In the Corps, everyone had a nickname. You either created your own, or you were anointed with a name that would hardly depict your best interests. Mine was “Lt.”
There were two boys in the regiment from Arkansas. They joined the Corps on the buddy plan and were inseparable. They called themselves “Butch” and “Sundance.” They were tough, competent sergeants with iron wills, undaunted when things went south.
Butch and Sundance had a penchant for yarning. They’d captivate the Marines for hours telling tall tales from the Ozarks.
“You guys should write a book,” I’d say.
“Lt, we can’t write more than a sentence,” one of them would reply.
The boys never finished the sixth grade. They grew up in the Ouachita Mountains, where everybody was a storyteller. Nobody wrote anything down. It was a storytelling tradition: Everyone had a yarn at the bar, on a swinging porch, or sitting in a fishing boat. Butch and Sundance were magic. They could reach others on an emotional level.