Tuesday, August 16 - the first day that Greg and Vic came to the full realization that they were on their own with both work and married life - was hot and dry. The 30-day projection for Magic Valley was for daily temperatures to remain between 40 and 90 degrees, with the only possible moisture coming from vagrant thunderstorms. If the predictions proved true, it would be the driest August since 1958, and the warmest in the past several years  (although not record-setting). It looked to Greg like water would be his chief concern for the next month.

   Greg's first official act as manager-in-charge was to call the Regional Office to see about getting Vic on the payroll. Because it was an obvious "sole source" situation, and Vic would only be available for a month before going back to school, she was granted an immediate temporary appointment of up to 16 hours per week. They would worry about next spring when/if necessary.

   One thing Greg had thought to do before Chuck left was to arrange for mail delivery of the Twin Falls and Pocatello newspapers. Mike would deliver them a day or two late, but that's how he'd always seen Chuck's hand-me-downs, anyway. The first batch, covering up through August 14, arrived on Tuesday. He made a quick skim of headlines (he'd look in detail, later), and saw one story he should mention to Chuck.

    He called Idaho Falls, and got Donna Morton, Chuck's clerk. "Donna, this is Greg Cleveland, Chuck's assistant down at Magic Valley."

   "Sure. Hi, Greg. It's nice to have a voice to go with the name. Congrats, by the way, on your recent marriage. They say it's always a good career move to marry the boss' daughter."

   Greg laughed. "I'm not sure. We might have got married despite Vic being Chuck's daughter. Whatever, it was a great move for me.

   "Say, I have a couple of things I'd like to chat about with him, if he's available. It's nothing real important, so he can call me back if he needs to."

   "I think he's available. While I have you on the phone, I assume you'll be up one day soon to talk about handling paperwork between the two refuges?"

    'Yeah, probably in the next week or so."

   "Good, I'm looking forward to seeing you in person. I'll get  Chuck."

   Chuck came on the line almost immediately. "Greg, good to hear from you. Everything okay down there?"

   "Seems to be, although I sort of feel like the guy who fell out of the tenth story window. Every floor he went by, he said 'so far, so good.'"

   "Yeah, I know that feeling. Everything's really pretty much the same as it has been for a year and a half, but now you don't have me there to blame for problems."

   "Maybe that's it. So, how are you and  Alice doing? Settling in okay?"

   "Really good, I think. The orientation trips up here helped a lot. Allie is enjoying the refuge, and also enjoying being able to get off it when she wants to."

   "That sounds good. Neither of you is missing the god-awful road, yet?"

   "Not yet."

   "Say, I didn't have anything real important. Vic is officially on the payroll, up to 16 hours a week. Personnel did an emergency assignment, just for the month until Vic and Mandy head for school. We'll worry about next spring when next spring comes."

   "That's a good stroke of business. She should probably get on the phone with Donna, and they can talk out how to handle the paperwork."

   "Yeah, Donna already mentioned something along those lines - not with Vic, because I didn't have a chance to tell her about that appointment, but coordinating with me.

   "The other thing was about that committee of farmers set up to talk about hunting on private land. A note in the Twin Falls paper says the Minidoka County Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting with the farmers and Fish and Game. There was general agreement with Fish and Game that all the farmers had to do was post their land with signs that say 'hunting by written permission, only.' That's the only legal requirement - and I guess even that isn't really legally necessary. Your land is your land to do with as you like. The signs just assure that a trespasser knows he's trespassing. Fish and Game promised to increase patrols, and to help landowners prosecute trespassers, if they want to.

   "Apparently, everybody's happy, and the problem is solved."

   "That sounds good. If Fish and Game keeps their promises through the upcoming hunt season, we may really escape involvement in that particular issue.

   "Anything else on your mind?"

   "Just water, I guess. The 30-day weather outlook is for continued 90 degree days, and almost no precipitation. I don't see how we're going to maintain enough marsh for our normal hunt area. I talked to Todd a little bit, just to alert him. It sounds like they have troubles of their own, so who knows? We'll get together in the next couple of weeks, and strategize some more."

