New Year’s Log 2016

New Year’s Log 2016

By:  Garland Davis

It is customary in the Navy for the Midwatch log on December 31/January 1 be written in rhyme.  My, attempt at a retiree’s New Year’s log.

1 January 2016, 0000 to 0400 Watch

Both cars are on cold iron and parked in the drive

In the house, we are waiting for the New Year to arrive

Receiving nighttime electrical power from Hawaiian Electric

During the day from PV panels placed by Sunetric

Water from the aquifer well up the street I think

CHT hooked to Waste Water piping and carried away with the stink

Cable, Broadband, and Telephone from Time Warner’s Oceanic

Everything is in order, nothing to do but drink

My wife is Senior Officer Present Abode and my friends are here

There are Anheuser and Busch, and the Captain to bring cheer

Along with Victoria’s Crown and Jack with his number Seven

Pusser is here somewhere and Gilbey and Schweppe make it even

My neighbors have fireworks legal and not

That approaching midnight will, with a clamor, be shot

While Izumi the dog hides under the bed

With all that said the only thing left is commune with my friends

If I wake without a hangover, it will be a new trend

The bottles I probably found hard to close

Because of this freakin’ pain my nose

The 2016 New Year will be here and in May I will wait

To board that flight to Branson at the United Gate

Looking forward to seeing you there at the Westpac’rs reunion Shipmate


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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.




By:  Garland Davis

The smoke in the clouds turn the sunset sky blood red over a land once known as Annam,

More smoke billows as the forward mount fires at unseen targets beyond the clouds,

From far offshore comes a rumble as the battleship and cruisers loose portents of hell,

Ships come about and move back to station, awaiting the next target and firing order,

A renowned General once said, “War is hell.”, but to the gunline sailor, war is monotony.



To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


Out on the Pacific Rim

This is the transcript of a speech I gave at the first annual Asia Sailor WestPac’rs Association reunion at the  Clarion Hotel, Branson, MO in April 2013:

Out on the Pacific Rim

By:  Garland Davis

“… And if at times our conduct isn’t all your fancy paints, remember single men in barracks don’t turn into plaster saints.”—-Rudyard Kipling in Tommy

When old sailors get together, it doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn to what valve did what… The “Can you name the gin mill?” game… “Whatever happened to the old asshole Mess Deck MAA? You know who I mean. Whatzisname?” “You remember the bargirl with the big boobs who fell in love with the pretty boy radioman off the Dicky B. Anderson?” Pier numbers… Phone numbers… Hull numbers… Bar names.

Somewhere and at some point, some son of a bitch tells the first lie… Then it begins.  The “Can you top this” bullshit. Amateurs don’t stand a chance. Like the preliminary fights, it all leads up to the main event when certain liars swim out and eat the little fish (If anyone tops Mac’s ‘Disco Chief’, there’s gotta be a Pulitzer prize in it). I told my bride of going on 48 years that in the wonderful world of sea stories, Mac is a major league crown contender. Love his stuff… Brings back great memories… The priceless stuff that lives in the dark corner of your memory locker (According to my friend’s daughter, most of it should stay in a dark place and never see the light of day).

Too true. At the pay rate of nonrated men in the early 60s, no one should be too damn surprised that we didn’t devote a lot of our time to opera, polo, golf, and downhill skiing. We also never developed a proper appreciation of fine French wines, classical art and classical music, unless, of course, you consider screw cap Akadama, a Budweiser naked lady calendar, and Country Music songs to qualify.

There were no better places than those found on the Honcho in Yokosuka, Magsaysay in Olangapo, Wanchai in Hong Kong, Bugis Street in Singapore, or Soi Cowboy in Bangkok. You could get into these places without white tie and tails. Hell, you could get in bare-ass naked if you had the correct currency.  There were no debutante balls held in these joints… unless you counted the cherry-boy signalman who got his first BJ at Marilyn’s… And you didn’t have to push your way through paparazzi to get into the Samari.

Being asked to explain your actions at 18, forty years later to your friend’s daughter after she inadvertently read some of the crap you have written is the damnedest delayed action fuse on the planet.

“You mean my dad did this stuff? The man who told my boyfriends they would be boiled and eaten if they so much as hinted at possible monkey business?”

Same guys… Not that we have matured a hell of a lot. It’s just that the research we did while serving in the Far East brought us face to face with the entire spectrum of monkey business. There is no one more prim and proper than a reformed whore.

How do you tell someone who stayed home, married his high school sweetheart, became a deacon at the Baptist Church, and was the local chairman of the United Whatever’s Fund, that despite the stories he heard,  we were really good guys? We didn’t spend a lot of time at the preacher’s house. We were volunteers…We served our country out on the far Pacific Rim… Paid our dues and earned the right to enter a voting booth without a disguise.

