In today’s Journal
* Fair Winds and Following Seas
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Fair Winds and Following Seas
That’s the blessing Marines give each other when one of our own passes.
I wasn’t going to post an edition of the Journal today, but yesterday I learned that one of my oldest, dearest friends, Edward Lee Courtney, passed away on June 4.
Still, to bend this toward writing I thought I’d offer up a few anecdotes. These are all real, but please feel free to use any of them as the seed of a story.
“Corky” and I served together in the Corps for only a few years, but in that few years, in the way of young men, we made a lifetime of memories. As you might imagine, often the memories involved alcohol, often not. Corky’s favorite whiskey at the time was I.W. Harper. Mine (before I found Jameson’s) was Wild Turkey. All of these happened in the early ’70s.
▪ We took target practice, him with a Ruger .41 magnum, me with a S&W .357 magnum. He fired at a target a few feet to my left, and I fired at a target a few feet to his left. We were around 50 feet apart. To us, the setup was perfectly logical. Our proximity to each other’s target ensured a quick report of hits. The chance of harm never occurred to us.
▪ In a faded green ’66 Chevy pickup with a wooden bed, no tailgate, and a busted gas gauge, we picked up a young Navajo sitting on two cases of beer alongside a highway on the outskirts of Yuma Arizona. He explained that he was hitching to Kingman to participate in a rodeo. We took him, of course, beer and all. It was a great rodeo. (By the way, gasoline was 20 to 30 cents per gallon.)
▪ On the topic of rodeos, Corky and I were both card-carrying associate members of the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA, the PRCA hadn’t come about yet). We both entered the bullriding competition at the Yuma RCA rodeo in the early ’70s. Corky drew a small, cross-eyed bull named Clarence. Corky had long legs. He could almost touch the rowels of his spurs under the bull’s belly. It wasn’t a good match.
I drew a bull everyone wanted, Number 11, White Lightning, a massive brahma with his right horn (thankfully, as it happened) turned crooked along his forehead.
I stayed almost the full 8 seconds (it’s longer than you think), but when I came off on his right side, my left hand remained trapped in the “death loop” that had helped me stay aboard. I managed to remain upright, frantically running alongside WL and tugging at my hand as he continued to leap and buck and tried repeatedly to hook me with that bent right horn.
Corky was one of three friends who came over the fence and helped the clowns get me untied. The others were Charles “Chuck” Bauer and Ray Hammond, a wide-eyed easterner about 5’6″ and about as big around as my right arm. Ray rode that day too, to mark it off his bucket list, and swallowed a wad of chewing tobacco, also from his bucket list, with the bull’s first leap out of the chute. He turned green.
(Part of the White Lightning event informed a short story titled “Same Ol’ Bull, Same Ol’ Rodeo.” I think you can still find it at Amazon.)
Corky and I shared many, many other memories, some foolish, some crazy, but all fun. Corky left the Corps and, I learned much later, forged a successful career as a guard in the Missouri state prison system. He maintained his laid-back sense of humor even there.
When he first retired from the system, he was fond of telling people he’d recently met, “I just got out of prison.” And while he was still on the job, when one of the inmates yelled at Corky that he was prejudiced, Corky looked at him, smiled, and in a smooth west-Texas drawl, said, “Racist? Hell, I don’t even own a race car. You can ask my wife.”
Corporal Edward Lee Courtney, USMC, was originally from Odessa, Texas. He was a year or two older than I, and he was my brother, albeit from different parents. Should you ever read the Wes Crowley saga, he appears through several volumes in the character of Courtney Lee Edwards, Corporal, Company D, Texas Rangers.
Fair winds and following seas, Corky. And thank you for everything. Semper fi.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Are You Better off Attending a Conference or Writing?” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1CaiRZU87s.
See “How maglev trains work (5 min. video)” at https://interestingengineering.com/ie-originals/ie-explainer/season-2/ep-15-how-maglev-trains-work.
See “This lensless AI camera uses only textual prompts to ‘take’ a photo” at https://interestingengineering.com/innovation/lensless-ai-camera-uses-only-textual-prompts-to-take-photo. Not so much taking a photo as constructing an image. Still, pretty impressive.
The Journal…………………………………… 800
Writing of Rose Padilla (WCG10SF5)
Day 1…… 4283 words. Total words to date…… 4283
Day 2…… 3963 words. Total words to date…… 8246
Total fiction words for June……… 8246
Total fiction words for 2023………… 106114
Total nonfiction words for June… 3750
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 113170
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 219284
Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date………… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 73
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 221
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
I.M. An angel, my angel, left this earth on April 11, 2023 just before 10 a.m. My life and my world will never be the same.
Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark, adherence to Heinlein’s Rules, and that following the myths of fiction writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.