Sputnik - The Joke
Let me introduce Ron Wilson, a poet and writer, I have asked him to be a guest contributor because this story, was both entertaining, but also resonated with me, having studied the history of the middle east. Its refreshing to hear accounts of every day life, rather than from someones political point of view. I wish to thank Vee wholeheartedly for contributing here!
Sputnik - The Joke
This will be, when finished, a blog about the very first satellite in history, Sputnik. This being an event that happened well over 50 years ago, I think, cruising southward through the Suez Canal on board a US Navy Destroyer, I may have a few if the details a little wrong and in conflict with one of me sources, to aid in my memory gathering, being Wikipedia. Some times we must have to trust our memories.
It was HOT, and of this I am very certain, Wikipedia does not even mention that. We had just seen the wreckage of many ships, some of them their masts sticking out of the water at Poet Said. Or was it Port Suez, of that I am really uncertain right now, but it was the one at the North end of the Suez Canal. I saw my first camel that morning, with a rider on board, it was then that I wished I had a camera, a feeling I did not correct until a few weeks later in Genoa Italy.
About noon, the Captain came on the ship's intercom, announcing, of course, that "This is the Captain speaking..." But of course, what else could the Captain say, being that he never, ever had come on the ship's speaker system before about anything, and so we all knew that this just had to be some big news. To be sure, it was so rare that many of us wondered if we even had a Captain.
His announcement, to wit being, "I want announce that the Soviet Union has just launched the first satellite in history, the Sputnik Satellite. Carry on."
"Soviet Union? " we asked ourselves, "Isn't that in Russia or someplace?"
The rest of the afternoon was spent making up stream of Sputnik jokes that seemed to have no end. Even when, 2 days later, playing softball in Eritrea, which was known to be the hottest place on the planet. We even called our softballs "Sputnik," to the joy and excitement of hundreds of Africans who had obviously never seen softball before.
When our batters got a hit, we shouted, "There goes Sputnik..." and the excited native Africans, many of them scantily dressed, caught on and began shouting, "Sputnik! Sputnik!" when the balls were hit.
But it all ended a few days later, when President Dwight Eisenhower decided to give military support to Lebanon, during its most recent crisis. So, our Persian Gulf tour, to everyone's sincere and great disappointment, was abruptly ended.
And so, our course was reversed and we sailed back through the Suez Canal, (Or is that the Said Canal?) back past the same wreckages of ships that Israel had just sunk the year before, and when we got off the coast of Lebanon, we put the first of a stream of US Marines ashore in full battle dress and gear.
The Marines were great, and there were dozens of beautiful, bikini clad Lebanese girls watching them and cheering them on. This in itself made the whole tour of duty with the 6th Fleet worthwhile and it was probably the strangest invasion in history.
But it did not stop the Sputnik jokes.
This is story is also an intro, into the next "GOOD READS" blog!!!!!
Hi there, the blog has been running for almost a year, and as you can see I try to keep up a few posts a month. More about poetry and fellow poets, but also about current events, social issues as well as art and music. I look forward to any suggestions from readers and fellow poets!