When the boys and girls of the anti-war hippie days were acting like traitors and idiots, we were out there on the Rim. I missed the early Beatles… Went to sea when the President was assassinated… Missed the first trip to the moon… Somewhere along the way, I became all too familiar with the Indo-China that became Viet-Nam… new NFL teams appeared out of nowhere… They quit making Ipana toothpaste and Old Gold cigarettes… Some genius invented the birth control pill and Johnny Carson replaced Jack Parr. Just part of the price Asia sailors and maximum-security convicts pay… Isolation from the western world allowed us to call ourselves dues payers. All of us who wore a Navy uniform can be damn proud of that.

All this chest pounding over ‘Winning the Cold War’ is probably more of that hocus pocus, ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’ foreign policy horse shit. But, one thing we CAN say, “On our watch, no commie bastards slapped us with a God Damned sneak attack and we kept the free world safe enough that the only things our recently graduated high school pals had to worry about were blouse buttons and three-hook bras while at the Drive-In.

Being a WestPac sailor wasn’t easy. Just being accepted by the men whom you would call ‘Shipmate’ for the rest of time, became an honor in itself.

This website and the Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Association FaceBook group are blessings.  They permit me to once again find men I can talk to, who understand and give a damn. You spend all your time learning your rate… Learning the Navy language… Gaining pride in yourself and what you do… Making friends… And then, all too soon, it’s over. You retire and wander around in the world of ‘Who gives a fuck?’ people with no one to talk with. Kind of like spending twenty or thirty YEARS learning Japanese and then moving to Oslo, Norway.

Thanks guys for allowing me to help build this tree house, so we can hold ‘NO CIVILIANS ALLOWED’ meetings, tell socially unacceptable tales of old shipmates, old girlfriends, past deeds and chase the fireflies of our better days through stack gas and sea spray.  Trying to tell our story in Sunday school language makes about as much sense as applying moisturizer to an alligator’s ass.

We are getting fewer and fewer, like old Ford Model A’s… They are not making the damn things anymore so every time you lose one, the herd is thinned by one.


To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


Little Eddie and the Khaki Gloves

Little Eddie and the Khaki Gloves

By: Garland Davis

I have another uniform story involving “Little Eddie.”  Eddie was a radioman.  This nickname came about because of his diminutive size.  He was barely five feet tall and weighed slightly over 100 pounds.  Because of his size and his cherubic good looks, he appealed to the girls like a turd does to flies.

The ship was at the Army port of Sattahip in Thailand and a group of us Chiefs were in the NCO club at another nearby Army base.  A bored go-go dancer was on stage doing her routine and Eddie, having drank a few beers too many, was on the dance floor a few feet in front of her dancing.  When she finished the song she took Eddie by the hand and led him behind the curtain.  After a few minutes, overcome with curiosity, I went to the stage and looked behind the curtain.  All I’ll say is that Eddie was upholding the high standards expected of a Chief Petty Officer by the members of the Mess.

We were in Yokosuka for an SRF availability.  I remember it was in the fall, possibly November or even December.  The weather was chilly; a jacket was definitely needed to run the Honch in the evenings.  The Commodore of SERVRON 3 was scheduled to be in Yokosuka and a walkthrough of the ship and a personnel inspection would be held.

In addition to the availability, there was the XO and his incessant demands that field days be conducted to prepare the ship for the Commodore’s visit.  Which, as you all know, field day level cleaning, yard birds and availabilities are not compatible with each other.  We were all sure the Commodore had seen a ship in an availability before.

The personnel inspection would be in working uniform.  E-6 and below would be in dungarees and working jackets and Officers and Chiefs would wear working Khaki with the khaki windbreaker. In those days, we were all still wearing brown shoes.  But the story isn’t about shoes this time.

A group of us were in the Mess the evening before the inspection, Eddie enters, carrying his khakis that he had just bribed the laundrymen to wash and press for him.  He said, “Well, I’ve got my uniform all ready to go.” As he went into the berthing area.  After a couple of minutes, he came back in and asked whether piss cutters or combination covers were the specified cover for the inspection.  Of course, it was combination covers and we told him so.

Eddie brought his combination cover, sat down at a table and began to change from a white to a khaki cover.  The Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate asked, “Hey Eddie, do you have your khaki gloves ready.”

A sudden look of panic came across Eddie’s face. “Khaki gloves, I don’t have any fucking khaki gloves. I never bought any.  Being home ported in Pearl, I didn’t think I would need them.  Where the fuck can I get khaki gloves this time of night? Do you think any of those shops on the Honch sell khaki gloves?”

Boats says, “I doubt it.  There isn’t much call for them.  I’ve been a Chief for thirteen years and this is only the second time I have ever needed them.  But you should have bought a full seabag, Eddie.  You never know when you will need something. But, I tell you, I’ve never seen any gloves in those shops.”

“What the fuck am I going to do? Maybe I can borrow a pair from a Chief on one of the other ships.” Eddie moaned.

