THE DOGS OF WAR
This article is to run concurrently with the previous article: JUST ANOTHER WAR STORY.
In the previous article I stated that I had to wait some time for electrical material to arrive on site. In the interim I spent much time working on Departmental vehicles due to no other journeymen in the area. A rather dirty job: fixing lights that others damaged and fitting globes etc.
After working hours the military sent guards to do duty in the Water Affairs Camp. The guards did a 6hour shift: from 18’00hrs to 24’00 and the other from 24’00 to 06’00. There were two guards per shift.
As the sun set they would slowly, bored, walk up and down their territory.Smoking a fag from cupped hands, looking around to see if anybody is approaching. Always the fear, wondering when and how their end will come. Remembering the stories of atrocities inflicted upon the enemy. When the fag is finished and the but flicked away the rifle take up its position across the chest. A part of their territory was close to my accommodation so I would call them over for a coffee or tea. Armies are fuelled on tea. We would sit and talk for some time then places would be changed.
They told of their little boet and elder sister at home, wondered if dad was still ok after his stroke and has mom been to the doctor yet. Will dad be able to work again. He told stories of the SA atrocities on the enemy. They wondered if there would be letters for them. Letters were worth more than gold. One chattering on about the repairs to his bike and what the cost after the fall. (indicates scar tissue on his shoulders.) Tells me he has saved all his pay to buy the spares: Eyeing the full packet of Texan which I hand over to the two and tell them to enjoy it.( I have no shortage) One is from Joeys and the other from Durbs, a world apart yet they are mates. Discussing paradise at the sea and the Carlton Centre on the Rand. At times I wonder why am I here listening to their aches and pains, And when their turn comes those aches and pains will be transferred to the parents. Little boet and elder sister will also feel that pain because ouboet will not be coming home. I bade them goodbye and knew the next two will be with me soon then a night will pass, I will be pouring tea and dispensing Texan.
It is not too long or not too short then I know that my boys will be on the border too