Sarge's buddy, Ralph Beckmann This is a story of one of Sarge's highschool buddies. And it is also a story with a moral. Ralph was one of the guys in school that always had a happy face. He was just about equal to a professional stand up comedian, and Sarge just loved to be around him. When young Sarge was feeling down he would call Ralph and in a few minutes of conversation, Sarge would have forgotten his troubles and was laughing with Ralph about some crazy situation. Now that probably isn't unusual, many of us had good friends like that, what was unusual is that almost every day of his life Ralph was in pain. He had Polio when he was a child and his left leg was wasted away to just a stick. He had to have built up shoes to walk straight and most of time through his high school years he was on crutches. He had more operations from childhood to young adulthood than anyone could believe, but he always had his sense of humor to keep him going. That is why Sarge admired him so much and was proud to have him numbered among his friends. Ralph not only laughed easily but he spread his happiness among his friends. In our school, like most schools there were bullies. Some were bullies because their parents were rich and gave them a sense of superiority that they lorded over all us peasants and some were just bullies because they happened to be born with a big physique and liked to push smaller people around. On this day Ralph was hopping (Ralph because of his condition did not walk, he hopped) down the hall at school assisted by his two crutches that snapped around his arms. He always carried his books trapped between his one arm and his crutch. This particular bully was in the habit of coming up behind Ralph and pushing the books from the back and down they would go, spreading his pencils and papers all over the floor. Ralph would just quietly pick them up and continue on down the hall.(most all of us kids would help him too as he was well liked) Well I do not know what happened this time but I think Ralph was just fed up with the situation. When his books and papers hit the floor Ralph dropped to the floor and reached out with his crutch and hooked the bully's ankle, causing him to fall. Then Ralph crawled over to him and just beat the holy heck out of the guy. WITH HIS CRUTCH! We all just stared in astonishment. Finally several of us held Ralph and took the crutch away and calmed him down. I never had seen Ralph so emotionally upset in my life. He was crying and cussing and just totally wiped out. When he finally calmed down he actually apologised to us, he was so embarrassed. Me, I was proud of the guy. He was a lot more man than anyone I ever knew in my life. The Bully? He crawled off and disappeared. From that time on he never pushed anyone around. When ever he showed his face someone would point at him and laugh, and shout, "Some guy on crutches beat him up! Ha Ha" That was the last of that bully. Ralph gave me a good lesson right there and I think the whole school took the lesson to heart. There were very few bullies bothering anyone for the last two years of our school. Ralph is married now and has three children. Sarge, proud to be Ralph's friend.