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Korea - 1951 - Willie Canada Wanted to Start His Own Church

    When I was in Korea my best friend was Willie Canada. The thing I liked best about Willie was his rare ability to be funny without trying to be. He would say something in all seriousness and have the rest of us rolling on the floor.

     Anyway, Willie hated to work. He once told me, "When I get out of this army I ain't never gonna work again!"

     "How will you manage that?" I asked. "We'll all have to work at some kind of a job when we get out."

     "Not me," he said. "No, sir! No Way! When I get out I'm gonna relax and take life easy."

     "So how will you get money to live on?" I persevered.

     "Oh, I got that all figured out," he said with a broad smile. "Ya see while I'm in the army, I'm gonna save all my money. And when I get out I'm gonna use that money to buy a truck. Then I'm gonna rent that truck to my brother. He likes to work."

          Then there was the time I ran across Willie digging a hole not too far from our tent. He did not look happy.

     "What are you doing?" I asked.

     "Diggin' a sump hole," he said with a thoroughly disgusted look on his face.

     "So how did you happen to be picked for this job?" I asked, truly puzzled, because Willie had a real talent for avoiding work details of any kind.

     "Well," he said, "I was just standin' here talkin' to a sergeant and a corporal. We weren't doin' nothin' special you know just shootin' the breeze.

     All of a sudden this lieutenant walks up and says, "Sergeant we need a sump hole dug right here. Take care of it!"

     "Yes, sir!" the sergeant said, and turned around and looked at the corporal. "Corporal," he says, "we need a sump hole dug right here. Take care of it!"

     "Aye, aye," the corporal says, as he turns around and looks at me. "Private Canada, we need a sump hole dug right here. Take care of it!"

     "Me? I turn around and look at the shovel and I start takin' care of it."

     Then there was the time Willie came bounding into our tent, all out of breath and bubbling over with enthusiasm.

    "I got it!" he said. "I know what I'm gonna do when I get out of the army!"

     "I know," I replied. "You told me about the truck and your brother."

     "No, no," he said, "this is better way better! I'm gonna start a church!"

     "Excuse me?" I said.

     "Yeah really! I was just talkin' with some guys who said that back home they give ten percent of their wages to somethin' called a 'tithe' at the church they go to. Can you imagine? Ten percent!"

     "Think about it! If I had a church that only ten people came to, I'd be making as much as they do, at ten percent each! And, shucks, I wouldn't charge no ten percent! I could get by on, say, seven, easy. And if I had enough people comin' I could drop it to five percent! Man! I can't wait to get started!"

     And Willie was totally serious. In fact, I've often wondered how things are going at his church.

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