   "Well, keep me informed, obviously. If you and Todd think you need to make significant  changes, you're probably going to need some strong support from those of us a little higher up the foot chain."

   "I'm guessing you're right about that."

   "So, what's the story with the two Anderson daughters?"

   "We kept Mandy with us here at the refuge the first weekend, then took her in to Nancy's. We're going to go in and see her later in the week, and see if we can set up some special arrangements until it's time for them to head for school.

   "I'm thinking of driving up to see you in the next couple of weeks, and maybe bring Vic along, so she can work with Donna in person. Does that sound okay to you?"

   "Sure. We'd love to see the other one, too, if you can figure something out."


   Greg went over to the shop to talk to Tim about the upcoming weeks. "I talked to Chuck for a few minutes this morning. He and Alice seem to be settling in well. I filled him in on the weather and water situations, and how they might affect our fall. If you've been out on the area recently, you know that the first pool beyond the 'narrows' is completely dry now, except for the creek bed. The second pool looks like I probably should pull some boards there, soon. That means that both our banding sites and - more importantly - our hunting area boundaries are almost certainly going to be affected.

   "I'm thinking that maybe you and I can locate a couple of trapping spots this next week, then start banding around the first of September, like we did last year. Shut it down just before hunting season starts, which I assume will be the same weekend as last year - I think,  about October 8.

   "The hunting season looks to be a problem. With continuing high temperatures, and almost no rain expected through September, I feel pretty sure we're going to have to drain another pond. With so little water left in the west end of the refuge, I don't see how we can keep as much area open for hunting as we usually do. That probably won't be a problem between Todd and us, but it may be between him and his bosses. Philosophically, I don't want to have a wildlife refuge with no refuge. Practically, if we don't have a fairly large closed area, the birds won't stay nearby, so the hunters will have less hunting opportunity.

   "I don't want to make the call too soon, and end up putting Todd on the spot needlessly. Realistically, I think we know right now that there will be considerably less wetland by the end of September. I think I have to make the call before the girls go off to college,"

   "When is that?"

   "They need to be at school by September 10. So, not a lot of time.

   "On another subject, you went on furlough in mid-September last year. Any ideas yet about what you want to do this fall?"

   "No. I can't quit that early this year - we really need the money. I'd like to work the sugar campaign - that would help the bank account, considerably - but I don't know if I can leave my folks on their own for that long. Of course, I'll have some money coming in from my caretaker duties beginning in November. I guess it's just too early for me to make any decisions."

   "That's okay. One thing you might keep in mind is that, with your WAE status, you don't have to work every day. If you wanted to be on the payroll just two or three days a week through September - even into October, for that matter - we could find enough to keep you gainfully employed, while still letting you work at home."

   "I hadn't thought of that, and it is worth considering. Thanks."

   Vic had appeared, and invited them both to eat lunch at the house. Tim declined. "Thanks, Vic. I have  lunch with me, and Greg suggested that I should survey the water situation some time. Maybe I'll take my sandwich, and do that now."

   "Okay. Any wedding plans yet?"

   He laughed. "Let's not get into that! I'm still only half believing I asked her, and she said yes."


   Vic and Greg walked back to the house together, and Vic made up some sandwiches for them. They settled on their couch.

   "I talked to your dad for a minute this morning. He says he and your mom are doing fine, and aren't missing the god-awful road, yet. He said to say 'hi' to you and Mandy, and hopes you can get up for a visit soon. By the way, you are now officially the refuge clerk-typist, for up to 16 hours per week."

    "Wow, so quick. So, what do I do first?"

   "Probably our time and attendance cards, so we all get paid on time. I'll show you how to do that. There's still a  little figuring out to do, regarding what we handle from here, and what we send up to Idaho Falls. I talked briefly to Donna, your dad's clerk, and she suggested either getting together, or talking over the phone, about who handles what. We'll have to plan that.