“Look at your fucking hands Eddie.  They look like kids hands.  You get a pair of gloves that are too large you will look like shit when you salute the Commodore to present your division. Remember the shoes.” Boats replied.  “The best thing you can do is make some khaki gloves.”

“How do you do that?” Eddie asked with an expression of hope.

“Soak a pair of white gloves in strong black coffee,’ from Boats.

We could barely keep from laughing as Eddie bolted into the berthing compartment, returning in a minute with his white gloves, he proceeded into the CPO galley and began making a fresh pot of coffee.  Once it was finished, he poured it over his white gloves in a small steam table insert.

“How long should I soak them Senior Chief?” Eddie asked.

“Probably about a half hour should be enough.” Said Boats.

Eddie did as Boats recommended and after soaking the gloves laid them on the counter to dry.  If there was ever a need for khaki gloves, the result would have probably been acceptable.

The next morning as we assembled in the Mess before leaving to fall in on the pier, Eddie came in from berthing properly dressed and wearing his khaki gloves.  We couldn’t hold it any longer, the whole mess burst out laughing.  Finally, between bouts of laughter, Boats said, “Eddie, there ain’t no such thing as khaki gloves.”

After a minute, Eddie joined in the laughter saying, “You mother fuckers owe me a pair of white gloves.”


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


General Quarters

General Quarters

By:  Garland Davis

“General Quarters, General Quarters, All Hands Man Your Battle Stations, Now General Quarters!  Up and forward to starboard, down and aft to port. Now general quarters” This accompanied by the bonging of the general alarm.

No other words, besides shouting “Free Pussy in the Barrio” or “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater can ignite pandemonium like “General Quarters.” Grown men go absolutely crazy… Stark, raving ape shit nuts. You are still half-asleep, reaching for your pants with one hand and your shoes with the other while an idiot stampede breaks out. Men yelling “Gangway!” hurdle over you going in both directions. You do not stop to dress, just grab your shit and haul ass trying to remember if you are on the port or starboard side.

My first GQ assignment was Damage Control II phone talker’… Talker is a misnomer.  You didn’t talk, you just repeated messages either to the Locker Leader or, to Damage Control Central.  Any half-intelligent parrot could do the same.  If you look up ‘totally worthless bastard’ in any dictionary, in any language, it states, “Foremost among worthless bastards you will find sound powered phone talkers.”

You are a cross between a cigar store Indian and a ventriloquist’s dummy. Any number of first order apes could be trained for the job. I never understood how anyone in their right mind would think being that hand-puppet was a desirable position.

“Well, if it isn’t Chief Pike’s hand maiden and mouthpiece.” From one of my shipmates.

 “Hey, Dave… Is it true? Does the Chief Pike actually pull a string to make your mouth work? Do you sit in his lap when he makes you talk?”

 “Well, here he is.  Chief Pike is training him to be the fourth Stooge.  They’ll be Manny, Moe, Curly, and Davy.”

Being the Repair II Howdy Doody was a bullshit General Quarter’s station. I think they created the job to test new kids for their crap absorption capacity… To see how big a shit load a kid could haul.

The Repair II phone talker had to tie his headset cable to a phone jack in the forward portion of the mess decks near the dumb waiter from the Galley and sit at a corner table out of the way of the locker leader and plotter, but close enough to hear everything said.  No one ever invented a way to clean the inside of the mouth and earpieces of a sound powered headset… Years of accumulated earwax, sweat and loogies made them a major treat to smell.

“Repair II, manned and ready”

“Repair II, DC Central.  You are still taking too long to get manned and ready.”  You pass the word to the Chief and he gives you a look that says, “I am going to rip your fucking head off and shit down your windpipe.” 

He says, “Aye, Aye.”

Finally, the ship is manned and ready. “Now secure from General Quarters, set the normal underway watch,” is passed. 

“What the fuck? I thought we were going to have GQ all morning.”

All the gear is stowed and everyone goes back to their work stations.  I head back to my rack.  I am the night baker.  GQ fucks with my beauty sleep.

The Boatswain’s pipe and “This is the Captain, I am thoroughly disappointed with the amount of time it took to reach a manned and ready state for General Quarters.  We will keep trying until we can get it right.  That is all.”

Immediately, “General Quarters, General Quarters, etc, etc.”

Here we go again.  This time, we manned up quickly and evidently the CO is, if not pleased, satisfied.  We immediately move into the attack phase of the drill and take a missile hit in number two hold. All Repair II drills were held in number two hold.  If something happened someplace else, I figure we are shit out of luck.

A messenger comes from the scene and I pass, “Fire in Number II hold is under control.”

“Very Well,” from DC Central.

That’s all officers say. They say it all the time… I think there is a two-semester course at Annapolis where prospective officers are taught that all you ever have to say in response to anything an enlisted man reports is “Very well.”

