My Father Fred M Boyles Sr. – Checking for Blood

Fred Boyles
Guest Writer

My father Fred M Boyles Sr.

He was an elegantly simple Irishman. He married my mom at 21 when I was on the way. He was never afraid to work long hours. He was a mechanic for a year or two and then moved to the island Guam when I was three. After finishing his agreement with civil service he started a business by buying a popcorn machine route. Then a small popcorn shack and then two restaurants. 

He and my mom worked seven days a week from 11 a.m. till 3 a.m. That left me at six years, home with our nanny and two younger sisters. I struck a deal with the nanny: “I don’t come into the house and she would not kill me.” I grew up in the jungle of Guam, with fantasies of war, every relationship I had looked like war. My bedtime stories I told myself were all 50-caliber machine guns punctuated with mortars. I must have killed a million Japs in my dreams. I remember our nanny throwing a salt shaker at my head. I was an asshole. Thank you Dad.

Where we lived was called Nemist Hill. We lived on a lot carved out of the jungle with napalm strike. On one side of the house was a small hill with nothing but pine trees no thicker than four inches. They covered fox holes where the Japs had been napalmed. I would nap in pine needles that covered these fox holes and dig out munitions. On the other side of our house was jungle, fringed with young bamboo growth. It was about 100 yards from the pine trees to the jungle. At the bottom of the road was a creek with a mine field on the far side. I would play in the mine field by kicking the tops off the mines. These mines looked like coffee cans 12″ x 18″ with tripwire strung between them about 20′ between each mine. This was seven years after World War II, and the mines were exposed by the rain and mostly rusted in half with yellow TNT flowing out around each mine. I remember kicking the tops off three mines and then came up to a mine that was intact. I thought, “Maybe I should not be doing this?” I got scared and never played in the minefield again. Thank you Dad.

At seven or 8 years, I loved to hunt for munitions and trade it with the air-force kids on the nearby base. I would trade grenades for marbles. I had no social skills and hungered for my father, but did not know it. I remember how proud I was when I cut a trail into the jungle and my dad walked it with me to a Japanese tank I had discovered about a 1/2 mile away the week before. Thank you Dad.

Oh don’t think my father approved of my munition hunting. I stored the mortars under the house. The MPs had followed me at a distance with binoculars and called him. I believe I had six mortars in my little yellow bucket. That little yellow bucket was kind of famous on the air-force base. MPs never got closer than 100 feet. I wonder why.
He beat me pretty good, but not nearly as hard as the second time I did it. Thank you Dad.

When I was eight I saw my dad in a fight behind his restaurant with a drunk customer. I remember running over to watch and how totally cool it was watching them wrestle and punch each other. Then hug and shake hands. Thank you Dad.

As Division Coordinator in my men’s organization, I  was was given full control of Big Stick. My last weekend as DC we put in 49 men into the Men’s Weekend. Because we always put in more then 20 men, I was left alone to run it anyway I wanted. Therefore, I introduced the “Circle of death,” modeled after my father’s fight. About 15 men link arms and make a circle. Two men square off in the middle pushing and screaming “fuck-you” until the truth was told. (NO punching.) I remember one division meeting where we had three circles going. I went home with my shirt torn to ribbons, I was so proud. Until just now I did not remember my father’s fight and how similar that looked to the “circle of death.” At the end of every circle men would say, “Love you man.” Each time, I would write down as a result at lease three men will say “love you man” and at least one man will kiss another man on the cheek. I’ve been given a kiss on the mouth a couple of times, this by men who had totally rejected me a few seconds before. Thank you Dad.

At another division meeting, I was clear a grudge or “list” with a man. I remember seeing
the 6″2′ man approach and thinking,”Oh shit.”  I took one look at those long arms and knew my strategy. Get in close and work over his ribs.

After 30 seconds of me up close and personal, he pushed me off and took a big swing at my head. I remember it looked so slow, I slipped the punch over my shoulder and punched as he stepped forward. I could feel his body fold around my fist as I hit him in the solar plexus. He went out and dropped like someone turned his lights off. I bend over and said to him, “Thanks for your blood.” Just about this moment a Sheriff’s helicopter swept in from the ocean with one of those million power lights that turned every man into a black and white silhouette. The parking lot filled with flashing lights with cops pointing shotguns at us. I was so proud. Oh our DC explained who we were. They thought we were gang-bangers and when they found out who we were, they were gone in seconds. Thank you Dad. 

Thanks to my father, I had many adventures with him. Ocean fishing for years, launched a 28′ Wellcraft over a wave in Mexico, our guest said he would never go with us again. I raced desert for 15 years, visited every hospital in the desert multiple times. Paintball for many years, killed everyone in a Vietnam village field. As enrollment manager for Big Stick I used paint ball guns and grenades as a tool to spot-weld our commitment to how many men we were putting into the weekend. Had a division meeting at a construction site with teams attacking a team in a foxhole.  I had to start an attack over when one man threw a grenade into the foxhole, but forgot to pull the pin.
He actually did hit a guy in the head, so I did have to check for blood.

As always, thank you Dad.

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