One night I was in Brussels, Belgium. I wasn’t supposed to be there. It was not off limits, but they didn’t want any American personnel in Brussels. The police department in Brussels was then the British Army. They hadn’t gotten back to normal. Why they didn’t want Americans in there? I don’t know, but that was the way it was. I had been in this little bar and had consumed several adult beverages. It was about 11:00 at night and it was time for me to head back to the room that I had rented, earlier in the day, and crash. The streets back to my rented room were vacant. It was pitch black and the city lighting system wasn’t very good. There were just a few overhead street- lights where I was going. The street- lights cast a small circle of light on the sidewalk. I had proceeded to the building where I had rented a room, and decided that, since they didn’t allow smoking in the building, I would stand under this street- light and smoke a cigarette. I had been there a few minutes, puffing on my cigarette, when I looked down the street and here came a girl. As she approached, I saw it was not only a girl but, a very attractive young girl. She walked up to me underneath the light, and we exchanged pleasantries, “Bon jour, Mademoiselle,” etc. Finally, after a few minutes, she said, “Lieutenant, you want to spend the night with me?” Well, even in my stupor, I realized that this was something extraordinary, and I said, “Oh yes, yes.” She says, “Well come on, let’s go.” I might have had a few drinks, but I wasn’t behind the door when they passed out the brains. I knew this wasn’t going to be a “freeby.” So, in all purported innocence, I asked, “Uh, how much is this gonna cost?” and she replied with an amount that would equal the National Budget of Portugal! I said, “Whew! Man! Don’t you ever do it for love?” She pulled her face right in front of my face and in perfect English said, “Baby, business is business and love is bullshit!” Then she turned around, walked slowly out of the light, and disappeared into the night. I never saw her again. But, as that song about the gambler... “he gave me an ace that I could keep” ... I have kept this “ace” in my mind and I will for the rest of my life.
Brussels, again. Right after the war, the nation of Belgium had a celebration for surviving the war and for honoring Winston Churchill. There was a hotel in downtown Brussels that I always liked to go to because the bar was so good. On this particular day, there was a holiday atmosphere all over Brussels. I went into this hotel and went to the bar. After a drink or two, I decided to go someplace else. I was coming out the foyer of this hotel and I noticed there was a lot of people gathered around the front of the hotel and in the foyer. A car pulled up outside and who gets out but Winston Churchill and his daughter. They came in the front door and walked right past me. Sir Winston knew a good bar when he saw one!