“What makes you think you’ll ever get the real thing?” Much guffawing and laughter.
“If you’re real nice, I’ll let you sniff my letter from home.”
“Who’s it from, your grandmother?”
“No, wise ass, it’s from Raquel. She’s a friend of my sister.”
“Yeah, and I’m the Pope too.”
“I’ll bet she’s the Pope’s mistress. You’ll never have her.”
This continued on until the projectionist got the film and projector packed up.
“See you Wednesday night,” he said and turned out the lights.
The next morning Capt. Fiori sent for me and when I arrived at his office, it was filled with half a dozen young Montagnard women chattering among themselves in their native language. When I entered, they stopped abruptly. Capt. Fiori introduced me and the lead woman translated that into their language.
“I think these girls can help you out,” said Fiori. “How ‘bout if you explain what you want them to do.”
“I think I’d pretty much have to show them unless they know what waveguides are.”
“Well, let’s go then.”
At that the whole troop of us walked over to the artillery site. As we approached the women clearly became uneasy and some put their hands over their ears. The Capt. explained to the head-woman that the cannons wouldn’t be firing, she translated and everybody relaxed a bit. I had them gather round the radar unit and I opened the door. The Montagnards are small people and it was difficult for a few of them to see inside the cabinet but one of the artillerymen brought us some bucket for them to stand on. They looked inside as I pointed by flashlight at the waveguides and slowly explained that I wanted them to take them all out and clean them and put them all back in. The head-woman translated and the women ooed and ahaaed and talked excitedly to one another for several minutes. Then the head-woman said that they had never done such a thing before and had no idea how to take it apart.
“I will show you the tools and show you how to use them,” I said trying to be reassuring.
“We don’t want to work by the big cannons. They make us afraid.”
“We will move the radar indoors by the mess hall,” said the Capt. “It will be safe there and away from the rain and wind.”
They talked among themselves for a few more minutes and then the head-woman said, “We will do it but you must show us how.”
“I will do that,” I said.
“When do we begin working,” she asked.
“In a few days when we have moved the radar,” said the Capt.