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Incident On A Dirt Road


Cornfields, pumpkin pie, trick or treat, ghosts, witches, etc., all come to mind this time of year, it's unavoidable, it's in the air. And that said, let me ask you, ever have one of those moments when you're just sure as hell it was a deceased loved one that intervened in your behalf?

I had one of those ghostly moments, I'd like to tell you about it: It was 1967 and I was in the U.S. Army serving in South Vietnam. I was about to find myself knee deep in the mix soon enough in what could be considered a life threatening situation, when my grandmother's voice woke me from a deep sleep; a sleep that could otherwise have held me forever.

At the risk of sounding a tad long-winded, please allow me to elaborate further. As I was saying, I was a young soldier voluntarily serving in Vietnam on what was then an extended tour of duty of my military assignment in bustling Saigon City. It should be known that leaving the city limits in any direction pretty much placed oneself immediately in the jungle, a more peaceful but contradictory environment for sure. Before I proceed further you need to also know that my dearly beloved grandmother, the fine lady who raised me as a youngster, had died of natural causes two years previous.

There was this one day that I found myself off-duty and in civilian clothing and asleep inside one of the darkest, most comfortable bars that I (or anyone for that matter) could possibly imagine. But when the door opened to the outside, the daylight rushing in came with such blinding flash that it seemed someone had triggered, 'flashed on' a set of high powered industrial lights. Absolutely bright. That must have been what woke me.

I stumbled into the sunlight, and heat of the day, still drowsy; and maybe for that reason, or maybe misjudging my staggered movements as me under the influence of perhaps more than just one too many warm Ba'm-Di- Ba's ('33' a beer competing alongside warm piss in taste), the man, all smiles, and perched there upon his three-wheeled contraption, climbed down and rushed to greet me.

He was a Driver, a chauffeur, of sorts. A skinny, darkly tanned, barefoot old man, with rolled black trousers, in pointed straw sun hat, but no shirt; and, with the few teeth that remained in his smile, matching, black-stained teeth and gums.

He welcomed me aboard his manually operated cycle. Now some of these Drivers can be quite aggressive, as I remember; a very competitive transport business among the many who likewise awaited patiently at street side for customers exiting the bars.

It would probably help if you knew that these tricycle contraptions were open framed, and easily accessible, and equipped with a cushioned but oftentimes hard-packed bench seat, with ragged cloth canopy overhead, all located between two bicycle wheels, up front, for passenger comfort; with the driver pushing hard on pedals from his single seat, behind. I chose mine, or he chose me, however it worked out I'm not sure now, as I asked how much would it cost for transporting me to my downtown hotel? Being satisfactory, I climbed into the open compartment and settled back for the ride.

My Driver, in position, began maneuvering us among the steady stream of traffic. My destination was inside the city, a hotel only a few blocks and normally only a few minutes distant from where it would begin.

It could have been the heat, it could have been the couple beers I had downed earlier, or maybe it was the slow, and deliberate, swaying side to side as the driver pedaled onward, or maybe a combination of all three; whatever, I soon found myself fast asleep again.

I was asleep and moving through city traffic -- when in actuality -- I was asleep and unknowingly being driven straight into the jungle, ahead.

I can't explain it beyond saying my grandmother spoke to me, saying: "Jerry, wake up! Do it NOW!"

Which I did. Startled awake, my head swaying slowly back and forth, I came to realize that something wasn't right -- no traffic, no buildings; only tall trees and dense green brush aligned the long gravel road stretching ahead.

Letting this soak into my skull, wondering why I had just heard my grandmother's voice? Where had it come from? And where in the heck were we going? That's when I saw the man.

The man was a few meters distant, probably 75 - 100 feet ahead, as he came from the trees on the left side of the road, stopped in the center of the road, where he turned his head momentarily in our direction, then continued on, walking to the other side of the road where he disappeared into the trees and brush growing there. Now that was certainly strange, I was thinking, when -- Again my grandmother's voice: "Get up, Jerry. There's danger ahead!"

At this time, I hollered back through the canopy for the Driver to stop, to let me out. This caused him to speed up. I probably should have jumped out without speaking, but it was too late for that now. So I jumped out anyway. Luckily having maintained my balance in the shifting gravel; all the while sliding, holding onto and wrestling with the moving transport.

