Ok TGO, listen up, this is no shit. Back in ‘Nam my squads pointman was an enormous negro that we called Little Elvis. We called him that not only because of his hulking 700 pound frame but also because he came from Boise Idaho and he knew everything there was to know about potatoes and every way to serve them. For well over 27 years me n Little Elvis waded through the swamps of the Mekong Delta lowlands as well as humping hundred pound packs of bullets, potatoes and “c-rats” up and down the mighty Annamite Mountains, up North….

Sometimes at night, when there was no moon and everybody was sure that Little Elvis had killed all the NVA in the area with his twin automatic sawn off shotguns, the squad would string our ponchos together into a tent and we would all sit in there huddled together smoking dope and by the dim light of an ignited chunk of C4 burning in an empty c-rat can, in hushed tones Little Elvis would tell us about all the ways there were to prepare and serve potatoes.

There’s baked potatoes, there’s mashed potatoes, there’s fried potatoes, there’s boiled potatoes, there’s French fried potatoes, there’s hash browned potatoes, there’s roasted potatoes, there’s broasted potatoes, there’s BBQ potatoes, there’s steamed potatoes, there’s grilled potatoes, there’s cheese potatoes, there’s chili potatoes, there’s garlic potatoes, there’s rosemary potatoes, there’s herb potatoes, there’s steak and potatoes, there’s potatoes and eggs, there’s potatoe pancakes, there’s potatoe bread, there’s potatoe soup, there’s potatoe stew, there’s potatoe dumplings, there’s potatoe burritos, there’s potatoe croquettes, there’s potatoe pie, there’s potatoe cakes, there’s julienne potatoes, there’s fish and potatoes, there’s potatoes with vegetables, there’s pork and potatoes….

There’s chicken and potatoes, there’s ribs and potatoes, there’s potatoes and crawdaddy, there’s sautéed potatoes, there’s potatoe kabobs, there’s potatoe casserole, there’s potatoe bisque, there’s dauphinoise potatoes, there’s scalloped potatoes, there’s potatoes au gratin, there’s potatoe rosti, there’s hasselback potatoes, there’s potatoe salad, there’s potatoe chips, there’s potatoe latkes, there’s potatoe skins, there’s tater tots, there’s cottage fries, there’s potatoe gnocchi, there’s Irish nachos, there’s poached potatoes, there’s twice baked potatoes, there’s loaded baked potatoes, there’s loaded mashed potatoes, there’s potatoes with caramelized fennel, there’s salt baked new potatoes, there’s potates and ham, there’s sausage and potatoes, there’s potatoes and scallops, there’s potatoes and lobster, there’s potatoe chowder, there’s parmesan potatoes, there’s potatoe wedges.

One time as he ended the list to the dying ember of C4 with “And that’s all the ways there is to serve potatoes.” No more than 15 feet outside our makeshift tent filled with marijuana smoke a thick Indochina accent was clearly heard to say, “Dumb asshole forget about potatoes and shrimp!” Little Elvis’s big eyes lit up and a toothy grin spread across his enormous head as two meaty fists simultaneously detonated the combined 250 pounds of claymore mines we had been dragging through the jungle all week. We copped some needed zees in shifts despite the heavy odor of roasted enemy grunts, and dreamed about home and all the ways there are to cook potatoes.