“Captain, the cook just shot the sounding and security watch… Fire in the engine room… Mutiny underway on the flight deck… Communist frogmen are climbing the screw guards and the Pope has just been drafted by the Celtics.”

“Very well.”

After serving as Repair II phone talker for about six months, I was moved to DC Central as phone talker and a short time later to the bridge as the Captains phone talker. Here, I had a forty-foot cord and had to follow the CO around the bridge while coiling and uncoiling cord.  I also had a lot more traffic to pass.  The Captain was extremely loquacious when it came to the “Very Wells.”

After nearly a year, I graduated from phone monkey to just another serf in the kingdom and was assigned to the galley for GQ.  I could go into the issue room and nap.  That way I would be bright eyed and bushy tailed for work that night.

They always had, at least, one cook assigned to the galley during GQ.  I never understood why they could not serve the regular menu.  I know that after I had risen to a position as Leading CS/MS, I insisted on the scheduled menu.  However, for some reason on my first ship, after GQ you got soup and lousy donkey dick, hard salami sandwiches with tire patch cheese.  If you were especially lucky, the Chief CS would order up the Navy version of cold Vienna sausage.

I remember watching the movie Ben Hur on the mess decks after a day of GQ… In the flick, they had Charlton Heston, as a snipe, chained to an oar down in the lower engine room of this Roman light cruiser… This guy, he must have been the Chief Engineer,  walked up and down, bullwhipping the snipes to get them to put on more turns. 

Some guy on the quarterdeck… Marcus Aurelius Wayne, I think… Points out the arrival of the massive Egyptian fleet. It’s quiet in the mess decks … You could hear a pin drop. Then, someone yells,

“General Quarters, General Quarters, spears and arrows… Break out the Battle Stations cheese and horse cock.”


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


“Standby for Heavy Rolls”

“Standby for Heavy Rolls”

By: Garland Davis

“Now Stand By For Heavy Rolls.” In sailor talk, this translates into… The shit is about to hit the fan, all hell is about to break loose… In seconds, the entire crew is reeling around like a bunch of drunken lumberjacks at a log-rolling contest… Stuff you have not seen for six months appears from under bunks, falls out of vent lines, or slides out of cracks and secret rat holes. The heads take on the distinct aroma of feces and gastric juices mixed with partially digested chow… And grown men start making intermittent contact with stationary objects.

It was one of the Frigates that I served in…don’t remember which one. The Supply Officer had finally tired of the XO chewing his butt about the old battered, leaky coffee maker and coughed up enough money to buy a new one.  It was a beautiful compact unit with a three-gallon coffee urn on each side and a five-gallon hot water dispenser in the center, each with a clear sight glass.  The hot water tank had a sensor that automatically refilled it after brewing each pot of coffee.

The Ship Repair Facility, Yokosuka installed it shortly before we deployed for Subic Bay and then on to the Indian Ocean.  It was all stainless steel and mounted on four stainless legs to the drink line.  Copper tubing supplied water from an under the counter manifold that also supplied water to the ice dispenser and the carbonated beverage machine.  Conduits supplied electricity from a junction in the overhead.

It was shortly before the evening movie.  The mess cooks had just finished cleaning the mess decks and securing the scullery.  An IC Fireman was setting up the projector and threading the first reel of the movie. The duty cook had just finished making a fresh urn of coffee and was putting away the utensils.  The night baker was in the Galley measuring flour for a run of bread dough and the engineers coming off watch were beginning to assemble, shooting the bull with the Gunner’s Mates while waiting for the movie.

The weather was rough but nothing exceptional.  The ship was pitching a bit since we were meeting the oncoming seas.  The Division Officers and Chiefs waited in the passageway aft of the Wardroom for the Department Heads to give them the information from Eight O’clock Reports and then fanned out to their divisions to carry out their instructions.  They were descending the ladder and entering the mess decks as the word “Now Standby for Heavy Rolls” was passed.

Almost immediately, the ship heeled to starboard and rolled over at a very steep angle.  The new coffee maker broke loose from the counter and swinging from the electrical conduit slammed into the Plexiglas fronting the mess line.  As the ship rolled steeply to port, the pot swung on the conduit that way and breaking loose went flying across the mess deck, spraying hot coffee and scalding water in all directions.  The latch on the milk dispensing machine gave way and two six-gallon containers of milk joined the melee.  The projector hit the port bulkhead where the urn crashed into it and inundated it with hot liquid.  Sailors piled up along the port bulkhead, yelling. The broken water line for the coffee maker was squirting water into the overhead and shorting out the power to all the drink line equipment.

As the ship steadied on the new course, the severe rolling stopped and the motion returned to normal.  The mess decks were awash in coffee, water and milk.  Two sailors and an Ensign had broken bones and a number of other crewmembers some had burns from the scalding liquids.  The galley was white with the flour that had spilled when the scale pan went flying.

