Sunday, September 29, 2013

46 years later ...

Yesterday (Saturday), Priscilla scheduled pedicures for her mother, her brother John and me, and her, of course. I had never before had a pedicure, and I can say that if the rest of me was as comfortable as my feet are, I would sleep for a couple of days.

The young woman doing my feet was, I decided, Vietnamese. A man doing Priscilla’s feet was old enough to be the young woman’s father. A not-Vietnamese woman took care of John, while a Vietnamese man probably in his late 50s did Mrs. R.

A few minutes into nail caring, the young woman asked, “Where are you from?”

“Little Rock,” I said. “And you?”

“We are from Vietnam.”

I said, “I had that part down.” I gestured at my Blackhorse cap on a table. “I was in Vietnam, but that was way, way long before you were born.”

She said, “You were soldier?” I said I was. She asked, “Where in Vietnam were you?” The man I supposed her father was now interested. The older man continued working on Mrs. R.’s feet.

“I don’t remember the province, but Xuan Loc was the provincial capital.”

The young woman said, “Near Saigon?”

“We were about 35 kilometers east.”

The presumed father said, “Bien Hoa?”

“We were about 35 kilometers south east,” I said.

That seemed to satisfy everybody.

It was one of those strange life things, sitting in a fancy massage chair in the mall in Texarkana, Texas, having my feet done by a young Vietnamese woman. I hadn’t had my feet done by a young Vietnamese woman 46 years ago, so maybe Saturday was catch-up.

But then, how many opportunities had I had to have my feet done. There was a convoy to Long Binh ... three days in Vung Tau ... That pretty much is it.

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