The Men With Green Faces


It's been six months since my grandpa Walter J. Montgomery passed away. He died in his sleep at the age of ninety-two, in the spare bedroom of my home where he had been living for the past five years. I am just now in his old house, packing things up, making this process of his finale complete. Well, I'm not really in his house actually. I'm sitting on the rocking chair right outside, on the front porch, taking a much-needed break.

I've got two items in my hands on this break of mine. A soon-to-be-opened bottle of Steelhead Ale that I've brought with me all the way from my home in Humboldt County; and one simple photograph that I've just found in a drawer. The ale has a distinct flavor to it, and for anyone who knows beer the way I do, they'll tell you that within this flavor is a subtle richness all its own. It's quite likely, in fact, that if you were to discretely pour a glass of this ale for a fellow beverage connoisseur, one sip is all it would take for them to realize what they were drinking. But I've been staring at this photograph for an hour already, and as a marine sniper with twenty years of experience, there isn't a person alive who could convince me that I've got shitty eyesight. Yet nonetheless...

Some things in life never change much. My grandpa's house is a one-bedroom cabin in the rugged mountains five miles north-east of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Other than a few loose floor boards, some rotted siding on the south side, and a cracked kitchen window, this place is still exactly how I remembered it for all those times I've been here. It's still surrounded by a grove of pine trees, and it still overlooks that small lake right there, just past the green grass and rickety dock in front of me. I saw a moose standing in a bed of reeds on the west-end of the lake just this morning. Probably the same one I saw five years ago, when I came up here to get my grandpa.

On that day, Grandpa had been sitting on this very rocking chair as I came walking up from my truck. He wore green overalls and leather work boots, as if he had just finished cutting some wood, or was about to. But on his head was his faded blue, tattered ball cap from the Ford Motor Company. Grandpa won that cap at some auto-rally when he was eighteen years old, and for the entirety of his life, he only wore it on special occasions. Some things in life never change.

But then again, there's this photograph in my hand. And it's of something completely out of this world. And as much as my head keeps telling me I've up and gone insane, or that maybe the altitude of these mountains have affected my way of thinking, I know my eyes have never lied to me. I'm opening this beer now, because even though some things never change...some things obviously do. And when that which changes happens to be your own sense of reality, well, let's just say alcohol knows how to help smooth things over during a moment like this.

The Viet Cong used to call Navy Seals, "the men with green faces." They came up with this term on account that the Seals painted their faces in shades of green and brown, helping them to blend in with their environment. Before their whole world would get lit up in a classic ambush that rained a barrage of .223 rounds, and half a dozen Claymore mines, some of these Viet Cong undoubtedly spotted a few of those white, hungry eyes staring out from the framed tapestry of the surrounding jungle; men with green faces. But I'll tell you right now, that those Viet Cong were in no way the first ones to come up with that term. And that those Navy Seals, with their painted skin and predatory eyes, weren't the first ones to be called by such a name.





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This is me: home-writer, book-reader, dog-lover and occasional poet. I make this website to share my and my friends texts with You, dear Reader. Please: read carefully, don't be scary, upgrade your mood and be king and leave your comment. :)