Cowboy Cooking

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

Thanks Cowboy. Your post is posted in a scrap book my wife is putting together. Ray Stone and I met about a year ago. I had visited a local hardware store and was wearing a ballcap I had picked up at a boat reunion. Some fellow asked if I was a submariner.. I told him that I rode The Boats a long time ago...Then he said "Do you know Ray Stone (Olgoat)?" That's like saying..."Oh, you're from Chicago...You know Bill Smith?" I had never heard of Ray Stone... If he fell out of a tree and landed on me, I wouldn't have known who he was... We exchanged cards and I forgot about the whole thing. I was living a quiet life in a quiet neighborhood where no one knew or gave a hoot in hell about submarines.

Ray made contact... Within hours we discovered we had chased the same gals, had an uncanny network of similar associations and a past propensity to engage in conduct qualifying us for membership in the lunatic fringe.

He told me about this magic wonderland called Rontini's BBS and his 'treehouse', The Stone's Scurvy Skivvy Sack. It was Ray Stone who introduced me to this wonderful magic slate that Rontini has so generously provided... and it was Ray who talked me into what has been a magic carpet ride.

The posts on Rontini's not only fuel this lunacy but knock the cobwebs off long forgotten incidents that I have tried to daisy chain into a romp through youthful indiscretion with the finest men I ever had the honor to associate with... and that includes Doc, the Harrisons, Old Gringo, Cowboy, RamJet, my old shipmate Hemming, and all the others whose toleration and acceptance has come to be one of the finest presents an old worn-out sonuvabitch can find on his doorstep. I keep wondering when the day will come... And it will arrive, when someone posts... "Someone shoot the bastard and make him pipe down."

Cowboy, I'm me... I'm not that fat, overindulgent fellow someone posted a photo of... I am a 155 lb. nonrated qualified idiot who lives in that worn out carcass and who appears like the genie out of the lamp for these stories. If Ray Stone quits buying beer and quits screwing with the lamp, I'll crawl back in and secure the horsecrap valve.

But as long as you old pasted together burnt out smoke boat sailors keep saying it's OK, I'll crank 'em out 'til the stupidity locker runs dry.

Cowboy... Did you ever eat Cowboy Meatloaf a la Requin? We had a cook called Stumpy or something like that. He and a sonarman named Jac Snider wore cowboy boots... Funny, the dumb stuff you remember. Stumpy and Snider were from New Mexico, where folks eat stuff so gahdam hot it oughtta be against the law.

We had been out doin' stuff that forced us into operating at ultra quiet. You remember, where the old man passed the word to "Rig for ultra quiet... Secure air conditioning and refrigeration…" You remember… It got hotter than the hubs of hell and you sat on the potato lockers in the crews mess in sweat-soaked dungaree shirts listening to your armpit hair grow, watching the reefer temperature gauge inch toward the point where the corpsman announced that all the contents therein was now condemned and had to go over the side.

At some mystical point the Navy had determined meat thawed out and rapid decomposition set in and good steak became rotten shark chow. Just prior to "rig for rot", Stumpy broke out three boxes of steaks and popped the metal bands. He handed out his collection of butcher knives and had us cutting the steaks in two inch wide strips. He couldn't use the powered meat grinder so he set up his hand-cranked grinder and began grinding steak. "Whatcha doin' cookie?" "Makin' Cowboy meatloaf." If I had had the ability to see into the future, I would have taken that knife and cut the sonuvabitches' throat... But like the rest of the clowns in the after battery, I kept cutting strips and passing it into the galley. Anyway, the closest I'd ever been to cowboys had all taken place at the local movie house.

Stumpy had a mason jar full of little white jelly bean size peppers. As he cranked, he kept tossing in a couple of these blasting cap peppers. When he had a pile of ground meat and peppers a couple of feet high, he added shredded up stale Wonderbread, some eggs and God knows what else. We just wandered around in the bliss of total ignorance while a cook who had direct links to the culinary arts of hell packed breadloaf pans and put them in the oven. Had I had any inkling of what that diabolical sonuvabitch was pulling out of that jar and tossing in that hand grinder, I would have broken all known speed records moving aft, would have clawed my way through the after trim tank and done my damnedest to swim back to Norfolk.

Cowboy meatloaf and arc welding had the same mother. You can duplicate the sensation by sticking a flame-thrower down your throat and squeezing the trigger until fire shoots out your hip pockets or you can lick the manifold of an Indianapolis race car during the victory lap. That stuff should not be circulated without a warning label reading,


We sat there eating that napalm loaf... Each of us afraid that if we didn't eat it, we would be a big sissy and catch a lot of crap from all the other idiots eating it for the same reason. Given a choice between another helping of Cowboy meatloaf and French kissing a lightning bolt, I would go for the latter hands down. If you have to eat that concoction to be a cowboy, I'm signing up to be a sheepman.

Cowboying scares the hell outta me... Cowboy, if I ever get to Reno, I'll take you up on the beer... But if you eat that mason jar pepper seasoned stuff, I'll just be passing through hoping to link up with a can of Spam.

Thanks again... As I say I'll read your post again in the morning for a dose of mental Viagra.