Cabbage Rolls and Navy Bean Soup
By Garland Davis
The events that I describe here happened, maybe not in the timeframe or order Bud tells them. I am telling this story from his point of view. Bud and I were Chiefs, well he was a senior Chief when I made it, together on a Tincan out of Pearl. I went to a two-year shore tour in San Diego and then was ordered to an Oiler in Pearl. I reported aboard to find my old shipmate Bud as a Warrant Officer and the ship’s Bosun. This was back in the day when Warrant ranks were temporary and each Warrant held a permanent enlisted rank. Bud was a permanent Master Chief Boatswains Mate. Well hell, I’ll just let Bud tell the story…
“There I was walking across the Well Deck and who do I see reporting aboard but my old running mate Dave, undoubtedly one of the best Stewburners to ever shit between a pair of regulation shower shoes. Other than to shake hands and say hellos, I didn’t have time to talk, the XO must be pissed at me again. He had sent the Messenger of the Watch to tell me he wanted to see me on the Quarterdeck. He wanders around the ship looking for discrepancies to point out to the junior officers. He calls it training.
I was mostly doing well with the officer stuff until that fucking Stewburner showed up. Put the two of us together and we could stir up enough shit to keep the XO pissed. Now the XO loved meetings, especially planning meetings and especially meetings where he got to do all the talking. It was one such meeting where the problem arose like gas over a swamp.
The meeting was an Officer and Chief’s meeting to make preliminary plans for an upcoming yard overhaul. The meeting was scheduled for 1400. Before lunch, I stuck my head in the Wardroom pantry to see what we were having for lunch. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, one of the XO’s favorites. The Steward let me have a sample. Later I had two at lunch.
After going to the fantail to check the condition of a mooring line, I cut through the Crew’s Mess on the way forward. I saw they had had Navy Bean Soup for lunch. On that can Dave’s Bean Soup was one of my favorites. I swung by the CPO Mess and Dave was there. I asked if it would be possible to get a bowl of that soup. He sent the mess cook for a bowl. It was as good as I remembered. It was so good, I had two more bowls.
I went to my stateroom and worked on my list of Wants and Must-Haves in preparation for the XO’s meeting. I got to the Wardroom to find all the chairs taken so I sat down on the deck beside Stewburner Dave. I was in a position where the XO couldn’t see me and there was a Playboy magazine within reach on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. While the XO was prattling on about the number one priorities, I looked at centerfolds.
About thirty minutes after the XO started talking, I could feel the pressure building in my gut. The combination of cabbage rolls and bean soup was leading up to a gas attack of mammoth proportions. It was actually painful. I whispered to the Stewburner, ‘I hope he ends this shit soon, my gut is rumbling, I feel like I have to either fart or shit my pants.’
The XO asked, in preparation for ending the meeting, if anyone had any questions. That fucking Stewburner pops up with a question about prioritizing the six number one priorities the XO had identified. The way the Asshole grinned at me told me the Son-of-a-Bitch did it, to start the XO off. Everyone knew not to ask questions if you wanted to shorten the XO’s meetings from interminable to just long.
The pressure in my gut was unbearable and extremely painful. I had to have relief. I decided to slip out a little silent one to relieve the pressure. That is where it went wrong. What started as silent and controlled, quickly became foghorn loud and uncontrolled. It started out as deep resonating bass and progressed to an almost falsetto. It went on and on. I could pipe chow in less time than it did for that fart to come to an end.
That fucking Stewburner says, ‘Damn, Bosn, if that was mine, I would be so proud, I would stencil my name on it.’
The stench was horrible. While everyone was bailing out of the Wardroom, the XO said, ‘Bosun, go see the Corpsman to make an appointment to have your digestive system checked.’
I said, ‘There’s no need for that sir, it’s them cabbage rolls of yours. They do it to me every time.’”