   "Talking about planning in general, for the time between now and when you go off to school, it seems to me that we really do need to make a real schedule for us and Mandy. We know she's feeling a little lost right now, so being with her on a regular basis is probably pretty important."

   "Yep, I  had come to the same conclusion. Did you have anything special in mind?"

   "Well, let me ask you this first. Is she going to have the same days off every week? If it's Sunday and Monday every week, like this time, we could drive in and pick her up Saturday night. We could eat out or go to  movie - or both - then bring her out here with us until Monday night or Tuesday morning. Doing something like that each week would be fun for all of us, and would keep her from being alone all the time. We could do that for the next three weeks, and then the fourth week you start to school. She wouldn't be working that last week, anyway, because you'd be getting ready to go to Pocatello."

  Vic was silent for a bit, "I like that idea. I'll call her tonight, and see what her schedule will be, and what she thinks of your idea." She touched his cheek. "You are a good man, and a good brother, Gregory Cleveland."

   "Thanks. So, how's the housewife business going?"

   She smiled. "When you don't have a lot of furniture, there's not a lot to do. Actually, I've been going through a couple of boxes of my personal things that I haven't really looked at this past year. I'm finding a few things that will make our cave a little homier, I think."

   Greg went back to the office, and Vic continued to explore the contents of her boxes. Tim came over to the office before going home, and told Greg about his trip out on the refuge. "You're definitely right about that second pond being nearly dry by hunting season. I don't see how you can avoid changing the hunt boundaries. I have some ideas we can talk about when we set up the duck traps.

   "By the way, I think I found two sites for the traps that won't be affected by the water levels in September. I'll start getting the traps serviced this week. We cleaned them up pretty good last fall, so they shouldn't need much work."


   Greg and Vic didn't take an evening drive out on the refuge, because Vic wanted to call Mandy before too late in the evening. While she was doing that, Greg settled on the couch to continue  perusing old newspapers.

   "Mandy likes your idea," Vic announced later, as she settled on the couch next to him. "However, I need to make one modification. Mandy and I need one day in town to finish our shopping for school. What about this for next week? We pick her up Saturday evening, eat and go to a movie, then bring her out here for Sunday. Monday morning, she and I go to town by ourselves, leaving  you here to put in an honest day's work. We do our school shopping, then I come home either Monday night or Tuesday morning. Could you stand to have me gone from you for that long?"

   "I will hate it, even though we're talking about less than 24 hours. However, it sounds quite tolerable when I force myself to think about how things will be in just a few short weeks from now."

   She cuddled a little closer to him. "I know. I'm dreading that. We've done it before, so I know we can figure out ways to survive, but I don't want to think about it, at all."

   It was only then that Vic realized Greg had set the newspapers aside, and was obviously thinking of something besides her going away to school. "What are you thinking about, Greg?"

   He grinned at her. "Venita Jo."

   "You worry me. What would be going on with you two if she wasn't 2,500 miles away?"

   He put his arm around her. "I'm just teasing you. I think of Jo mainly when I see or hear something about race, or discrimination, or civil rights. Do you know how many stories there are about those things in just these two papers? Well, I didn't count, but there are a lot.

   "The first one I came to was kind of nice. It was about the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles celebrating peace, rebuilding after the riots, and relative optimism about the future. It went downhill from there! In Chicago, there were three marches into all-White neighborhoods, protesting against alleged housing discrimination. The marchers were greeted with rocks, bottles, and at least one fire-bomb. At a meeting of the American Nazi Party, the 3,000 White attendees were encouraged to march into Negro neighborhoods. In Michigan, there was rock-throwing,  fire-bombing, fighting, broken store windows, and damage to cars in Detroit and Lansing. Later in the week, there were similar problems in Muskegon and Ypsilanti, with riots of Negroes against Whites... I hate using that term - Whites! - but that's the way the papers always express it.   Anyway, there was also a gun battle in New York City, where two White people were allegedly shot by four Negroes.