It took half the night to clean up the mess and restore the mess decks to normal.  The legs for the coffee urn were actually aluminum sheathed in stainless and could not take the strain of the sudden weight shift.  We made our way into Subic Bay with the coffee urn, minus sight glasses, bent and battered, lashed to the counter but still serviceable.  The shipyard in Subic Bay machined some proper stainless legs, replaced the sight glasses and remounted the coffee maker, although dented, as good as new.  The movie projector was beyond resuscitation and went to wherever surveyed movie projectors and other useless items go.

The CO had it in his night orders to the OOD to “immediately prosecute any submarine contacts reported by P-3 aircraft in the area and inform me.”  When the contact report came in, the OOD ordered a 180 turn.  The ship was in the trough by the time the BMOW passed the word for heavy rolls. I understand the CO had many words with the young officer who had the con that evening.  He had been in the shower and was flung through the door into his cabin, ending up on the deck under his desk.


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


A Christmas Story

Another story from my childhood.  This is probably a good place to leave it.


By Garland Davis

My uncle Theodore was a Redneck and a tobacco farmer.  The farming was just a front to fool the Alcohol and Tobacco, (this was before firearms became so dangerous) agents, more commonly known as revenuers.  He was a middle-man distributor and sometimes retailer of a non-tax paid alcohol beverage, otherwise known as moonshine, white likker, and in more recent times, ethanol.  He often conducted protracted quality assurance tests of his product, in other words, he would get drunk and stay shit-faced drunk for days.

I remember a Christmas when I was eight or nine years old.  I was already old enough to know that Santa Claus was a fictional character that children are misled to believe in. I had suspected as much for quite a while, the fat son-of-a-bitch never brought the things I asked for in the lengthy letters I wrote and my parents mailed to the North Pole for me.  My brothers, sisters and many of my cousins still believed that Santa Claus broke into their houses on Christmas Eve and left them cheap ass toys and ugly clothing.

It was a snowy afternoon and evening.  My father worked for the state highway department and had been called to work operating a snow plow scraping snow off the roads and highways.  My mother had taken my brothers and me to my grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve. Two of my aunts and many of my cousins were also there.  My Uncles also had been called in to plow the roads.  We had finished supper, the other kids and I were listening to the radio (my grandmother didn’t have a television), playing board games or reading. All the women were in the kitchen making cookies when my uncle Theodore arrived.

He parked in the front yard and came into the house carrying a shotgun in one hand and a quart fruit jar in the other.  I never knew how to take him.  I don’t know whether he liked kids or not, but he always acted as if he didn’t.  We were all a little afraid of him.  He went into the kitchen and set the shotgun in the corner by the door.  He sat down at the table and asked for an empty  glass and another glass of water.  His method of drinking; he would pour a half glass of whiskey with a glass of water on the side.  It may take an hour, but when he drank, he killed the whiskey and followed it with the water.  Then he would refill the glasses and begin the wait until next time.

After about an hour, he yelled, “Hey all you young’uns git in here!  I brought you some candy.

The younger kids jumped up and ran into the kitchen. I trepidatiously followed.  He had a pile of candy on the table and was handing it out.  My aunts and mother were reminding the kids to say “Thank You” and were smiling at their kids.

My uncle suddenly said, “Be quiet, I heered something.”  He jumped up grabbed his shotgun saying, “Hear that?” and went through the door onto the back porch.  Almost immediately the shotgun fired and then again. He yelled, “Git yore ass outta here you fat bastard!”  Everyone was wondering what he was shooting at.  I started through the door, but Mom grabbed me and said, “Don’t go out there.”

He comes back through the door and sets the shotgun back in the corner and says, “Well they ain’t gonna be no goddamn Sandy Claus this year.  I just run that Sumbitch off.”

Those Santa Claus-believing kids were screaming and crying. They probably suffered mental problems and may have needed therapy for many years.

I must have inherited some of the same genes as my uncle.  I thought and still think it was hilarious as hell.  He died during my second year in the Navy.  He was in prison during my boot leave.  I never got the chance to have a drink with him.  I think we would have hit it off. He would have probably been a good Asia Sailor.


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


The Last Time I Saw Doug

The Last Time I Saw Doug

By: Garland Davis

Just about the only friend I had at school during my elementary years was named Douglas.  Doug was a preacher’s kid.  He was short, portly, wore coke bottle lens glasses, slobbered, and had a bladder condition that caused him to have to piss about every half hour, often times in his pants.  The other kids in school honored him with the name “Pissy Pants.”  I had shit my pants the first day of first grade.  I guess, it became natural that “Dookie Drawers’ and “Pissy Pants” were forced into a friendship of sorts, primarily, because none of the other boys wanted anything to do with us unless they got a chance to beat us up for being smart, the teacher’s pet, or just because they could.

