figures would probably be very high.

   "With these kinds of wars, and these kinds of casualties, it's no wonder men aren't racing to enlist - particularly if they're not being offered any extra incentive to take their chances. But what if they were offered pay and other benefits commensurate with the risks? My government job is not particularly dangerous, but I occasionally have to do dangerous things. For those assignments, I'm given hazardous duty pay - considerably more than my usual salary. I understand that some soldiers get 'combat pay' when they are actually fighting, but I don't think everyone does, and I don't think it's probably enough to be much of an incentive. Why not offer a hazardous duty wage full-time for men who will enlist for, say, three years, with a guarantee of the same deal for re-enlistment? I predict you'd have an abundance of men whose patriotism, enjoyment of military life, need to support a family, or desire for an interesting job or  career would be energized by a healthy paycheck.

   "The Defense Department report  that was just released claimed that, to attract an all-volunteer force of 3 million (the present number of servicemen) would cost an increase of $4 billion to $17 billion over current salaries. Obviously, the numbers aren't precise, and I don't have a lot to work with, but it looks like that much extra money would be enough to double the annual salary of every serviceman, volunteer and  conscript. The newspaper just reported that this year's total military budget is $66 billion. Considering that, it seems like quibbling not to pay for a fighting force that wants to fight!

   "There are other benefits to a volunteer army. Conscripts are only forced to serve two years. The majority of them probably have no military training, so their time before entering battle is long, more than a third of their total time and probably close to half. That means, assuming they are not killed or seriously wounded, their actual fighting time is little more than a year. These men did not want to be in the military, and few are likely to re-enlist. They take what training they got - mostly in the use of firearms - into private life, where it is of little use to them or the Government.

   "Enlistees, on the other hand, want to train, so they will undoubtedly be quicker getting to the battlefield. If they re-enlist (which many will), they won't need major re-training, a bonus both in money saved and time not lost from combat. Some will find they like military life enough to make it a career, keeping both their training and experience in the military, and useful to the country.

  "To say that a volunteer army won't work is only to say it hasn't been seriously tried. To say it will cost too much is false economy, pure and simple."

   "What do you think so far, Vic?"

   "I'm quite impressed. I thought maybe it was going to involve just re-saying what we said in our first letter. Most of this is brand-new, and really important. I like it. I'll read it closely when you finish, but I don't think I'll suggest many changes."

   "Great. Now, this last section has been a little harder for me. I don't really want to talk about 'improving' the current draft situation. I want to get rid of it, altogether! However, I think I'm smart enough to see that some effort to make the draft easier or fairer is the best we can hope for - maybe even that is more than will happen. So, I want to make a couple of recommendations, but I don't want to encourage anybody! Here's what I have, so far.

   "I don't want to say much about ways to improve the draft, because I think it is unconstitutional and should be terminated. However, reading in the paper the kinds of things you are discussing, I'll offer several suggestions.

   1. Don't allow a draft to occur until Congress has officially declared war. This is your constitutional responsibility. To ignore it, while at the same time allowing involuntary servitude, is doing double violence to the Constitution.

   2. Don't continue to force men to be in limbo for eight years. Select two to three years of the age group that the military thinks make the best fighting force, and hold the draft only for that age range. If the low end of the current range is picked, your own conclusion (as expressed in news stories) is that there will be plenty of new potential recruits for many years. If a higher range is picked, there will always be men coming behind. It will mean that most men can plan much of their young lives without worry of disruption by the draft.

   3. Do go to a national lottery of some kind. As one of your members expressed it in our local paper, the system can never be fair when '4,000 boards are each making their own deferment policies.'


     "The draft has been characterized by Armed Services Committee Chairman, Mendel River, as 'an unpleasant fact of life that cannot be wished away.' Another congressman said it is a 'hodgepodge of confusion and inconsistencies' that are not being addressed because the draft is a 'sacred cow' You could get rid of this unpleasant sacred cow, altogether. At the least, I hope you fix some of its most serious issues.

  " Thanks for your time. Gregory Cleveland, Magic Valley, Idaho."

  Greg put down his papers, and looked a question at her.

   "I really like the ending - bringing their own words back to them. I think the recommendations are good, too. We don't want any draft, but if Congress would just do the few things you recommend, it would make a lot of men's lives much more in their control. I think they should be left in the letter."

    "Okay. I still worry about the second one - the age of being drafted. You know that, if I had my way, under no circumstances would I allow anyone under 21 to be drafted. But, if I say that, then it seems to me I've condemning some other group."

   "I understand that feeling, but remember what you're trying to get across. To show that a three-year age limit on the draft would be just as effective as eight years, you have to show that it would work at either end of the eight year period. Well, as we discussed before, men older than 26 might actually be the best choice. I don't think you have to give a preference - especially since your preference is to have no draft, at all!

   "So, let me read this over a time or two, and then we can discuss it. As I said, I really don't think I'd suggest changing much. Do you want to try to get this out before the wedding?"

   "I'd like to, because I'd like to get it out while the hearings are still going on. If we wait, we're talking at least two or three weeks, I'd think."

   "Well, if we're happy with it in the next few hours, I think I can type it up today. Then, we'd have to get copies made in town. We could probably still get it in the mail this week."


   They broke for a quick lunch. Vic reviewed  the letter several times. They discussed it, and agreed on a few minor changes of wording. Vic typed a final copy. By evening, they were both feeling exhausted. A third "segment" helped ease that exhaustion, considerably. In the morning, they felt quite content with their weekend accomplishments.

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