Colonel Shakealeg

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Just now, reading Anne Frank’s diary, I got to the part where she laments that her new roommate, Mr. Dussel “has turned out to be an old-fashioned disciplinarian and preacher of unbearably long sermons on manners.”

My mind goes back to 1967 or thereabouts. My folks are hosting some traveling preacher or missionary in our Puebla, Mexico home. The guest is reputed to have a military background. He’s Colonel This or That.

The fine Colonel gets the second bed in my room. He seems nice enough. I sleep the solid sleep of a young boy, probably straight through the Colonel’s military-grade snoring.

It’s time for breakfast, but I’m still dreaming, even after Reveille has played in the Colonel’s head.

He comes over to the foot of my bed. Taking an ankle in each of his pulpit-pounding fists, he shakes my legs up and down. I awake to his cheerful “Rise and shine!”

It’s Colonel Shakealeg’s first order of the day.

— Brad Hepp, September 10, 2023

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