BIVOUACKING FOR THE NIGHT, Ozzie Taylor and the other BEF men sank to their haunches along a corrugated tin wall in an abandoned skating rink where the Maryland National Guard had dropped them off after the long haul across Ohio and West Virginia. Having found a passable sleeping spot near a fire that raged in a greasy oil barrel for heat, Ozzie looked up and saw rattling above his head a rusted sign welcoming all to Skate Your Cares Away. Wishing it were just that easy, he leaned his oboe against a post and rested a gunnysack filled with sand under his head for a pillow. After whittling a point on the nub left from his pencil, he pulled out an old racing form from his rear pocket to add a new notation to the column of figures he’d been compiling.
Lincoln sidled up next to him to see what he was scribbling. “You planning on putting a sawbuck down on Burgoo King at the Belmont there, Oz?”
“Nah, I’m just keeping a record.”
“A record of what?”
“How far we’ve traveled. What’s your guess, Charlie?”
Lincoln removed his stovepipe to scratch his head. “A far piece. That’s about as close as I can come.”
“Three thousand miles in eighteen days. Who woulda thought that?”
Resting a few feet away, Mickey Dolan tossed an old board into the fire can. “Not Herbie Hoover, that’s for sure. How much more we got to go?”
The men turned to Alford for the answer to that question, now that Waters, as usual, had gone on ahead to scout the enemy territory.
“Little over a hundred miles before we cross into Washington.”
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