Tchepone, Laos and the Southeast Asian War

Because of our most recent travels in Asia on our tandem bicycle, I have developed a new interest in the Vietnam War, really the Indochina War of my youth. My draft board called me in 1964. I presented myself, got on a bus and taken for a physical and mental evaluation. I was just out of hospital for a bleeding ulcer. They didn’t know how to cure ulcers in those days, and they knew military food would kill me: 4F. I have always had some survivor’s guilt, partly because I have seen the toll that particular war took on many of the surviving draftees. The vets I have shared this feeling with have said I didn’t miss anything, and to let it go. I think I have. Maybe traveling there, seeing the land and the people involved has had something to do with my coming to terms with those feelings. My appreciation for anyone who fought there is deep. It was one helluva place to have to fight a war.

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Flashbacks to a favorite place and time: joy and thanksgiving

It was the beginning of another physically challenging day, frosty, clear, with wood smoke on the air. But that wasn’t it. The roadhouse we stayed in the night before had a mix of police and interesting locals drinking lots of beer and eating many fascinating dishes. The architecture was beautiful. The temple just before the village seemed to hang, glowing white in the thin air, from a cliff. We almost got lost, nothing new. No. It was something else.

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