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The Pink Parasol.

There was a pink parasol at DucCo. 
It came to be there because the bacsi wanted a young woman to be happy and to feel special..........

A young Asian woman looking sternly into the camera.

The girl's name was Shotsee. The bacsi did not think that was the her real name. He thought it was a nickname, some derivative of the Dutch term of affection, "Schatz," meaning "honey" or "darling." She was a pretty Montagnard woman, 18 or 19. She worked in the camp as a maid and laundress. It was a good job and her wages helped her and her family during the difficult times of war. 

She often washed and folded the bacsi's jungle fatigues, and olive drab tee shirts and socks. Shotsee liked the bacsi. He was nice to her and he had taken care of her grandfather when the old man was quite ill. She thought the bacsi had saved her grandfather's life. She was probably right. The bacsi liked Shotsee, too. She was polite, worked hard, and cared deeply about her family. She was funny. And she took very good care of his clothes. 

View of military camp.
Young soldier surrounded by young Montagnard children in a military camp.
Thatched huts in a village.

One morning she brought his clean clothes to his sleeping hole in the underground bunker. She told him that traveling venders had come to Duc Co from Pleiku and that they had many pretty things to sell. The bacsi smiled and asked the girl what she would buy if she had enough money. She said that she would like black silk the black pajama pants the big city girls in Pleiku and Nha Trang wore. And a shade for the sun. Shotsee mimed holding an umbrella. He wondered if she meant a parasol, and she told him that yes, it was a parasol that she wanted. To walk in the hot sun and stay cool. The bacsi said that he doubted the venders sold parasols, and the girl frowned sadly. 

The bacsi asked her how much these things might cost, but she did not know, and she had no money. He gave her ten dollars, American, and she hurried to the airstrip before the venders could leave. Bacsi dozed for a while. It was hot and he was very tired. 

Two young Montagnard girls smiling.

When she returned, she was wearing black silken pajama bottoms, and a bright pink silk top. She looked like a beautiful Montagnard princess. She was hiding something behind her back, and when he asked, she laughed and slowly revealed a parasol. Not just any parasol but a bright pink parasol that matched her pink top. The basci laughed and hugged the girl. 

She ran to the team house to show her friends. The bacsi slept. A mysterious fever had weakened him and he often slept or dozed. He was not well. He walked to the team house to eat. Mui, Shotsee's friend, told him to look at Shotsee's beautiful new things. The bacsi admired her new clothes and asked her where she had gotten such a wonderful pink parasol. 

She felt happy and special. He laughed, too. Every one laughed or smiled. It was a happy moment at Duc Co, which wasn't really a very happy place at all.

She looked at him and laughed. She felt happy and special. He laughed, too. Every one laughed or smiled. It was a happy moment at Duc Co, which wasn't really a very happy place at all.

Over the years, Bacsi bought and gave gifts to many people. Some of them were expensive; some were not. But he never gave a gift that made any one happier than the pink parasol made Shotsee that day at Duc Co. And all for ten dollars, American.

Young soldier wearing a beret surrounded by young Asian children.

Biographical Details

Primary Location During Vietnam: Duc Co, Vietnam Vietnam location marker

Story Subject: Military Service

Military Branch: U.S. Army

Dates of Service: 1966 - 1969

Veteran Organization: None

Unit: Special Forces

Specialty: Medic

Story Themes: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, Army, Duc Co, Medical Personnel, Minneapolis, Montagnard, Read, Relationships, Special Forces

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