   "While all this was going on up North, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Ku Klux Klan was having a meeting attended by 5,000 people. There they were blaming Communists for all the racial disturbances, and there aren't really any racial problems!  The meeting was crashed  by a mixed group of Negroes and Whites, who jeered at the speakers and generally disrupted things. At the same time, in Grenada, Mississippi, 200 Negroes on a civil rights march had bottles, rocks and firecrackers thrown at them by a group of Whites.

   "While all this is going on, we sit here in Idaho, like we're in some kind of bubble, and the only news that leaks in is about how the potato crop is doing this year!"

   "And this has all  happened in just the last few days? What's going on?"

   "A little bit of everything, probably. Congress is trying to pass a new civil rights act, and nobody - Negro or White - seems to like it. It's the long, hot, humid summer when everybody's antsy about something or other. Then, there's a new movement in the Negro community, called 'black power.' The name itself must scare a lot of White people - and I guess there are some groups that are tired of 'peace marches,' and want to get more confrontational - but in general it seems like it's just a call to develop more pride in being Negro, and to establish more of a unique Negro culture.

   "It must be really hard, realizing that not only were White people the reason for Negro slavery to begin with, but that even today - because of the structure of our government and culture - Negroes are still pretty much dependent on White people for any improvements made in their lives. To some, it must be kind of a slap in the face to have to rely on White college kids from the North coming to your area to help you desegregate your local schools. And if your enslavers and your 'savers' are the same people, what level of trust can you have that they are really looking out for your best interests?

   "I guess this brings me to the reason that Venita Jo comes to mind, now. The question I have is, can Negroes and White people ever really be friends? Being a true friend requires a tremendous amount of trust in the other person. Knowing the past - and knowing what's still going on today - can there really be that degree of trust between a Negro and a White person? Also, friends have to be on equal footing with one another. Knowing that Black welfare depends a lot of White largesse, will there always be a trace of Negro subservience in any relationship?

   "I don't know the answers. I'm just asking questions. I've known only one Negro in my life - Jo - and that wasn't for very long. We seemed to be very comfortable, together. In just an hour or so, Jo and your mom were acting like they'd known each other their whole lives. She and the Johnson boys bantered like any men and women of their age would. It all seemed very hopeful.

   "But it was just a moment. Friendships have to endure many moments - good ones, bad ones, hard ones, easy one, complicated ones. Friends think carefully before - as the saying goes - 'rushing in where angels fear to tread,' but rush they will if rushing is required. I don't know, true friendship is a lot to ask.

   "I think I read to you Thomas Jefferson's  thoughts about freeing the slaves. It wasn't exactly in support of slavery, but it certainly was a plea to go slowly before abolishing it. He said that there was so much bad blood between Whites and Blacks - deep-rooted prejudices that Whites had, and too many memories of mistreatment that the Negroes had - that they could never live on equal terms in the same country. He thought that one 'race' would surely kill off the other, if they had to live together.

   "Jefferson was a slave owner - god, I hate that term! He kept fellow humans in bondage. He bought and sold them like livestock. He never freed one of them in his lifetime, not even the Negro woman who bore him several children. It was to his advantage to paint the worst picture possible of what freeing the slaves would be like.

   "He wasn't entirely wrong. There hasn't been out-and-out war, but there certainly hasn't been peace. We can say that some progress has been made toward equality, but it's been 100 years since emancipation. Can we really be proud of how little has actually changed?"

    He stopped, and gave her a sad smile. "Sorry. I didn't mean to dump all that on you. I get so wound up about the Negro situation, and yet feel completely helpless to do anything about it."

   "I know, but I'm that friend you were describing. You can tell me anything, any time."


