And we’ll never be lonely anymore…

by Michael Ryerson

Summer of ’66, we’re in a position in the middle of nowhere, as they say, sand flat surrounded by steaming fucking jungle. One road in, potholes eighteen inches deep, full of water even in July. Mid-morning couple helicopters bounce in and drop off some civilians and some mid-level brass. WTF? We’re nobodies, less than a hundred guys, one captain, a couple of lieutenants. Couple of gunships standing a kilometer out turning a slow continuous sweep of the tree line. Word comes down we’re going to have some entertainment. Entertainment? They have us carry some ammo boxes over to a GP tent and spread them out in a kind of semi-circle. Sitting on one of these ammo boxes puts your ass about six inches off the dirt. I’m about ten feet from the side of the tent, looking up, when they lift the flap and there are these three girls in long white sequined dresses, black stilettoes and false eyelashes, swaying to the beat of recorded music, each holding a chrome microphone, young black girls, they seemed really young and not glamorous, just pretty kids, blinking in the sun, dust settling on their patent leather shoes and starting to build up on their pancake make-up, and launching into Chapel of Love…smiling at us, giggling even, rocking to the so familiar lyrics, glancing at each other, picking their way through what must have seemed to them so familiar and mundane but what was to us so unexpected, I remember actually laughing at loud at the sheer joy of it. The Dixie Cups. I’ve thought of them often over the years.