A phone call from the past

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Saturday morning, while having a telephone discussion with a friend, I had an incoming

call with a number I didn’t recognize. I decided to put my friend on hold and answered the call.  

“Are you the Harold Keller that served on the USS Saufley, and are you the one we called ‘Hap’?” were the words I heard. I acknowledged that I was, and he said, “This is Jim Murdock. Do you remember me?” “Like it was yesterday,” I answered. “Jim,” I continued, “you were from Utah and a Second Class Gunners

Mate when I was discharged in January 1957. I also remember that you re-enlisted for an additional six years, prior to my discharge from the Navy.”

Wow! More than 55 years without seeing or hearing from Jim and Saturday morning a call from someone out of my past. We had an exciting conversation, and I learned that he had retired after serving 24 years in the Navy. He shared that after leaving the Saufley in 1962, he had 12 years of submarine duty.

He asked if I ever became a coach. I was surprised he remembered that before I was discharged I quit drinking because my desire was to be a teacher and a high school coach. “No, Jim,” I answered. “I quit college and got married. God had other plans for me.”

Jim now lives in Chesapeake, Va. He has three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  

In our conversation, he shared that one of his grandchildren, Lee, age 17, loves music. He plays the violin and would like to visit New Orleans, because of its music history. “I imagine he will major in music after high school.” I said. “No,” was his reply, “He wants to be a doctor.”

We talked about some of the shipmates with whom we served. It was great to hear from him and renew memories.  

Jim and Lee are planning a trip to New Orleans in the fall, and we will get together then. I can hardly wait!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 985-652-8477, or email hkeller@comcast.net.