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  Gypsy, Brownie and Wine  
  by Father William McCarthy, M.M.  
  Our governing board had established a jail in the prison. Gypsy, who boasted he had been inside the best jails in the Orient, assured me that it was a real "clink" To me having a jail within a prison seemed ironic.  We were all confined behind barbed wire. But Gypsy explained being separated from your friends, even in a prison, would be punishment enough to prevent small infractions of camp rules.  
  A colorful character, he helped keep up our morale. He ran the gambling games.  His cot was the center for dice and poker. Money was almost worthless but the gambling table never lacked players.  Those who ran out of money would bet watches, rings or articles of clothing. More than one internee actually lost his shirt. But Gypsy was always good for a loan.  
  Meals at Los Baños were served at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.  We had rice and coffee for breakfast. In the evening a ladle of rice and ladle of stew with well- concealed meat.  
  It was Gypsy's habit to ask the cook each morning what was on the menu that day.  The cook usually replied: "Cat and dog stew."  We thought he was joking until one morning he answered with only one word: "Brownie." Brownie was a large shepherd dog, the favorite of all the prisoners, who belonged to Professor Curran of the local college.  
  The tone of the cook's voice when he told us Brownie was in the stew took away our appetites. Gypsy never again asked the cook about the menu of the day.  We preferred to eat without knowing too much about the food.  
  I was saying Mass one Sunday morning when Lt. Kodi, the camp Commandant, was standing in the back of the chapel at the end of Mass. Later that morning I received a note ordering me to report to his office. A trip to his office usually met trouble for an internee. I tried to appear calm as the armed sentry escorted me into Kodi's office.  
  The Commandant also seemed ill at ease.  Through his interpreter he asked me some general questions.  How did I like camp life?  Was there enough to eat? When would America surrender?  Then he sat very erect in his chair, threw out his chest in a military manner and I knew the purpose of my visit would be explained.  His next question caught me off guard and I had to ask the interpreter to repeat it.  
  "Do you have enough Mass supplies?"  
  I replied that we priests were using only a eye dropper-full for each Mass and the supply was very short. He made no reply and after two other pointless questions our meeting was over.  
  I tried to figure out why he had called me to his office. Maybe he was going to seize our supply of wine. But he had not appeared angry or harsh. I would have to wait for his next move.     
  I did not have to wait long. Three days later a guard delivered six bottles of Mass wine. An attached note said the wine came from a Spanish monastery in Manila.  I made a mental apology to the Commandant and remembered him in my next Mass. I never saw him again as he was shortly transferred afterwards in keeping with the Japanese practice of often rotating guards and officers.  
  (Ed. note:) Father McCarthy passed away on July 21, 1997 at St. Theresa's Residence in Ossining, NY  
  Courtesy of “VOICE OF THE ANGELS” Quarterly publication of the 11th PIR Association