   After further review of the calendar, it became clear to Greg that he wasn't going to make a trip to Idaho Falls before he delivered Vic and Mandy to school. Therefore, Wednesday morning, he had Vic call Donna  to discuss how to handle paperwork between the two refuges. It turned out to be an easy transition. They could handle time cards, payment vouchers and such as they had in the past, just sending  copies to Idaho Falls. Greg could handle routine correspondence, with copies to Chuck. For any issues that seemed like they might need higher level scrutiny, Greg would draft letters and memos, and mail them to Donna to finalize for Chuck's signature. If it looked like a subject might be too time sensitive to wait for the mail, Greg could dictate the details over the phone to Donna, and she could prepare something for Chuck to sign.

   Later in the day, he went out on the refuge to check the water levels. Vic went with him. They had talked about him lowering the water, but it was a shock to her to see the first pool dry, and the next one at only about half-capacity.

   "I guess I didn't really realize how bad it was, even when you and Daddy talked about it."

   "It's bad, all right, and it's supposed to stay dry and near 90 degrees for another couple of weeks, at least. I think I'm going to pull one board off this second pond today, and let it drain a little more." He did. "We're probably going to lose this second pond, completely. You can see why I'm starting to worry about the hunting area."

   "Couldn't we just not have hunting this year?"

   "I don't think it's an option, because of politics and public relations. The State Fish and Game is so committed to maximum hunting opportunity that I don't think Todd could recommend a full closure. I don't think Fish and Wildlife Service wants to start that kind of a fight with Fish and Game, anyway. We don't serve a lot of hunters here, but we do have some 'regulars' who don't have other logical places to hunt, and I'd kind of hate to shut them out, completely. I think the best we're going to be able to do is for Todd and me to get together, and decided on some changes in the boundaries of the hunt and the closed areas." He  paused, and seemed to be thinking about something. "I also have kind of a personal reason for not wanting to close the refuge, entirely,"

   "What is it?"

   He smiled. "We have some friends who have a diner down the road. Even though the hunt isn't a terribly big deal, if it wasn't for the hunters and the Fish and Game guys, they wouldn't have much of any business in October and November. Jackson joked about it to me one time, but I think they really need that little bit of business to carry them through. That probably wouldn't carry any weight in a decision by either Fish and Game or Fish and Wildlife, but it is important to me."

   "Me, too."


   Mike had delivered several days of newspapers. After dinner, Greg and Vic settled down to peruse them. The first thing Vic saw was the 30-day outlook for Magic Valley weather.

   "They're still saying temperatures up to 90 degrees the whole time, and no moisture except a possible brief thunder  shower or two. It looks like you're going to be right about losing at least one more pond."

   "Yeah, I'll see if I can get Todd out here next week, and decide between us where the boundaries will be. I think that's probably something we can decide by ourselves, and won't need to get either his bosses or mine involved.

   "Say, here's a note that there's a tentative agreement with machinists in the airline shutdown. I haven't seen much in the news about that lately. It must still be chaos out there, if the main airlines have been shut down all this time.  If the settlement is approved, it looks like the  machinists will get sizeable salary increases. It's been a lot to put the country through, but at least somebody wins something."

   They read in silence for a while. "Here's something about Viet Nam that addresses one of the things we wrote about," said Vic. "The Senate is proposing that Army Reservists and National Guard be called up for Viet Nam service. The Defense Department is opposed to that, but some senators are quoted as saying - here's the quote -  ' It is unfair to send draftees and volunteers to do the front line fighting while thousands of youthful Reservists and Guardsmen escape by joining the Reserves.' That's what we said!"

   "Is there any more to that story? I guess the thinking has been that we need all those reservists here as our 'home guard,' in case anybody tries to invade us while we're off in Asia. The other thing is that the reserves are State militia, so there are some jurisdictional issues."

   "No, that seems to be the whole article. By the way, we haven't heard anything from your Viet Nam letter?"

   "Not a word, not a peep. I'm obviously disappointed. I think it's a pretty good letter."

   "Maybe when I get to school, my Government teacher will have something. I think he continues to keep students scanning the news for interesting stories all summer. He will have saved anything about the draft.