The Driver stopped. He looked at me, in obvious wonderment, voicing disagreement from his seated position.

It was about this time that the man seen moments ago, resurfaced. But this time, having returned to the middle of the road where he stood and engaged in conversation with my Driver; in a language I didn't understand, but got the gist of anyway. It became obvious when the man motioned repeatedly for us to continue forward towards his location.

I refused to get back inside the transport, my heart beating loudly in my ears. My thoughts began associating my ongoing happening with something I had read earlier concerning recent attacks on U.S. Soldiers, where all were beaten and robbed and some were killed. We were cautioned to avoid such locations where we too might become victims. Well, Bingo!

Continuing to refuse, the Driver urging me otherwise, I turned out my wallet exposing the contents to be only one lonely $10.00 in U.S. Currency, and a few pocketed local coins in loose change. I handed same to my Driver. I then turned all my pockets inside out to show that this money was my only thing of value -- I had no wristwatch or ring or necklace. Nothing other than my Army dog tags around my neck, which I also handed to my Driver. This caused him to smile again, him showing those black, ugly teeth again.

My Driver addressed the man in the road. And without actually understanding his language, I understood him to explain what I had just done. In response, the waiting man spoke, sounding angry, but then turned and continued walking across the road and disappeared into the jungle there.

My Driver, still seated, and me still standing, looked at each other for a few unspoken moments. Finally coming to the realization that each had gotten what the other wanted (and me without my head being bashed in) I shrugged and asked the Driver to kindly take me back to the city. He smiled and nodded his agreement. Good thing too because I had no idea where I was, or where this otherwise quite lonely and isolated gravel road led to. Other than a quick road to perdition, I mean.

He climbed down and repositioned his cycle so it faced now in the opposite direction. That's when I climbed back aboard. The sway of the peddling resumed and the heat remained but this time without me drifting off to sleep. In fact I'm not sure if I managed to get any sleep at all that night.

Thanks grandma.


Jerry Bridges

Spring Branch, TX. 78070

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, JerryB, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-17)
-- aussiedaz --
Good story, thanks for sharing. I remember the time a soldier friend and I were riding in a tiny Saigon taxicab and my friend (by accident) discovered the driver's monetary stash that had slipped from under the driver's seat and ended up at the feet of my friend. We got out of the taxi, and that's when my friend showed me the money bag, all smiles, like he had just hit the lottery. About that time the driver jumped out and all hell broke loose. The driver had instantly discovered what happened and demanded the return of his cash, and rightfully so. A crowd quickly developed and I don't know where he came from, but some guy in civilian clothing, an American, showed us a badge (he was CID) and the $$ was promptly returned. We were both allowed to go on our way while the guy with the badge stayed and tried to calm things down. But I'm sure nothing after that did anything to help build foreign relations. I could still hear the driver and others hollering Number 10 GI, as we moved quickly away, which equated to telling us how horrible we were. Hell I was innocent but guilty through association. For some reason your story remind me of this incident.

As to what you say about communicating with those that have passed on, I'll leave that up to your wisdom. Makes sense what you say. Thanks.
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-17)
RedWolf -- great reading what you had to say in clarifying what happened to your uncle. Having a metal plate in your head can't be an easy thing to live with. And he being the first to receive this operation I have to wonder if the operation was perfected. Must have worked since you said he later went off to Korea.

As to your Native American heritage, you should be very proud and I'm certain you are. One of my daughters, Heather, married a fellow that claims part Sioux. I see it in my three grandchildren, I call my granddaughter, Brynna, my Indian Princess, lovely little girl. James, that's my SIL, looks to me more to resemble a tall Chinese of sorts rather than Native Ameican, but with James' own father now there is no question, full Sioux.
aussiedaz (18 stories) (1280 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-15)
Your account reminds me of this friend on mine who travelled somewhere over there in the late 80's...him and his buddy got into this taxi for a trip where too I can't remember. But this friend of mine, is as street smart as anyone picked up on the Taxi driver acting a little strange and observed him nodding he's head to a shifty looking fellow standing near by who ran around the back of a building. My friend put two and two together and demanded this taxi driver to pull up and let them out...he's travelling companion had no idea what was going on and called him paranoid, but it does appear to be a ongoing practised. You said in your story your not sure how your grandmother spoke to you? The clue mate is in your other story "The strange object in the woods" via telepathy. Our departed loved ones, like these civilizations that have been around for millions of years know how to communicate through mind when they return to visit us as ghost or in the flesh. I've been very fortunate to have a conversation with my own mother via telepathy who died in 2009 and have a little insight myself... I think when we cross over, we revert back to the skills that come natural to us and to our higher self... After all, mind don't belong to body, body belongs to mind, vocal chords are not really necessary to communicate we just think they are because of where we are in our spiritual evolution... Cheers for another well written account Jerry.

