Open Fire

The Honey Buckets and the Giant Octopuses -


Information was passed around that we should stay away from the little wooden buckets that the Japanese had left behind in our area, even if they appeared to be clean. They were called Honey Buckets because the Japanese had used them in their out-houses to collect human waste. We were very short on supplies and we utilized everything we could find and these buckets appeared, of course, to be useful for a lot of things.

But, as usual, there is always somebody who does not get the word. On about the second day at our new location, Runyon and I went to the edge of the lagoon to take our daily bath. This is when we noticed that one guy was holding one of these buckets over his head and pouring water from it completely over himself from head to toe. He seemed to be enjoying how clever he was by thinking of the idea himself before anybody else had.

We hated to spoil his fun, but for his sake, we did. He didn't want to believe us at first until we showed him another one that was half filled with something else. He not only destroyed all of the buckets, but also spent most of the rest of the day in the lagooon with soap and water.

After a few days, we started a routine that continued on until we left two months later. Reveille was very early every morning, roll call was taken, followed by a cold breakfast for the first two or three weeks until we could 'borrow' a cook stove, then work parties were organized to build defensive emplacements until noon. After lunch, the heat was too intense for working, so the rest of the day was at our leisure to clean our weapons, wash our clothes, or take a swim either in the lagoon or in the deep water on the opposite side.

However, we had been warned by the natives about the very large octopus's lurking in the deep water on the outside. They claimed that about every year they would lose one or two men to these huge creatures. They were more afraid of the octopuses than they were of the large sharks in the lagoon. It was not much fun swimming on the outside anyway, because it got deep in a hurry and there was also a heavy surf most of the time.

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