Doug was a couple of years older than me.  I met him when I was promoted from first grade to third grade a week after I had started school.  My grandmother had taught me to read and write and rudimentary arithmetic when I was four and five.  This caused an immediate desire for the bigger boys in the third grade to welcome me by kicking my ass for being a smarty pants.  Doug also was a smarter than average kid and was also picked on by the other boys. He was as large as them, but wouldn’t fight back.  We just kind of gravitated to each other.

When other kids went to the playground for recess, we carried our books to read.  We usually went to the corner of the schoolyard closest to the door and we and kept a watch for anyone sneaking up to kick our asses.  The teachers tried to look out for us, but that only caused a higher level of animosity from our classmates.

We were if you could call it that, friends from third grade through seventh grade.  Before eighth grade Doug’s father was offered a larger congregation in another town and they moved away.  I lost track of him.  It would be eight years before I saw Doug again.

By 1964, I was a Third Class Petty Officer serving in the ammunition ship Vesuvius.  We had just returned from the Western Pacific and were anchored in San Francisco Bay. I had just gotten off a bus on Market Street heading for a nearby Gin Mill to meet a fellow cook for some recreational boozing and harassing the Bar Hogs.

I heard someone yell, “Garland.”. No one called me Garland now. Among my shipmates, I was known as Dave.  I turned looking to see who was calling my name. I saw him there. At first, I didn’t recognize him.  He was pretty heavy, no make that downright fat, and sporting a long shaggy beard. He said, “Hey Man, It’s me, Doug.”

It took me a minute. I tell you, I was flabbergasted.  The last time I had seen him was at a little country school in North Carolina and here he was in San Francisco.  He told me he was meeting his girlfriend in about an hour.  I reluctantly joined him at a little coffee shop to talk.  From the smell coming off him, he hadn’t outgrown the moniker “Pissy Pants” nor did he waste a lot of time in the shower.  He didn’t talk like the Doug I once knew. I couldn’t hear the North Carolina in his voice. He talked fast with the quick rising tones you associate with door to door salesmen, con men, and panhandlers.

Of course, my uniform told him my story.  During the next forty-five minutes, I learned that his dad had run off with a widow woman from the congregation whom he was consoling.  This left Doug and his mother destitute.  His mother had a mental breakdown and had been institutionalized.  He lived with an uncle for a time but had finally left North Carolina on a Greyhound Bus for California to explore the evolving hippie culture.

He now lived with his girlfriend in a commune. Although she wasn’t exclusively his girlfriend.  He said there were a number of girls in the commune and you could just fuck whoever was available.  He said many of the members were artists and musicians but mostly lived by shoplifting and panhandling.

He said, “Here she comes now,’ as he stood to wave at someone I couldn’t see.

I turned and looked up as this huge lump of suet approached. I tell, you, this woman could have wrestled in the same weight class as Andre the Giant.  From the smell that came off her, she also had a bladder problem that caused her to piss herself frequently. Apparently she also shared a lack of motivation with Doug to bathe or there was a lack of shower facilities at the commune. He introduced us and said they were on the way to North Beach, where the commune flopped in a couple of apartments.  They invited me to come along. He offered good drugs and free pussy.  I begged off.  I told them I had to meet a guy who owed me money and I couldn’t afford to miss him.

I had no desire to involve myself with them or their lifestyle.  He hit me up for a five dollar “loan” and the two heavyweights waddled out of my life forever. Worth the five bucks to see the last of Doug.

And that is the last time I saw Doug and if I never see him again it will be too soon.  Truthfully, I never really liked Doug and he is a reminder of all the unpleasant hours and ass kicking’s I endured in elementary school.







By:  Garland Davis

Definition of legacy

plural leg·a·cies

  1. 1:  a gift by will especially of money or other personal property :  bequest
  2. 2:  something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past<the legacy of the ancient philosophers

I learned of an event yesterday that has me thinking about legacies.  Not the monetary or property legacy in the definition but the historical legacy that a person leaves in the minds and memories of those left behind.  Was the person a good or bad person, etc.

We often hear the word legacy in connection with presidential terms and libraries.  Lincoln set the bar pretty high by freeing the slaves and preserving the United States.  If the pundits and newscasters are to be believed, the thing foremost on a president’s mind is the legacy he will leave.

Although his term still has about thirteen months to run, it appears that Obama’s legacy will be:

  • Two autobiographies that contradict each other.
  • Friends with a domestic terrorist from the 60’s.
  • A questionable education, of which, he keeps the particulars of hidden.
  • A questionable place of birth that leaves many unanswered questions.
  • A historical national debt and a failing economy.
  • An unwanted health care program that is flawed.
  • Mishandling of the wars in the Middle East.

