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A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes

Suggestions For "Sammy"

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I cannot end this book without saying something to those who have boys over there and, what is more to the point, to those boys who may go over there.

First as to the things that should be sent in parcels; and a great deal of consideration should be given to this. You must be very careful not to send things that will load your Sammy down, as every ounce counts in the pack when he is hiking, and he is likely to be hiking any time or all the time.

In the line of eatables the soldier wants something sweet. Good hard cookies are all right. I wish more people in this country knew how to make the English plum pudding in bags, the kind that will keep forever and be good when it is boiled. Mainly, though, chocolate is the thing. The milk kind is well enough, but it is apt to cause overmuch thirst. Personally I would rather have the plain chocolate,--the water variety.

Chewing gum is always in demand and is not bulky in the package. Send a lot of it. Lime and lemon tablets in the summertime are great for checking thirst on the march. A few of them won't do any harm in any parcel, summer or winter.

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Now about smoking materials. Unless the man to whom the parcel is to be sent is definitely known to be prejudiced against cigarettes, don't send him pipe tobacco or a pipe. There are smokers who hate cigarettes just as there are some people who think that the little paper roll is an invention of the devil. If any one has a boy over there, he--or she--had better overcome any possible personal feeling against the use of cigarettes and send them in preference to anything else.

From my own experience I know that cigarettes are the most important thing that can be sent to a soldier. When I went out there, I was a pipe smoker. After I had been in the trenches a week I quit the pipe and threw it away. It is seldom enough that one has the opportunity to enjoy a full pipe. It is very hard to get lighted when the matches are wet in bad weather, which is nearly always. Besides which, say what you will, a pipe does not soothe the nerves as a fag does.

Now when sending the cigarettes out, don't try to think of the special brand that Harold or Percival used when he was home. Likely enough his name has changed, and instead of being Percy or Harold he is now Pigeye or Sour-belly; and his taste in the weed has changed too. He won't be so keen on his own particular brand of Turkish. Just send him the common or garden Virginia sort at five cents the package. That is the kind that gives most comfort to the outworn Tommy or Sammy.

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A Yankee in the Trenches
R. Derby Holmes

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