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Fri. Aug. 27: Gen. Patton in SW La.

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”   –George Patton

1941 George Patton at a Red River pontoon bridge.

George Patton was an integral part of the 1941 La. Army Maneuvers.  In the movie, “Patton”, he refers to Louisiana and the maneuvers in his famous “American Flag” opening speech.

The following scene from my new novel, A Spent Bullet, relates an oft-told story of General Patton in DeRidder.  Ben and his sister, Elizabeth are discussing it:

They sat quietly, watching folks coming and going from the courthouse and post office. Ben asked, “Lizzie, who was that general you told me the story about from the drugstore?”

“Patton. General Patton.”

“Tell it to me again.”

“You’ve probably heard it five times.”

“Yep, but I like the story.”

She pointed back toward the corner where they’d been. “It happened right inside Ideal Drug.”

“Tell it again.”

“All right. Well, this fancy-dressed general, wearing two pearl-handled revolvers, came in Mrs. Brownie LeRay’s drugstore last week. He picked up some pipe tobacco and broke in line ahead of about twenty soldiers. Mrs. Brownie told him, ‘You can’t break in line. Get in the back.’”

Ben knew the next part of the story, but still asked. “What’d the general do?”

“According to her, he went to cussing and hollering in this high squeaky voice. “Don’t you know who I am?”

Elizabeth changed her voice to mimic Mrs. Brownie.  “Mister, I don’t care if you’re St. Peter with the keys to the kingdom. This is my store—and you’ll get in line like everyone else.”

“What happened then?”

“She said the place got as quiet as Sunday church and General Patton, pistols and all, quietly got in line and waited his turn.”

“She won that battle, didn’t she?”

“I guess she did.” Elizabeth smiled. “That’s how we feel about folks coming in here and trying to run our business.”

“Even if that folks is General Patting?”

Mrs. LeRay’s son, George, still operates Ideal Drugs at its present US 171 North location.

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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2 comments

  1. A very good story. I didn’t know about Patton being in Louisiana. I rarely read about History after the turn of the century. I have found I do enjoy reading about the History of Beauregard Parish and the little info I can find on our church.

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