His predecessor, G.W. Bush’s legacy is as follows:

  • Hanging Chads.
  • World Trade Center attacks.
  • Poor response to Katrina and ineffective follow-up.
  • Strong response to Trade Center attacks by taking the war to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Needlessly involving the country in the Iraq war.
  • No more caring president when it involves the active duty and veteran service men and women.

I’ll leave Bill Clinton’s legacy with a single line. Although I could write much more, this will be what he is most remembered for:

  • Monica and a blue dress.

George H.W. Bush’s legacy is pretty much:

  • A broken promise involving a tax raise.

Those of us who served in the military under Reagan remember:

  • A military second to none.
  • A six hundred ship Navy with four Battleships and thirteen Carriers.
  • F114’s and Libya.
  • “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
  • The Iran hostages released the first day of his presidency.
  • And so much more…..

Jimmy Carter brings to mind a number of things:

  • Foremost is the Iranian hostage crisis.
  • Peanuts
  • Billy Beer.
  • Gas lines and rising gas prices.
  • Wage and price controls that didn’t work
  • That’s all I got.

I could continue going back president by president, but I think that is enough to emphasize the point I am trying to make.  I am sure there are those who would dispute my points, but this is my opinion.

A lady I know died in her sleep Friday night and was found yesterday morning.  It caused me to think about legacies that us common people leave behind.

Her father was a sailor who promised the pregnant Japanese girl that he would return for her and her baby and then abandoned her.  Her stepfather, another sailor, barely tolerated her and when her brother was born, he and her mother pretty much ignored her.  She was often neglected and left with relatives for weeks at a time.  She did poorly in the DOD Schools and was passed through the system with a very poor education.

She discovered alcohol at an early age and then drugs.  She did straighten herself up long enough to marry and have a child.  But it was short-lived.  A Navy wife, alone, her husband deployed and her with a predilection for mind-altering substances, and a willingness to do whatever it took to get them was a ticking time bomb.  Her husband was granted a humanitarian transfer to shore duty in Pearl Harbor to care for his daughter.  He eventually divorced her, left the Navy and moved, with the daughter, to the mainland.  She hadn’t seen the daughter since the girl was a child.

She moved from shack up to shack up.  She went where the drugs were.  When the men kicked her out, she would go begging to her mother and stepfather for a bed to sleep and food to eat.  They always took her in.  She would stay for a time and then the urge and need for drugs would send her looking.

I don’t know how long she had been home.  Yesterday morning, her sister-in-law went to wake her and found her dead.

I guess her legacy will be, poor abandoned and neglected girl who lived her life believing and acting as if she had no value.

I have never considered a personal legacy.  I hope I am remembered as a good husband and provider.  I also hope I am remembered as a crazy son-of-a-bitch and a good shipmate.  And, I hope that from time to time someone finds the crap I write out there in the ether, reads it and thinks, “I would like to have known him.”


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.





Just a Few Degrees Off Cool

Just a Few Degrees Off Cool

By:  Garland Davis

I wasn’t aware of the concept of being cool for much of the time growing up but, as comedian Bill Engvall put it I was always just a few degrees off cool.

My name has relegated me to uncool in so many ways.  I was born in 1944 before my Mom and Dad were married.  He was away in Indiana training for duty in Europe.  They were married after he was discharged.  I still have my mother’s maiden name.  They would have to go to court to change my name and that cost seventy-five dollars.  Let’s face it, they didn’t have that much money and there was another baby coming. So I ended up the lone Davis boy in the Salmons family.  Learned early on the meaning of “Bastard.”

To top it off, I was given the most uncool nickname ever, Buster.  My mama named me Garland Gray.  Buster came about when my aunts came to see the “new” baby. I was told that I was given the name when my Aunt Bet asked my mama, “What did you say his name is?”

“Garland Gray,” she replied.

“My God, what a mouthful of a name.  I’m going to call him Buster.”

I was about two years old (hell yeah, I remember this stuff.  I remember the day I was born.  Cried like a baby!) and most of the men I knew either smoked or chewed tobacco.  I didn’t like the smell of the smoke or of the chewing tobacco.  But, most of my aunts dipped snuff.  It was a fine powder, known as Scotch Snuff.  I remember them packing their lower lips, getting their spit cups and sitting on the front porch clucking like a bunch of old hens.  I thought I might like to try snuff.

I know it was a Sunday.  We had just come from church.  One of my aunts announced that she had found a new brand of snuff and it tasted good.  They were in the kitchen around the table, each of them using the little spoon that came with the snuff to pack it under their lip.  I asked if I could have some and of course, they laughed and said no.

They all retired to the front porch and left that jar of snuff sitting in the middle of the table.  I climbed onto a chair and pulled myself up to the table.  I pulled the jar to me and wrestled the lid off.  I smelled it.  Didn’t smell that good.  For some reason, I blew into the jar.  I was suddenly enveloped in a cloud of tobacco powder.  I was coughing, sneezing, my eyes burned and I was crying.  After, I was cleaned up and was pretty much okay, I was crying again because my Mama swatted my bottom for getting into the snuff.  I have never tried snuff, of any kind, since.  If anyone tells you that a two-year-old is too young to make a life decision, I have news for that person.

