Computer Tutor Don Edrington
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Fort Ord — Fort Belvoir — Korea
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Korea — 1951
My Friend Willie Canada
Wanted to Start His Own Church

When I was in Korea, my best friend and tent-mate was Willie Canada. I guess the thing I liked best about Willie was his rare ability to be funny without trying to be. He would say something in all seriousness and have me rolling on the floor — well, on the dirt floor of the pup tent we shared.

Willie Canada

Anyway, Willie hated to work. He once told me, "When I get out of this army I ain't never gonna work again!"

"How will you manage that?" I asked. "We'll all have to work at some kind of a job when we get out."

"Not me," he said. "No, sir! No Way! When I get out I'm gonna relax and take life easy."

"So how will you get money to live on?" I persevered.

"Oh, I got that all figured out," he said with a broad smile. "Ya see — while I'm in the army, I'm gonna save all my money. And when I get out I'm gonna use that money to buy a truck. Then I'm gonna rent that truck to my brother. He likes to work."

Trench Shovel

Then there was the time I ran across Willie digging a hole not too far from our tent. He did not look happy.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Diggin' a sump hole," he said with a thoroughly disgusted look on his face.

"So how did you happen to be picked for this job?" I asked, truly puzzled, because Willie had a real talent for avoiding work details of any kind.

"Well," he said, "I was just standin' here talkin' to a sergeant and a corporal. We weren't doin' nothin' special — you know — just shootin' the breeze.

All of a sudden this lieutenant walks up and says, "Sergeant — we need a sump hole dug right here. Take care of it!"

"Yes, sir!" the sergeant said, and turned around and looked at the other guy. "Corporal," he says, "we need a sump hole dug right here. Take care of it!"

"Aye, aye," the corporal says, as he turns around and looks at me. "Private Canada, we need a sump hole dug right here. Take care of it!"

"Me? I turn around and look at the shovel — and start diggin'." L



J   Then there was the time Willie came bounding into our tent, all out of breath and bubbling over with enthusiasm.

"I got it!" he said. "I know what I'm gonna do when I get out of the army!"

"I know," I replied. "You told me about the truck and your brother."

"No, no," he said, "this is better — way better! I'm gonna start a church!"

"Excuse me?" I said.

"Yeah — really! I was just talkin' with some guys who said that back home they give ten percent of their wages to somethin' called a tithe at the church they go to. Can you imagine? Ten percent!"

"Think about it! If I had a church that only ten people came to, I'd be making as much as they do, at ten percent each! And, shucks, I wouldn't charge no ten percent! I could get by on, say, seven, easy. And if I had enough people comin' I could drop it to five percent! Man! I can't wait to get started!"

And Willie was totally serious. In fact, I've often wondered how things are going at his church.



Click for a story about time spent with another black partner.

The Day I Accidentally Turned a POW Loose

Unknown Lieutenant Saved My Life

© Donald Ray Edrington

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Graphics Disclaimer:

Since I have no personal photos from my youth, I've used pictures found
on the Internet to help illustrate some of the stories told on these pages.
In a couple of instances I've used photos of people who just happen to
closely resemble someone I once knew. However, if it's found that I'm
using any images in violation of someone's copyright, please let me
know and appropriate action will be taken.
Thank you!

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