Weekly Newspaper and for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Dec. 25, 1997
By Jerry Curry
Dienbienphu had fallen years before to General Giap's
artillery. The French were on their way out in fact as well
as diplomacy. American, Australian and South Korean troops
had not yet been committed to the folly of Limited War. The
Lynch Mob hysteria of The Phoenix Project, where success was
counted in the number of human ears taken as trophies, had
not yet been visited on the land. But Americans were there.
Most of them were young. None of them knew or cared why.
They, like the French Foreign Legionnaires before them,
were warriors whose only loyalty was to their service. They
did not kill for country. They killed for their teams. In
many cases, their families never knew they walked the
jungles or had a fifth of Jim Beam or so at Rosie's in
Bankok, buying a drink now and then for Nguyen, whose
fleshless skull sat on the polished wood of the mahogany bar
as the naked dancers strutted past Nguyen in their search
for Western currency - Franc, Dollar or Pound.
Out in the paddies of the Mekong Delta over in The Nam, the
farmers toil, said the Old Indochina Hand, as he began his
Christmas story. Who knows if he spoke the truth through the
gulps of Jim Beam and the flickering lights of the small
plastic Christmas Tree by Nguyen's skull.
Out in the paddies of the Mekong Delta over in The Nam, the
people didn't care if they were ruled by Uncle Ho in Hanoi,
whoever the current dictator was in Saigon or the leaders of
democracies of France and the United States. They
generally wanted to be left alone. Most of them were
Buddhists. The Christians, mostly Catholic, were
concentrated in the cities of North and South Vietnam. Yes
Virginia, Communists can be, and often are, Christian. But
these people were not. They were Buddhists.
Into this culture came a young warrior from the Hills of
Arkansas, West Virginia or Tennessee. No one ever really
knew. He wore a Green Beret on his head, love in his heart
and death in his hand. It was Christmas Eve. He was not
following a Star in the East but the orders of someone he
did not know. In fact, this young warrior did not exist if
existence in a time and place must be documented in record
and file and bureaucratic paper.
On this night a young woman in the village gave birth to a
baby boy and the young warrior and his team helped. The
young hillbilly warrior was also a medic. And the Buddhists
thanked him and smiled and the baby was a beautiful child.
In the night, the Old Indochina Hand continues, a Kill Squad
came into the village. It is not known for certain whether
they were pro-Saigon or pro-Hanoi. The Old Indochina Hand
likened them to Herod's soldiers released on Bethlehem to
destroy all of the children because one of them might have
been the Messiah. The Kill Squad did not know the "A" Team
was there until the first one of them died. Shortly before
the dawn began to break, all of Herod's's Soldiers were
dead. Then the young hillbilly warrior began to sing "Silent
Night," loudly, over and over again to the corpses of the
As dawn broke, he and his team took the people of the
village away to a place where they might be safe for at
least a little while.
Letter from the editor
By Steve Patterson
Oh, it was a matter of being ignorant the day I arrived in
Monahans and decided that perhaps Edith Grissom's column
about the Sandhills State Park could be omitted from the
pages of The Monahans News.
After all, I felt, it was "too quaint" for the readership.
Oh, brother! That was before I met Edith Grissom! The
charming smile, the peaceful disposition, the passion for
all that is beautiful about West Texas... I had no idea.
Edith won my heart and changed my mind about more things
than just her column. Edith was a treasure and an artist and
a person I was genuinely happy to know.
After I had gazed upon Edith's quilt-like paintings and
listened to her stories of the Sandhills, I came to realize
she was the genuine article. It's not many people who can
argue about the facts of "Old Rip" (of Eastland County Fame)
and still remain friends.
Edith Grissom will be missed by the Monahans News. She
will be missed by all who knew her. She had a smile - for a
woman her age - which could charm any man from his chair.
She had a can-do spirit which probably accomplished more
than we'll ever know.
I'll miss Edith this year and we all know there is no one
to take her place. I will not be able to look at a blooming
Yucca without thinking of her.
Will City Councilman Ted Ward please call the newspaper
office? Ted, we've been trying to find you for two weeks so
we could do a story about our newest councilman.
Ted was recently appointed to fill the unexpired term of
Freddy Hinojos, who moved to Midland. I know Ted from his
service to the community on the hospital board, but we need
FROM THE WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT, ANYWAY? DEPT.: As we rush
around giving in to the materialism of our consumer society,
a story on the front page of a daily paper gave me reason to
pause in this busy Christmas season.
It seems that an archeological dig in Israel has claimed
to have uncovered the boyhood home of Jesus of Nazareth.
According to the Associated Press, Bible scholar Stephen
Pfann says the find has filled in the gaps about Jesus'
boyhood and has led to a better understanding of his
The site is located on 12 acres of undeveloped land smack
dab in the middle of modern-day Nazareth teeming with a
population of 60,000, whereas the archeologists speculate
that Jesus grew up among a village comprised of only three
My question is this:
Why did the growing city of Nazareth never bother to
develop these 12 acres in 2,000 years? Is it possible that
the value of the real estate was known by a very protective
FROM THE WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT, ANYWAY? DEPT. II: Rascal,
scallywag and part-time computer nerd for the Monahans News,
Johnny Dalton, is celebrating his 48th birthday in bed with
the flu. Johnny's wife, better known as the Coffee Godess of
the Best Western, said that her husband sent out word that
Christmas would have to be canceled this year due to his
Gosh, Johnny, think of the kids, would ya'?
What you may already know is that County Attorney Kevin
Acker, father of five girls, is predicting his sixth bundle
of joy will be a boy.
What you don't know is that Kevin recently purchased -
even I couldn't make this up - a 15-passenger van.
Well, at least the town and Mrs. Acker have a solid number
to work with now and it's good to know that Kevin has set a
goal for himself.
(The previous item came courtesy of local attorney and
well-known wag, Hoot Gibson)
Please, stay off my front page and have a safe and happy
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise