FEBRUARY 3, 1942
PENSACOLA, Fla., Monday—Yesterday was a nice peaceful day on the train. We ate a very late breakfast, during which one or two visitors dropped in—first a gentleman who wished me to send the President his very best wishes, and then a soldier boy who was trying to console himself for a dull life. He had taken a detail of men from one place to another and thought a little chat with us might relieve the monotony. A little later on a gentleman came bursting in to tell us that there was a man on board who had a piece of shell from a torpedoed ship, and it was evident that being near a torpedo was no small experience.
We did much less work than usual, but got through the mail which I had not finished before leaving Washington. Then the hour arrived when we should have changed trains. We discovered that we were a whole hour late, due to a tree which had been found across the track. With this discovery, I realized that I would be late for my broadcast, unless I found a fast method of transfer later, so I wired ahead for a car and on arrival in Flomaton, Alabama, the stationmaster's son took us in tow and in less time than it takes to tell it, we were started for Pensacola. I shall always be grateful to that young man for taking most of last afternoon to drive me to Pensacola. He told me that from now on Uncle Sam is working him seven days a week, as he works on aviation parts. He was an extraordinarily good driver, drove carefully but fast and I walked into the broadcasting station four minutes before time to go on the air. There was a minute more delay in starting due to connections, so while I was reading they took a few more lines out of my script but we finished exactly on time.
I really do not enjoy quite such close connections, and I suppose that from now on, in view of the fact that there are many reasons why trains and planes should be delayed and mere civilians can be removed from either one if more important people wish to travel, I had better travel less and allow more time than in the past, or else have nothing very important to do at the end of any journey.
Today is a beautiful day, but cool for this part of the world, I imagine. After a fairly early breakfast we visited Santa Rosa Island, which guards the entrance to Pensacola. With submarines playing around in so many places now, both in the Gulf and in the Atlantic, fortifications along the coast, air and sea patrols all become of much more interest than ever before.