Regards Daz
RedWolf (28 stories) (1260 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-15)
Hi Jerry
1. This was information was from my my grandparents. I can't imagine the hell they went through when he got hit by the car. The fact that he had to have a metal plate put in his head in the early to mid '40s and and survived was a medical miracle, he was about 12 or 13. He had to relearn everything from feeding himself to talking and reading, and dressing himself. Mind you they didn't have the services to help out like they do today. According to my grandparents he is in medical books for being the first to live through his head injuries.
2. His acceptance into the Army to me seems incredible to me, evidently he lied about the plate in his head and by then he was "normal" nobody questioned him.
3. He served in Korea not Viet Nam. I looked it up and at the moment there are few to no tigers in South Korea now but 60 years ago it is possible.
4. These stories were told to me through my grandparents but my Uncle never told me anything about it so some of it may be embellished,I'm not sure. Although my grandfather used to tell me that on my grandmothers side me my sisters and brother were part Native American which because her family helped establish the town of Red Hook in the lower Catskill Mountains I doubted it until an Anthropologist asked what nationality I was, I told him what I knew and he said that I was obviously N.A. He couldn't tell me what tribe I came from because he didn't study N.A. Tribes but he knew a professor that could tell me. I never made a meeting because I was just happy because what my grandfather told me was true. My daughter looked it up and found out that the area that Red Hook is in the area that the Lenepe tribe used to hunt and fish etc.
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-14)
Hello RedWolf --
Nice of you to drop by. What you wrote about your uncle, a couple of things come to mind:

1. When I was a very young boy, even before my first grade of school, I was playing Cowboy and Indians (thanks to Saturday morning tv) and this neighbor of mine, also a young boy who obviously had been watching the same programming, smacked me on the head with his metal toy pistol so damn hard that it must have cracked my head, there is still a bump there today from where it happened. I was creeping around the corner of his house, looking for him like they did on tv, when he, standing on his porch and out of sight, cold cocked me with such force to cause me to see stars and drop to my knees in extreme agony. So much for friendship, it ended right there and then.

2. Never saw a tiger in Vietnam but I did see a king cobra that had been shot and killed by one of the guards on duty one night, a snake that was so damn long that the guard was standing on top of his bunker, and with his arm extended over his head, the dead snake was his entire length and part way down the side of the cement bunker. How incredibly long that snake was, I'm not sure length in feet, but I considered it a monster and made my nights (and days) very uncomfortable after seeing that.
RedWolf (28 stories) (1260 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-14)
Thank you for your interesting story. Also thank you for your service.
When my Uncle was a young teenager he got hit by a car. Witnesses say that he was hit so hard he flew into the air and landed on his head. He needed a metal plate in his head. He was the first person to survive this type of surgery but had to relearn everything. Despite this he was allowed to enlist and serve in Korea. One night he was woken up for guard duty and the soldier used his cot to go to sleep. In the morning the soldier was found dead. As I was told during the night North Korean somehow got into camp then this tent and slit the soldiers throat. Another night my Uncle was on guard duty he saw eye shine. He knew that it wasn't a friendly so he shot it right between the eyes. They waited until morning to see what he shot. It turned out to be a tiger! He certainly had a lot of angels looking out for him during that time in his life
Caz (231 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-13)
Jerry...I reckon she must've been watching over you and perhaps she still is! That dream may have been more than just a dream!
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
-- otteer --
So good to hear from you today as well. Thanks for your thanks. Yeah I agree, publishing the story today, Veteran's Day, was fortunate in that it gave those interested a look, be it a tiny look, into the trials and tribulations of yours truly as a veteran. I really do appreciate it when I hear others give their best wishes to our country's veterans. Our soldiers today face hardships far beyond anything I experienced or could imagine, they certainly have my respect. Constant back to back combat tours, as has been business as normal since 9/11, seems unimaginable to me. I was fortunate enough to retire from active duty after serving 26 consecutive years, retired as an army master sergeant. But I've been out of the service nearly as long as I was in. My sincere gratitude to all veterans, past and present.
otteer (8 stories) (398 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
So glad you story was published today of all days, and from me too, and to all that post and have served, thank you!