   "Here's something else about the war. General Westmoreland met with LBJ in Texas recently, and they decided that everything is going good in Viet Nam. According to the paper, these are actual quotes. LBJ said  that he's convinced 'we will not be defeated by the Communists in Viet Nam.'"

   "Well, that's good to know."

   "Yes, but wait. There's more. He also said that a Communist takeover - and this is another direct quote - 'is no longer just improbable. It is impossible.' Another direct quote: 'The American people must know there will be no quick victory, but the world must know that we will not quit.'"

   "Again, very good to hear."

   "Yes, but I think the General sort of brought us back down to earth by declaring that we'll need to send more troops before the end of the year."

   :And that, my lovely wife, is the true punch line!"


  Thursday, Greg and Tim hauled the duck traps out to the two spots that Tim had selected. The traps were left open, so the birds would get used to their presence, but wouldn't be caught by mistake. Tim showed Greg  his proposal for the hunting area. It reduced the acreage by about a third over previous years, but still gave adequate room for the hunters to spread out. Greg liked the plan, and would present it to Todd the following week.

   At dusk, Vic and Greg toured the refuge. It was still over 70 degrees at 8 o'clock, and there weren't enough clouds to make for much of a sunset, but it was a calm night with no bugs. They parked and listened to the ducks moving around until well after dark, but they didn't see or hear any mammals until they were almost back home. Then, two jack rabbits put in a brief appearance. The humans still pronounced it a nice use of their time.

   Friday, Vic got a little practice vouchering bills to pay, while Greg handled miscellaneous paperwork and phone calls. Over lunch, they scanned newspapers from the two previous days. The only thing that caught their eye was a continuation of the story of the Senate discussing calling up the thousands of reservists currently exempt from the draft. They decided against calling up entire companies or divisions, because they might really weaken a 'home front' response. However, they did vote to give the President the authority to draft individuals out of the Reserves and National Guard. As one senator put it, " we can't permit this six month reserve training program to become an umbrella to avoid active service." Neither LBJ nor the Defense Department had asked for that authority - and there was no indication that they would take advantage of it - but the Senate had done their job, anyway.

   A tour of the refuge that evening was pretty much a repeat of the previous night, except they did get to hear two coyote choruses. Also, they saw a porcupine.


   They got up late Saturday morning, lingered over a big breakfast, then went to town to do some shopping. As they had planned, they picked up Mandy after she finished work, ate dinner (pizza), then went to the movies. Double features  were not common at their local theater, but they saw "Our Man Flint" and "Flight of the Phoenix." The first was a spy movie, but not a serious one. James Coburn played a former spy who came out of retirement to stop some mad scientists who had developed a machine that would control the world's weather, and were planning to blackmail everybody with the threat of using it.

   "Flight of the Phoenix" had all sorts of famous and semi-famous actors - Jimmy Stewart, Ernest Borgnine, Arthur Kennedy, among others -who were in a cargo plane that crashed in the Sahara Desert in a sandstorm. There wasn't any hope of being rescued, so they decided to try and build a new plane out of parts from the wrecked one. There was a lot of intrigue - and some murders! - before the plot resolved itself. All three of the reviewers pronounced both films quite watchable, and their first "movie night" a success.

   Sunday at the refuge, Vic and Mandy spent much of their time talking about school, and what they needed to get ready. Greg set up the mist-net, and spent the day tending it (only a few birds caught) and reading Nevil Shute's "A Far Country."

   Monday, Vic and Mandy went to town, and spent the day shopping for school clothes and supplies. They both stayed overnight with Nancy, then Vic drove back out the god-awful road Tuesday morning. In her absence, Greg had operated the mist-net in the morning (still, nothing of note), then made a general wildlife survey in the afternoon. He didn't like being alone Monday night, particularly when he remembered that there would be a lot of those lonely nights in the months ahead.


   The last full week of August passed pretty much like its predecessor. The weather defied predictions, and topped out every day around 80 degrees, rather than the expected 90s. That felt a little better, but there was absolutely no precipitation near the refuge. Thankfully, there were no range fires, either, although the evening skies often had a yellowish-orange tinge, suggesting there was quite a bit of smoke in the air from somewhere. Water levels in the refuge pools continued to drop.

