MONDAY MAIL: The last flamingo waltz

November 10, 2013 

Amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers, it's Monday Mail.

Armistice Day

Today's opening is from the song "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," about World War I losses Australians trying to take the Aegean Sea's Gallipoli Peninsula from Turkish and German troops suffered at Suvla Bay in 1915.

The song's from the perspective of a soldier whose legs are blown off by an artillery shell. "Waltzing Matilda" is Australian for hauling a backpack. "For no more I'll go waltzing Matilda all around the green bush far and near," he sings, "for to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs. No more waltzing Matilda for me."

Originally Armistice Day, Veterans Day was set this date to mark the anniversary of World War I's end, when the fighting halted at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918. Congress made it a recurring holiday in 1938, and renamed it Veterans Day in 1954.

Bob

Speaking of veterans, readers today respond to an Oct. 6 story on Vietnam combat veteran Robert Wadkins Sr., who retired Oct. 1 as the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit's chief public defender.

Here's a voicemail:

Tim,

Good morning. This is Burt Baker in Tifton with the capital defenders office. I just wanted to tell you that I thought your piece on Bob Wadkins was just exquisitely done, and thank you for I think just a brilliant piece. I know often in our jobs, we don't get a lot of 'attaboys, but I just wanted to call you and tell you that I really appreciated the article. Especially knowing Bob, I thought you captured him very, very well. Thanks so much. Take care.

Dear Burt:

Thanks for calling.

See you next time an indigent defendant's in a death penalty case.

Offline

Here's an online posting from Robbie Watson:

Wow! What a story. If I would have known all that, I would have been a lot nicer to this guy.

Dear Robbie:

Don't waste that charm. Bob's not used to niceties.

Ace of bass

That piece reported Wadkins had a close call with an opera career, as referenced here by "Dorian Mode," who titles himself "Emperor of Earth and part-time Flamingo Dancer at Mushroom Enlightenment Foundation":

GOD we could use a few more like him. This guy has one of the best voices I have ever heard.

Dear Dorian:

You need more baritones? Are you getting a band back together?

You may be joking or wearing pink feathers and dancing on one leg, but a late editor never tired of telling me it's a "flamenco" dancer, not flamingo.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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