Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Crew is Helped by the Villagers and Rebel Soldiers

(Continuation of Captain Estes's War Memoirs)

"Anyway, Swain could speak a little Italian but
none of the rest of us could speak Yugoslav or
Russian or German or anything else so we just
depended on hand motions and what have you
to kind of make our needs known. Well, from
this particular place they took us to a large
building which turned out to be a hospital;
I didn't quite understand why we were being
taken to a hospital, but it became evident
that the reason we were is because the hospital
had a lot of rooms and a lot of beds and that's
where they were gonna put us to sleep that
night. So were all assigned a room or taken to
a room and we felt good about where we were
and the circumstances we were in, and everything
looked like it was gonna go along pretty good.

The next day we were taken outside and they put
us on a cart and we all loaded onto the cart and
they assigned some men to go with us, and we had
no idea where we were going, and we couldn't
speak to 'em, but we began to go along this
trail or road. And it took us to a house where
they stopped along the side of the road, and
one of the men that was assigned to us as a
guide or whatever, went up and knocked on the
door and this man came out and they had some
words and they told us to get out of the cart and
we got out, and two or three men came out of the
house and they looked us over real good. We
didn't know who they were, they didn't know
who we were, but one of them went back in the
back and came back with a goat and proceeded
to kill him and skin him; and they had a fire
going underneath a spit and they started
cutting the goat up into pieces and put it on the
spit, and this was gonna be our supper.

Well, I hadn't never eaten any goat that I could
recall, but I was of a mind to try anything they
gave me. Well, of course, the fire was not close
enough to the spit to properly cook the goat,
and the goat came out half cooked, and they
started taking pieces off the spit and handing
it to us, and it was a new experience for me to
naw on something that was half done. It was
sort of like trying to chew rubber, but I didn't
complain about it; I ate what they gave me.
Then they took us to a room and we all laid
down in the room and slept.

The next day they got us up and we started
walking now instead of being in a cart. The
snow was covering the ground or covering
the road, and we were going up a mountain
trail and evidently was going to lead us
over the Alps, and we had about five men
walking with us. And we'd been walking
for a few hours when we encountered an
old man on a white mule or a white horse
coming down the trail that we were going
up, and he had behind him four or five
women and they were all dressed in long
skirts and they had these baskets on top
of their heads. And when they came up to
us, this old man stopped and he had a few
words for the soldiers that were with us,
and he had a wine skin that was on the
horn of his saddle, and he took that loose
and took it off and he handed it to one of
the soldiers. The soldiers of course were not
unused to drinking from a skin, so they knew
exactly how to handle it, and they put it
over their shoulder and drank some of it,
and passed it onto some of the other
soldiers, and finally it had gotten around
to giving it to us. And I remember when
I got ahold of it I tried to do like they did,
and I got a mouth-ful of it and it was
just like liquid fire in my mouth, it was
so hot. It was a very, very high percentage
of alcohol, very condensed and we found
out that it was called Rocky, and they made
it from pear juice, and it wasn't unpleasant
to taste, but it was strong as hell. So after
we all had a drink and the soldiers had
talked to the old man, then he went on his
way down the trail and we went on up the

(To be continued.)

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