September 11, 1917

Dear Ma--

So far as my little part of the world is concerned, everything is more or less the same. This new division we are attached to is sort of a bore because they don't know the sector and get things all balled up. Then they get most awfully peeved because we try and help them out. At present, I am at a very pleasant post. We eat with the lieutenant and sergeant, and have a room with beds made of wire netting. There is also a little stove and as the apples are ripe and the trees full, we have apple sauce all the time. Tonight, I had about the beet supper I have had for ages. But that is mainly because we eat with the lieut. At some of the other poet it is much worse. At one, we eat with the braneardiere and sit where we choose on the ground. The kitchen is a little shack full of flies and with one very small fire place made of stone piled together. There, we usually get boiled mutton which is an alias for fat and grizzle with one per cent meat and the whole boiled until nothing is left. Then we have one boiled vegetable,- carrots, potatoes or cabbage also boiled until it is all gone. After that, a cup of coffee which is terribly bitter. Needless to say, all the things you sent came in very handy there and also we were able to get four eggs at a rather large expenditure, but fried in the grease of the last piece of bacon, they were fine.

Today I had a little excitement. I was wandering by the edge of some woods near the post and had just discovered an old battery emplacement when some Bosche shells landed, as it sounded, just across a little valley where I knew there were some big guns. I ducked into a little trench where they had stored shells and heard the explosions come nearer. The last two didn't explode, for which I was thankful, altho' I don't know where they hit, but I think they were sort of close. We have come to say that a fellow who doesn't duck in such a case is either "a fool or crazy", and that's about the size of it for altho' a little scare like that may happen any time and anywhere, why take a chance. I think there are lots of people at home who will find out over here that prudence is the better part of valor, even though they may have said a great deal to the contrary in the states.

The Bosche have been shelling a road near here all day and are at it this instant. They shoot anywhere from five to twenty shots in about ten seconds and then are quiet an hour or so. Then the French 75'e shoot back giving them shot for shot. The first French gun just went off. I hope the Bosche haven't hit the road too many times because it means that much more trouble navigating the road after dark.

The last letter I have had from any of you was Betty's of the 24th and yours of the 16th. No packages or things have come for some time - since I wrote last.

I wish you would send me a couple of things unless you get a cable before this arrives saying to the contrary. First, I would like my 2 1/4 x 4 1/4 folding kodak and some films and, second, a permission signed by you to stay in this service as a volunteer.

Why I mention the cable and permission is this. A short time ago a statement came out in the Herald that the age limits were 18 - 40 for this service now that it is officially under the U. S. A. It also said that recruiting officers would be sent around to sign up all who wanted, for the duration of the war. As I have said, I won't sign for that term on this till I have come home, anyway, but of course we will have to stay here till replaced. Now, when we are replaced, it will be by men in the service of the U. S. government and signed for the duration of war. Now, it is hardly possible that all will be replaced at once so that I most likely will be able to stay on till the last, especially as all but one or two want to get out a a soon as they can, unless the U. S. Gov't fires me because I'm not 18. That's what makes things so uncertain.

By the way, the family pictures never came nor have any picture supplements for ages. I mention this because then we can keep track of things. Miss Lyon's box of candy never came, neither, nor the things sent via ambulance boys, as yet.

Thank Betty for her last letter. It was very amusing, especially the description of the new cook and the picture of her cut foot which made it look considerably mangled. I hope it wasn't really bad.