Old Mack’s Tales

September 15, 2012

V-J Day in Carson

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 7:12 am
Tags: , ,

V-J Day in Carson

I wasn’t very observant when I was a boy. And about the only thing I could control was my bicycle, a used Elgin, sprayed pale green, frame, tires and wheel spokes; the only parts of that bike that weren’t green were the saddle and handlebars with a nickel-plated bell. That Elgin had coaster brakes; it stopped on dry pavement, by pedalling backwards until the cones grabbed the hub and locked the rear wheel. If there was sand or snow on the road, there was no stopping that bike.

I was a month shy of being eleven and living with Jack Parker, the Chief of Police, in Carson City, Nevada when the Atom Bombs were dropped on Japan. There was a large crowd gathering in front of the Senator Hotel and Casino, and Parker was standing on the sidewalk wearing his uniform—light tan Stetson, brown cowboy boots, twill trousers and a military khaki shirt with his badge pinned on it. His gun-belt was polished black leather with a holster stuffed with a .45 chrome-plated six shooter with plenty of ammo in loops on the belt. Parker’s gut hung only slightly over his belt on account of the girdle he wore under his shirt. He looked almost as wide as he was tall.

As I skidded my bike to a stop near The Chief, a couple of scrawny Chinese men were carrying a large pasteboard box up to him. The box, about two feet square and deep, was filled with packaged strings of firecrackers. Chinese people were thronging in the street and waiting for Parker to start distributing the crackers. I never knew there were so many Chinese in the town and I had no idea where they lived. There was no “Chinatown,” such as there was in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I don’t even recall seeing a Chinese restaurant in Carson. I had read about them building the railroads, but assumed they’d moved to the coast, and maybe they had, but had come over the Sierra to celebrate V-J Day in Carson. I still don’t know. But there were hundreds in the street and Parker began tossing packs of crackers to them. He handed me several packs of them without my asking.

People began lighting the strings and tossing them on the pavement among their people, who whooped and hollered and danced out of the way. The celebration went on for half an hour and then they all disappeared. Parker had gone to his car and left the scene. I gave my crackers to some white kids from school because I don’t like the noise and had no matches with which to light them.

I could understand why the Chinese were so happy about the Japanese losing the war; many had roots in Nanking, which was the scene of a terrible massacre, according to
the newsreels. When it was all over the street was covered with red scraps of paper from the exploded crackers almost as if it had snowed red snow flakes. I had to walk my Elgin back to Parker’s house; I couldn’t get any traction in the paper flakes.

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1 Comment »

  1. So very glad to see this, Mack. Love the story, want to read more and want to know everything! Where have you been, are you ok? Smiles. I worry about strangers in this weird wonderful net world. But having read your tales, you don’t seem so much a stranger. Im glad to see your work, my friend. Hugs from angel

    Comment by angelsolala — September 15, 2012 @ 3:56 pm | Reply


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