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Letter, December 29, 1918

[Letter on plain stationery. Received January 27, 1919.]

Ettelbruck Luxemburg

Dec. 29- 1918-

My deal Cecil- I have your letter of Nov 28. And as we are not real busy just now, will spend a while with you as nearly as possible. I am going to use one of your statements in regards to myself. If I were not so busy I'd be lonesome. I can say that this Sunday Morning alright. I have to be busy doing something, Most always we are playing for some inspection or parade or Guard Mount or concert or retreat, dance - most anything. Our band played for Xmas dinner. We go to Diekirch once a week to div. Hdq. and play concert there. Have we plenty to do? We don't work hard, but it's cold out now days and all our playing is outside.

Snow on the ground. Had a white Xmas here. Tonite our orchestra plays for a picture show here in our room. You see we are in a large Auditorium, big stage and all that. Fine place. And a 3 min walk down town where you can have a real good time.

I and Elmer Taylor - a Watseka lawyer are together most all the time. We take a walk down town, but some pie or cakes, go to a cafe, order coffee and spend an hour talking by our selves. He is a wonderfull help to me in more ways than one. Am sorry he does not live in Danville where I could be close to him after we get home. For I will miss him more than any fellow I ever met.

Well I wish I could have eaten Thanksgiving dinner with you. for ours was a farce. But Xmas dinner was a swell affair. And with the Xmas box coming just the day before - Jove it seemed like I was having a regular Xmas after all.

I rec. Xmas card from Rose while on our long hike.

So you think five pictures of one girl are enough. Well a few more from you wont make me at all mad. And I do hope you will send more along if you get them. I wish I had some of myself if you could get any enjoyment from them, for I have an idea I do look different than any you may have. But maybe not so awfully much. Lord knows I am dark enough. Brown as a Malay.

Yes - you are right, boys & girls have lots of trouble over nothing, and it seems rather foolish when you think of it, but there are so many foolish things done that most any of them are excusable. They always have been this way and I suppose will continue so. I don't suppose you would be considered normal if you did not pull a few foolish stunts in your life time. That is one way we all have of learning tho. And some good lessons we learn too in this way. I've done some very foolish things. No use to feel bad or grieve over any of them for its over now. And cannot be helped by feeling bad about it. But I have learned and my experiences increase from day to day. I may not be a university graduate, but there are things that you need not go to school to learn - and the Army for one thing has been a great teacher. Makes you look below the surface of things. And gives you a new code of standards to follow. The soldier over here is a rather funny fellow or may seem so to you. but never the less he is earnest. Has more faith in the bible, not as a book to make flowery speaches from - but he comes nearer practicing what he finds there. His ideals are the really deep things in life, he tries to live up to those standards because, he hates to see the faults in others so. And he does not want any one to find them in him. I believe this is because of the very close association of the soldiers. They live closer than any family. together day in and day out, for months at a time, treated alike in most every respect, meet each other on equal terms, share with each other and try to make your self as agreeable as possible, for you hate a disagreeable person so. There is much to learn if you only try. Selfreliance is one thing they find getting stronger in them. I find that my greatest help. You have confidence that you are able to do things, a representative of one of the greatest nations on earth. you stand in awe of nothing but God. I once thot to travel over here you would have to be a very educated person to get any real enjoyment out of it. But not so with us now. We care a snap what people think of us. If We want anything, we go after it and don't hesitate either. Because we don't know their language doesn't stop us. We act as independent over here as if we owned the place and the natives were foreigners, but no one acts over bearing. The people treat us with respect for many reasons. We are easy spenders with plenty compared to some or majority of the natives. We treat the people with such respect, and that is so different from the spirit of the German soldiers who have been moving thru here before us. And the American is such a jolly good fellow - in danger as well as otherwise. and I dont know of a home here that is not open to any one of us, especially if we can speak their language, and they try to pick up phrases of ours and seem very pleased if they speak it correctly enough to make you understand.

Well little girl, I have not the good luck to be started home on receiving your letter and not even the luck to have any idea when we will be sent. So don't you stop writing until you see me come stepping in your front door. Mail will be taken care of so we will get it the first opportunity. It will wait for us in New York should be sail soon. But we wont sail soon. With love to all - I remain your old Pal -

Paul Hendrickson - Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.

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