I tell you, it seems as if I was always a little behind where I thought I should be.  I think I was between two and or three years old when I inherited a hand me down tricycle from an older cousin.  I was proud of it and pedaled down the walk to show the kid next door.  He wheels out his brand new, shiny trike sucked the cool right off me.  I looked at the scratched, rusty bike I had been so proud of and for the first time realized that the world was unfair when it came to cool.

Shortly after the tricycle, we moved to the farm.  Everyone in the farm community wore denim bib overalls.  My overalls were corduroy.  All the cool guys were wearing denim.  I wanted to be cool and begged for denim overalls.  And finally, my begging was rewarded.  I had denim overalls to start school.  I strolled proudly through the door of the first-grade class dressed in my brand new denim overalls to learn that only one other boy was wearing overalls. All the other boys sure seemed cool in their denim jeans.  To really add to it, I had to go to the toilet and I couldn’t get the galluses unfastened and shit my pants.  Not long afterward, my Mama bought me some denim pants with a belt.  What were known as “hip britches.”  I was on my way to cool.

I had spent most summers with my grandmother and she had taught me to read, write, add, subtract, and multiply.  Shortly after the mishap with the galluses, I was moved from the first grade to the third grade.  I would no longer have to endure the name “Dookie Drawers” during recess.  In elementary school, like every organization I have ever been affiliated with, embarrassing news travels at the speed of light.  Not only was I called Dookie Drawers, but I got my ass whipped regularly because I was smarter than the rest of the class.

You couldn’t reach a higher state of uncool.  Think not? I stammered.  Whenever I tried to talk, especially if I was excited, I had a real problem with the letter S.  I solved that problem by talking as little as possible.  I became the introverted little geek who had shit himself in the first grade.  The only friend I had was the preacher’s kid who wore the coke bottle lens glasses, slobbered and had a bladder condition that caused him to piss about every half hour.

A common theme of recess was, “Hey it’s old Dookie Drawers and old Pissy Pants alone in the corner of the schoolyard reading books, let’s go whip their asses.”.  The thing that usually saved us was our ability to out run them back to the school room.

By the time I reached fifth grade, my brother started first grade.  He was a confident leader in his crowd on the school yard.  He told tales, both true and false, about me that filtered through the school yard detracting from any iota of cool that I did possess.  He did it partly out of spite for unpleasantness I had caused him at home and because he was expected to, and couldn’t, live up to my example as an exemplary student.

I pretty much stumbled through a six-year eighth-grade education thusly.  The one bright point of my elementary education was a sixth-grade teacher who cared enough to work with me to overcome my stammer.  For fifteen minutes every day after class she had me practice vocal exercises and encouraged me to practice at home and to try to emulate the newscasters on radio and TV.  I slowly overcame my stammer and haven’t been able to shut up since.

I knew when I went into High School, it would lay a measure of coolness on me.  I forgot that I would be entering high school with the same kids I had had to endure during elementary school.  Being about two years younger than them, our interests suddenly didn’t coincide.  They were entering puberty.  Their voices changed, they grew body hair and suddenly boys and girls became interesting to each other.  Me with my books and my science projects were of no interest to them.  I would have two wait two years for students of my own age.  I was still “Dookie Drawers” but, no one cared any longer.  My friend’s father had been offered a congregation in another town and he moved to another school.  I was too young, too smart, too alone and too uncool enough to fit into the social life of the high school.

The summer before my Junior year, a cousin had enlisted in the Coast Guard.  He was a high school dropout and the recruiter sent him to take the tests for his GED.  He passed and was issued a certificate by the State of North Carolina stating that he had the equivalency of a high school education. I called the testing facility and learned that anyone could take the tests, but it cost $20.  I had that much money and the Friday before my fourteenth birthday, I took the tests.  About a week before school started I received my certificate in the mail.

On the first day of school, I went to the Assistant Principle and showed it to him and told him I didn’t have to go to school any longer.  He burst my bubble.  He told me that regardless of the GED, state law required children to attend school until at least sixteen years old.  But, he told me that since my scores on the GED tests were extremely high, that he would try to get me into a state vocational school.  He made a call and told me the only thing available was a course in Baking and Bakery Science.  Not wanting to spend two years in a high school where I was so out of place, I agreed.

A little less than three years later, I enlisted in the Navy, where I served as a baker and a cook for thirty years.  I always thought by being a sailor I had finally achieved a state of cool.  But the older I get, the less I give a crap about cool.

But I tell you, The Asia Sailor Westpac’rs reunion in Branson, MO and the shipmates I meet with there every May are cool.


A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.