Let me share a letter that has been around for at least a half century. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Dear Ma and Pa:
I am well. Hope you are. Tell Walt and Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all the places are filled. I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But after a while you get used to sleeping late like that. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not so bad; there’s warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried green tomatoes, and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the city boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much. We go on “route marches,” which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bullseye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in. Your loving daughter,
In America’s heartland, we love a good tale that makes heroes of country folks. And that one surely does. We could perhaps say of that young lady, if she had been a real person, that she was living up to one of the most encouraging scriptures in the Bible. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland.