Received letters today from Mom, Audrey, Liulf and Kay so I think it is a “Buona Journo” (“Good Day” to you non-Italians). I’m glad to hear that <the crop> at last is safe or practically so. The yields are very good, particularly <since> I remember that the Lee field isn’t too good. Alan has certainly done a grand job of farming and it pleases me no end to see him getting results. That was quite a fancy price for the steers too. They must have been real beauties though and were worth the price. Tell Alan that I will expect him to save one fat calf for the return of the “Prodigal” son from the Wars.
It came as great news to learn that old Andy McNaughton had taken over from Col. Ralston. We never did expect to quit in the middle of a war to go home on a visit, but we do feel that our comparative treatment with that of the Zombies has left a very bad taste in every decent mouth. The general feeling now among the boys is that we won’t be sent to Burma unless we volunteer. You would be surprised too, at just how many of the boys would go after a decent period of leave at home. There is no doubt about it, this campaigning gets into your blood.
At the moment, we are out on a month’s rest. Our area is in the outskirts of a nice little town on the Adriatic. I was chosen to represent my troops on the advance party, so of course I picked the best spot for myself and my gun sub. I managed to get three rooms including a kitchen on the second floor of a nice house. We have a fireplace to make tea and toast in the evening and nice spring beds to sleep on. It really is a grand feeling to wear dry boots for a change and to be able to go to bed without being drowned out by a sudden downpour. Of course, this place isn’t without some annoyances. Spit and polish is once again the order of the day. We really don’t mind if there weren’t so many guard duties. I have been picked, largely for my size and my nice new uniform, to train for a special guard which is to mount at the A.M.G.O.T. H.Q. on the 19th in the nearby town. I should feel highly honoured, but can’t say I am.
As I write here, I can hear the rumble of the guns at the front, which is some twelve miles away. That is one thing I really like about going up front. All ceremony is discarded and the feeling of mutual danger tends to create a feeling of comradeship embracing Officers, N.C.O.s and men. Up there it doesn’t matter whether a chap is a Major or a gunner; either he proves himself a man or he is through. Officers who were considered bums because of their insistence on rigid discipline become favourites if they show the men courage and leadership when the shells are bursting. Still others who were considered fine officers, prove utterly worthless when the real test comes. If my military training nets me nothing more, I am still content. At least I have proven to myself that I can face up to it as well as any and better than many. It gives you a grand feeling of self-reliance and confidence that should prove useful in civilian life. Another good feature is that you learn to judge men. In the army, you meet every type; the bootlicker I still find the hardest to stomach. Well, Mom, there I go again letting off surplus steam; excuse please.