The Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



KT wrote his Thunder Storms story and it brought a flood of memories to my mind. So I want to start by thanking Killgore Trout for stirring my memories up.


One such memory is when I was seventeen living in Panama. I was the youngest Assistant Boy Scout Master in their history to that date. Even had to get some special permission to be one.  The Scout Master was an Army Captain and he was able to get lots of equipment and assistance  for us to go go on a long hike.  We decided to go from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean. It took us a week to hike 117 miles across the Isthmus of Panama. The Army used helicopters to support us. They flew in and dropped C rations and cases of Coke and fresh water for us.  We had a Panamanian guide who lead the way up to the height of land along one river. He walked barefoot. His feet were very large and tough as shoe leather. From there we went down along another river until we got to the Atlantic. Before we left the Pacific we all filled a small bottle half way with Pacific water and upon arrival to the Atlantic we filled them to the top with Atlantic water, thus marrying the two bodies of water.


We slept in hammocks strung between trees with a piece of plastic sheet draped  over a string tight between the same trees. We were quite comfortable until one morning there was a scorpion in a boot! After that we kept the boots in the hammocks with us.


Another memory is that of swimming almost every day for three years. I went swimming in both oceans and the Canal and three different swimming pools in one day.


Rainy season we could tell time by the storms that came through. Every day a storm would come about 15 mins. later than the day before.


The Army had Jungle training for soldiers being sent to Vietnam. I was given that along with the Scout Troop. We went through everything they did except the weapons training. It turned out to be valuable training for me in 1969 when I was sent to Vietnam.


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I often think of life as an ongoing jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Things happen to us that at the time might make no sense until we grow older and can add the pieces to complete the picture. Your experience in Panama being part of your training for your time in Vietnam being a perfect example of this, Nirek.

Have you ever met someone and felt that you have known them for your whole lifetime? Have you ever visited a place or country and felt so at home that you can’t get lost because somehow you know your way around like a local?

Thank you for sharing your memories because they are the framework of who we are, who we later become, and something no one can ever take away from us. It makes all of us unique.

Sorry I’m late.