When I began writing what eventually became my two volumes of “Tales of Ramasun” I didn’t think of it as being a way to rediscover old friends and find new ones. You might say that that has been a ‘fringe benefit’ of my writing, but I’d say that it’s the most important benefit, and all the more welcome as it was unexpected. I recently ‘found’ a good friend and his Thai wife both of whom had been my neighbors in the Village of Non Sung. We had been in touch for a few years after we came back from Thailand but each had moved several times and we had lost contact more than 20 years ago. He stumbled onto “Tales of Ramasun” on Amazon and thought that the bearded author M H Burton looked something like the Jim Stanton he worked with in the Laotian Translation Section at Ramasun Station. He found my website www.mhburtonbooks,com and left me a message there. I called him as soon as I found his message and an old 4-way (we both have Thai wives) friendship was renewed…which also reminded me of yet another, so far unwritten ‘Tale of Ramasun’. There were three of us couples in Non Sung at the time (1969-71) and all three of the GI halves of those couples were named Jim. This led our Thai neighbors to think that all GI’s, and by extension all Farangs, were named Jim. To avoid confusion they christened us Jim Noi “Little Jim”, Jim Khi Mau “Jim the Drunk”, and Jim Saang “Elephant Jim”. My reunited friend was Jim Noi, I was Jim Saang….I prefer Jim Xaang, the Frenchified version as in Laan Xaang, the old name for Laos Then I can be Jim X. Talking to Jim Noi and his wife Samli reminded me of still more stories. Through him I found two more old mutual friends from Ramasun, both his fellow Texans, who I had never been in contact with….still more reminiscing….and more stories. And if that wasn’t enough my writing has brought me into touch with a half dozen Ramasunians who were there either just before I was, or just after I was, or at the same time I was but working at different jobs so we didn’t cross paths…and they had more stories of their own.
I didn’t think that I would write any more “Tales of Ramasun”, that I would keep working on my Zach Roper and the Thai Princess detective series, which has been a lot of fun to write, or my children’s books (for older more cynical children) like “The Bangkok Cat”, but it looks like I will have to return once more to Ramasun. My wife and I have to be back in Thailand in December for the wedding of one of our granddaughters, and to meet Jim Noi and Samli who will be wintering there. After all the festivities and reunions are done I plan to hang around for a few months in my wife’s village and write down some more ‘tales’, I already have titles for seven of them. Jim Stanton aka Jim X aka M H Burton Many thanks to all for reading my stuff.