A Grunt Comes To Pound Ridge

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- On a recent July evening, a friend visited from Cape May N.J, a small town quite similar to our own. His name is John and for the past several years he has been a high school teacher for kids who need a little more discipline. He is also a retired Gunnery Sergeant who served in the United States Marine Corps.

Photo Credit: Contributed by Laurance Baschkin

Most of his oldest colleagues refer to him as Jaws, while others, including myself, have the distinct honor of calling him Gunny. We first met in the late 1980s when he worked as a fitness instructor at a place called Camp Peary, where I made the mistake of calling him Jar Head only minutes after formal introductions.

During several long weekends I spent there, Gunny singled me out for what he called anti-deficiency training. This included close quarter tutorials on helping me grasp the meaning of words such as "code, honor, loyalty and sacrifice."

In the years that followed, Gunny led a team of dedicated adventurers to some interesting parts of the world, for which I was very proud to be part of. One time when we were in a certain foreign country, we crossed paths with a few of his fellow Marines where we took part in what turned out to be a poorly played poker game. The end-result was his making a bad call and my receiving a tattoo courtesy of the Old Breed.

When he recently called to say he was driving through, he asked if he could stop in to see for himself what a nice place Pound Ridge truly is. After a few beers at North Star, where he described his new teaching position, he compared our town to his beloved Cape May and made a keen observation by saying "how downtown Scotts Corners should have entering and leaving on the same sign.''

Yes Gunny, we too live in a sleepy town and that is why we like it. Next time my friend is passing through, I hope to introduce him to some equally special people I have met here as well. Safe travels buddy and Semper Fi.

to follow Daily Voice Pound Ridge and receive free news updates.