When The Saints go Marching in

A tumbleweed bounced its way across the parking lot….

The brisk Texas morning blew through the deserted Prairie View Campus; the normal fire red sun of the South had still yet to show. My feet slowly but surly trogging my sleep deprived body to the other side of the campus, where a government licensed fourteen passenger van awaited the company of ten rambunctious college students, a Chief Petty Officer and a Gunnery Sergeant. Green GI duffels lined the floor, while blue garment bags hung from ceiling, creating an organized manglement of Navy uniforms. Rifles in their protective cases stacked perfectly beneath the seats, turned the otherwise civilian vehicle into the most dangerous piece of machinery known to man (college students, party and weapons). Artificial light that of IPOD’s and personal DVD players created an almost soothing ambient glow. The stock speakers of the Ford bumped Houston’s 97.9 the VOX. While the upperclassmen traded stories of past trips, Light posts and crazy bus drivers…… Oh yes Prairie View A&M as on its way to one of the dirtiest, scummiest, disrespectful, obligatory place in the United States. Mardi gras.

After a brief stop in downtown Houston’s RICE University to pick up another ten Midshipman we were on our way.

The over worked shocks and barley padded seats began to take their toll on young limber gluteus maximuses about four hours into our sortie. Arbys supplied a much needed bacon ham and cheese plus curly fry lunch, courtesy of the US Navy. The nearby gas station would supply the remainder of the trip, MDX, doughnuts, bear claws. Everything a college body needs to grow big and strong.

The Texas plains and desert slowly began to fade into green swamp land, highways paved on level ground transformed to bridges, and questions of why anyone would want to live in such a place ran through the college educated minds of engineers. Broken trees littered the landscape and flooded rail, lay as reminders to us that mother nature always wins. It was about this time when the surefire plan of the US navy driving to Mardi Gras in six hours backfired. New trucks, old trucks, little cars, SUV’s, little kids on tricycles, you name it, lined the inbound lane of I10 about three hours outside New Orleans. “Everyone in the world was trying to get into New Orleans, and not a single shmuk was trying to get out”. Mp3 player batteries ran dry and stomachs ached for nourishment, Gunny began cursing at old grandmas and the painted lines in the middle of the road for not moving. “Move god damn it I’ve got a schedule to keep”.

After mindless games of I spy and break out sessions the Navy Caravan rolled onto the government land of NAS New Orleans. Staggering out of our coffin to Gunny’s strong and present “FALL IN” the Houston Consortium travel hardened veterans awaited the plan of action. “Get your gear in order neatly and fricken uniform and well get the hell out of here and have some fun”.

Old veteran GI cots found their way into three uniform rows on the south end of a Marine air wing hanger faster then humanly imagineable. Shoes and sea bags lay in perfect rows. Nestled in between Hueys, Cobras and Hornets the MIDN of Houston anxiously awaited one word.



Joe said...

I hope this is part one...