5 December 1943

Got your letter with snapshot enclosed yesterday. What a wonderful picture. It's priceless. The baby is simply beautiful. You didn't look bad either - in fact, darn nice. Thanks for the compliment regarding myself. Rather feared I had too much of a silly smile on my face perhaps. That little bundle of happiness and sweetness. We're really fortunate to have her. Were there any other pictures? Or were they too bad of me? What about those taken out at Carl's the time I was home on a 3-day pass? Your descriptions of Elaine are wonderful. Wish I could come home. Also would like to have Loty and Orville see her, Grandma too. Has Gus seen her lately, or don't you take her to town with you? I'll send that picture back for safekeeping-much as I hate to part with it. May be not in this letter, but sooner or later. I know you must enjoy it as I do. I'm afraid I'll soil it by carrying it around. (I don't have a locker here either, although some of the men got them.) By the way, Guess I could use another pair of socks or two. These hikes, several times a week, are hard on them. I can salvage socks with holes in them - get another pair - but it takes time. Had a short speed hike last week - 4 miles in 35 minutes - with rifle, pack and full equipment. The steep hills mad it tough. Some men gave up on the first hill; couldn't make it and dropped out. Friday night went out on a night problem. Hiked out some miles, laid out defensive positions on a hill side, dug foxholes, etc. Returned about 12:00 P.M. Got up the usual time Saturday morning, but got the afternoon off - except for cleaning rifles and a few other light details. Have been having a very delicious time since then. Consisting mostly in lying on my bunk and eating. Reading newspapers, listening to the radio a little, and in general being very lazy. Love that after a hard, grueling week. I've come to love Sunday again, for it's often the only time we have off. How good it feels to loll on your lazy back and read and smoke. I could tell a few incidents about Army life when I return, but to do so now would take a lot of writting. An idea of it though is: The Army is the biggest business in the world; it has great virtues and oftentimes great vices. Hope Drew Pearson was right. Can't quite be that optimistic myself. But maybe this Tripartite conference in Teheran will cast some light on it. Can't see how the conference in itself though can win the war. The decision will be announced to the world Monday at noon, it is believed. Hope Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin have something up their sleeve. Wrote Margaret and family a long letter. Mentioned my missing sharpshooter by one point. On the moving targets I did fairly well. Funny thing - I picked off all the enemy at 500 and 400 yards but missed a few at 200 and 300. Probably set my sights wrong in the haste of changing elevation. Got a good total score anyway; one of the best. Margaret had mentioned wanting to send me some baked goods and candy. I didn't object. Told her what ravenous appetites we have. Had beef today; the first time, I believe, in weeks. It was roast beef. Fried eggs for breakfast. No cereal though. MGM Thousands Cheer Movie Poster Last night I saw one of the most enjoyable shows of the year. "Thousands Cheer". Starring Kathryn Grayson and it had a host of M-G-M stars in it. Music, beauty and color. They must have had the soldier's needs in mind when making it. You must see it. K. Grayson sings divinely, and Jose Sturbi and his orchestra are in it. Sturbi is a genius on the piano. Listen to him play. He even breaks into boogie-woogie in one scene. Kay Kyser's there too, and his orchestra strikes me as having the most good-natured, lively music you could ask for. Also a chance too see and hear Lena Horne. She had better numbers in "Stormy Weather" perhaps, but I believe you'll like her. Saw the picture at one of the camp theaters - 15c. It's thrillingly beautiful. And for once I really laughed at Red Skelton. Believe it's getting close to "chow" time; in other words, supper. Wish I could see you, the babe, and the others. Rained here today. It really poured. Was beginning to think it never rained in Texas, from the usual dry appearance of everything. Found Gordon's (Kinney) address. Will write, but don't know what to say really. Take good care of Elaine. Don't let her get hurt.

Love, Melvin