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. . . a rum Collins each in a trifle over an hour, but I am sure that either of us could have passed any sort of sobriety test. We were not even slightly "high".
There was no boat at the dock from the Shaw, but a New Zealand officer obtained permission to take us out in one of their boats; and we got back to the ship a little late, but still in time for supper.
After supper, Croft and I challenged the world for the contract championship. Dr. Shoor and Navy Gunner Taylor accepted. When we quit, Croft and I had held onto our championship belt, but by a margin of only 500 points.
Nothing much happened Feb. 9th. A transport loaded with troops came in and docked shortly after 8 AM. The men were not given shore liberty, and the Lord only knows how long the poor devils had been cooped upon shipboard. Croft and I played contract with Shoor and Taylor all afternoon. They won only one rubber. It rained intermittently all day, but the hurricane did not arrive. It never did.
Feb. 10. Rained most of the day. Residents say that it often rains continuously for three weeks. The Captain received orders to sail, but when and where to I was not informed. I had lunch with the Chief Petty Officers at their mess: Soup, filet mignon, vegetables, apple pie! Many of these men have long years of service. They are truly the backbone of the Navy. Without them, the younger officers would be sunk - possibly literally. I should think that it would gall them to salute, "Sir", and take orders from some twenty-one year old kid who might have been selling insurance or going to school a year ago.
Had three rubbers of bridge in officers' wardroom after dinner. Croft and I won but one rubber. Went ashore with Biggs, Croft, Shoor, and Taylor in captain's gig at 4:30. I did some shopping, and then to Grand Pacific, where we formed two tables into one. There were fourteen officers from the Shaw and McKean. No wonder Suva is running out of Scotch.
Coming aboard ship with my purchases, I tried to hand them to a sailor on deck after I had stepped onto the ladder. This threw all my weight on one side of the ladder -- a rope ladder with wooden rungs -- and the damned thing swung out from under me, leaving me hanging by one hand. I was finally rescued. But I had leaned something about sea ladders the hard way. Of course, when you come aboard a ship you always have an appreciative audience if anything untoward occurs.
The captain received new orders. The convoy which we have been waiting to escort has been delayed. We understood that it was what was left of the cruiser Minneapolis which had recently been torpedoed in the Solomons. There was no indication when it would be along.
Feb 11. Rain during morning. Bridge after dinner. Croft and I won all three rubbers with a total of 2440 points. But we don't play for money. Took the 3:30 boat to shore to watch football game between Deck Force and Gunners. It was played on playing field next to Government House. No lines, no goals. The players wore dungaree pants. Lt. Lammiman and Ensign Busik were the other officials. Busik was a famous player at The Academy last year, and there was another All-American on the Deck Force team. He was from Texas U. The game was played hard but clean.
The first half ended just before five, and Biggs suggested that we adjourn. . .
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