Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

October 5, 2013

These two little words can have a big impact

People usually can find a way to communicate, if they want to do so.

Capt. Gary and First Sergeant Goldy occasionally are visited by Italians — usually a busload at a time.

Nobody else we meet is as friendly and energetic as the Italians, most of whose command of English is pretty much limited to “Thank you!” They usually have a few folks who can translate.

Frank Calemine taught me just enough Italian to get me in trouble, but I don’t use any of that.

Italians are just as fond of standing with the soldiers at the cannon to have their pictures taken as anyone else is.

To all of them, I say “Benvenuti!” which means “Welcome!”

To the ladies, I say “Benvenuti, bella!” which means “Welcome, beautiful!” If you don’t think this gets smiles ... .

We had more Italians a couple of weeks ago, and they were just as much fun as all the others.

Gary and I were surrounded by them at the cannon, when one fellow who was about to take a photo told us to “Say cheese!”

I called out “Formaggio!” and all of them whooped and cheered.

Not all of our visitors are as much entertaining ... at least not as far as the captain is concerned.

By his own admission, he was a bit shaggy. One lady asked if his was a regulation haircut, and he said something about how we didn’t have many barbers in our unit.

Judging from photos I’ve seen, there was no such thing as a regulation Civil War-era haircut. Certainly nothing was said about beards.

People frequently want us how long we’ve been there, and Gary always asks “What year is it?”

One lady pointed to him, remarked, “His hair was still brown when they came here!” and walked on ... which was just as well.

There ensued considerable muttering on the captain’s part, and it went on for a while.

I said he should take comfort from the fact that my hair was completely gray while his was not, and that “She should have seen me last week before I had about four inches of it cut off.”

Some bikers in Harley-Davidson gear asked if they could get their pictures taken with us.

I was tempted to say, “You’re Harley guys, so that’s OK. If you were (Honda) Gold Wing riders, I might have to think about it.”

But I didn’t. Some of my friends are bikers, and the Harley and Honda people have fun with each other.

My Harley buddies refer to Japanese motorcycles as “rice burners.” One guy who rides a Gold Wing likes to point to oil stains on the pavement and say, “Look, Goldy, somebody had a Harley parked here.”

I frequently ask folks, “Where are you from?”

One of the Harley guys grinned at me and said, “My mom!”

Whatever followed — if anything — I don’t know, because everybody (including me) started laughing so hard that we became incoherent. I told him I had to remember that and use it.

Up the walk came an older gentleman who was being tugged along by a tiny white furry dog.

“Buttons wanted to come and see you,” he said. We had met Buttons — who was just a few months old — and his mom and dad at the motel where we were staying.

Gary and I are both dog people, but it took Buttons a while to make up to us.

His papa held Buttons up for us to pet, and the little fellow licked my fingers (but not Gary’s) ... probably because I’d had a sausage, egg and cheese bagel for breakfast that morning.

One of our visitors was of Mexican descent. He was married and living in Texas, but his wife was in Mexico.

She had been brought here illegally by her parents when she was very young, but went back to Mexico and now cannot return because of laws that in effect are punishing her for something she had no control over when she was a child.

He told me about what he was trying to do to change her situation, and it damn near broke my heart. I hugged him and told him I would pray for them. It’s about all I can do.

It was World War II weekend in Gettysburg, and the town was full of re-enactors driving around in Jeeps, deuce-and-a-halfs (trucks) and other vintage vehicles that must be worth a small fortune.

If the captain and I had period-correct transportation, it would carry us about on four legs instead of wheels.

Several of these guys were standing outside the motel as we were packing the car and getting ready to check out.

I went over to say hello, but suddenly stopped and began to stare at one man and the patch on the shoulder of his uniform.

“I’ve seen that before,” I thought. “I know what it is.”

So I introduced myself, shook his hand and told him, “Your division’s only Medal of Honor recipient graduated from my high school.”

“What’s his name?” the fellow asked.

“Ed Kelley,” I said, and that’s when his jaw dropped and his eyes flew wide open. He knew that it was at Kesternich, in Germany, where U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kelley did what he did to be awarded America’s highest decoration ... posthumously.

Some of my friends went to school with Jonah Edward Kelley and knew him.

A few others, the 78th Lightning Division’s survivors and their families, come once a year to my home town for Keyser High School’s Kelley Award ceremony and a reception the night before at the Moose lodge.

This award honors an outstanding senior class boy (the Katharine Church Award goes to an outstanding girl) in Kelley’s memory.

The younger 78th guys frequently travel far and wide to honor one of the highest traditions that America and Keyser possess.

I told them how proud I was that they do this and said I would keep them advised about next year’s Kelley Award.

Who knows? Some of them might show up for it to meet their older brothers.

What a reunion that would be.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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