   Tim started to bait the duck traps that week, but didn't close them up, yet. He also went with Greg to meet with Todd to discuss the hunt area modifications. Todd agreed that the proposed changes were probably as good as they could do, under the circumstances. As the shift was "minor," he didn't plan to mention it to his superiors.

   Todd thought Fish and Game were going to have enough troubles of their own, without worrying about a little boundary change on the Federal refuge. Several of their best hunting sites were overflow areas from the dams on the Snake River. The prediction was that the reservoir water levels would have to be lowered appreciably, as water was released to take care of downstream needs. That meant there would be almost no shallow marsh areas around the reservoirs, and consequently no hunting opportunity. Everybody was going to be hurting.


   A rather large pile of unread newspapers had accumulated before Greg and Vic took an evening to read each other stories. Vic found the first item.

   "It says here that the airline strike is finally over, after 43 days. I thought we read it was over a couple of weeks ago, but I guess that was just that the deal was made, but  now it's been ratified by the mechanics. Presumably, all airline service was back to normal, as of last Sunday. Besides all the general disruption of vacation and business travel, it must have cost millions to places like Florida and Hawaii, where the resorts and hotels and restaurants all depend on tourism. The mechanics probably deserve their raises, but what a cost!"

   "Yeah, it seems like coming right in the middle of the main tourist season, it could have been bad enough to put some businesses out of business!

   "Here's a note in the Pocatello paper While we've been basking in summertime temperatures, last Monday night areas north from Blackfoot dropped below freezing, and they expect it did some damage to potatoes and other crops. 'North of Blackfoot' would include your folks. Your dad didn't mention it last time we talked.

   "Here's a war update. You remember last week we read that the Defense Department was going to need a lot more men before the end of the year? Apparently, this is how they're going to get them. They're planning to call up 40,000 men in the next 10 months, men who were previously considered ineligible because of education or health problems. They'll increase this to 100,000 next fiscal year. Presumably these previous non-qualified will get special training to make them 'fit.'" Greg laughed. "Isn't there some famous painting from the Revolutionary War that shows our troops marching into battle with clothes ripped and bloody, arms in slings, men walking with canes, et cetera? Maybe this is what the new recruits are going to look like."

   "But maybe they really need them, because here's a follow-up story to another one we read last week. Remember that the Senate voted to allow  the drafting of Army Reserves and National Guard? Well, the House just killed the Senate bill, and aren't offering any alternative. I think the Senate still deserves a nice pat on the back for trying to do the right thing."

   Greg didn't respond immediately. "Did I lose you, Greg?"

   "Sorry. No, I just saw another story here. The House Committee on Un-American Activities has  approved a bill to put stiff criminal penalties on any group opposing the Viet Nam war. Whatever happened to free speech! LBJ opposes the bill, the Attorney General says it's probably unconstitutional, and the Senate is almost certain to kill it. It's no big threat, but what kind of country are we becoming when the House can even make the effort to propose such restrictions? It's not right!"


   Saturday was their second "movie night." They collected Mandy after she got off work, ate hamburgers, fries and milk shakes, then saw "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence." It turned out to be a pleasant surprise for all of them. They liked "westerns" okay, but those movies varied a lot in quality, and were usually either cowboys (or cavalry) against Indians, or good White guys against bad White guys. This one was a little more sophisticated, or psychological. It had a good start with the two main characters played by Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, but the story itself was of a different type, too. When word spread that Jimmy Stewart's character had killed a notorious badman (Liberty Valence), it made him a hero, and launched him on a political career. However, it also made him the target of all the other bad guys who wanted to be the one who beat the man who beat Liberty. The conclusion was unexpected, and quite satisfying.

   They spent Sunday and Monday quietly at the refuge, then took Mandy back to town Monday night.

   August was coming to an end.


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