What's This You Are Carrying?

By John Cumming


Driving along a lonely stretch of the Oregon coast one evening during World War II, we stopped at an isolated Coast Guard station just as one of the men was going off duty.  We saw him reach inside his pea jacket and carefully withdraw a small object, which he handed to the other guard.  The latter cupped it in his hands for a moment, then unbuttoned his jacket, deposited the object inside and strode off into the fog.

We asked what they had traded.  A bit sheepishly, the guard answered, "It's a kitten.  Sort of keeps a guy company."

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