God Bless Grandma! Nothing like a stern warning from authority (and grandma's are usually listened too and not questioned lol) to wake you up, all the way.!

I have heard stories about Vietnam as my 1st husband served there, he was a lucky one, many of his friends were not so lucky. He chose to remember the good times, and quietly dismissed the hardships with a quiet " those times have passed." ❤
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
... Damn typos... I said Shirley, I meant shortly. I said physic, I meant psychic.
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
-- Seraphina --
-- Valkricry --
Thank you both for your nice comments.

Val, you are physic aren't you, asking about my dog tags like that... I thought about clarifying that in my story but obviously didn't. Good question, No the guy didn't accept my dog tags, he took them but handed them back to me. He did keep the money however, all of it.
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
-- Caz --
-- Lauretta --
-- kaykay3313 --
-- Manafon1 --
Let me say first of all, thank you for your wonderful comments.

I am so thankful to have survived Vietnam. I was extremely fortunate that my assignment was changed in country to Saigon (as strange as that city was) // we assigned there had our own set of difficulties to deal with but nothing even remotely close to the soldiers who called the jungle their home. I got a small taste of the latter when my unit moved to a bombed out and deserted French army compound situated alongside the Bong Song River, to a place called Cat Lai. My unit set up tents initially, which became a tent city complete with a network of connecting wooden walkways. The most notable memory I have is of a lage pink painted latrine that floated on sealed oil drums on said River; there was a hinged walkway with banisters that allowed the floating latrine to rise and fall with the changing tide. A very sophisticated operation, considering; and as soldiers will do when far away from home, playfully those that constructed this floating throne took the liberty of painting big red hearts on the sides with the names of all the carpenters, professional and novice, involved in its construction. Quite a sight to see, pure artwork. I'm sure it left the locals scratching their heads in wonderment, and appreciation. Sure made jungle life tolerable, that's for sure.

This incident was the only time I heard from my grandmother. Shirley after she died, I do remember having a very vivid dream wherein I informed her who had attended her funeral, also how lovely and peaceful I thought she looked. There was additional conversation but I don't recall he specifics. I will say that dream conversation seemed to give me closure. What a wonderful woman she was, I miss her still today.
valkricry (39 stories) (2794 posts) mod
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
Jerry, yes. I do believe that there are times we are spoken to from beyond. I have experienced this myself. Lucky for you, you listened to your Grandma. Curious - did they give you back your dog tags? If not how was this handled?
Seraphina (7 stories) (147 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
Hi, Jerry. Now I understand a comment you made on one of my stories. 😊 Your experience is yet another affirmation that love is eternal. ~Seraphina
Manafon1 (5 stories) (545 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
Jerry--What a great account! Clearly your grandmother made you aware of a life threatening situation. I have read of many similar interventions from deceased loved ones over the years. A love from beyond the grave.

You also painted a very vivid picture of Saigon. On this Veterans Day, a thanks for your service and sacrifice.
kaykay3313 (guest)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
This is so interesting and cool, not only your experience but hearing a story told by someone who was in Vietnam. I have a friend and his father was in the Vietnam war but I never asked him anything about because I didn't want to upset him, I've heard it was pretty gruesome. But that is also astonishing that your grandmother warned you what a touching story. Makes you feel a little better about life knowing your loved one's who have passed are watching out for you. Thanks for the story sincerely kaykay3313
Lauretta (guest)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
I would like to send a big THANK YOU and a hug for your service and sacrifice for your country. 😁 I liked this one. I have read all of your stories and I like them all. I look forward to more of your experiences. Have a wonderful day, Lauretta 😊
Caz (231 posts)
2 years ago (2015-11-11)
WOW Jerry... Just WOW! Thank God for your grandma! Saved your bacon for sure! Is that the one and only time you ever heard from her?

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