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Foxy advice on gambling serves well

By W. T. Block

Reprinted from the Beaumont Enterprise, Saturday January 23, 1999.

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NEDERLAND -- I remember the first time I ever met Sergeant Renaud, whom everyone else called "Foxy." We met early in 1943, after I had been assigned to teach radio at Camp Wallace, near Galveston, and Foxy and I began sharing a cadre room together.

I only saw Foxy during the day because he taught in a school next door to mine. Being a closed-mouth person, Foxy never said much about himself, except that he was from Hollywood. I learned from others, though, that Foxy’s wife, who was rumored to be a very beautiful movie starlet, roomed at the Hotel Jean Lafitte.

And Foxy disappeared every afternoon after retreat, so I and others assumed he spent his nights and weekends at the hotel with his wife.

Being a farm boy myself, I had carefully avoided the dice games at first after I joined the army. One day at lunch, Foxy was standing beside me, when another sergeant put the dice in my hand and hollered, "Block shoots a dollar!"

Other people had to tell me what to do because I didn’t know the difference between "box cars" and "snake eyes." Later another player told me I had made eight straight "passes," and I watched as the sergeant grabbed up a big handful of bills and left.

In December, 1943, Foxy and I spent our last afternoon in our cadre room together, waiting on the two troop trains that would carry us to other assignments.

"Block, I see you’re growing rather fond of the dice," Foxy began. "I wouldn’t ordinarily show you this, but I figure we’ll never see each other again after today, since you’re going to the 78th Division and I’m going to the 106th Division."

"I know you think I leave camp every day at retreat," Foxy added, "but I shoot craps in the other battalions because I won’t gamble with my friends. And it costs a lot of money to keep a wife living at the Hotel Jean Lafitte."

Foxy then pulled out a pair of dice and began throwing them on a mattress. He asked me what point he should shoot, and I answered "box cars." So Foxy threw two "sixes" for me, then "snake eyes;" and then he threw a dozen "sevens" and "elevens," before scaling the dice from "snake eyes" and back.

"You see, Block," Foxy continued, "you’re just not in my league - nor in the same league with dozens of other professional gamblers I meet. If I were you, I’d stick to poker because you’re chances are a lot better, or better yet, just quit gambling entirely. That way you won’t lose an entire month’s pay before you know it."

And Foxy was so right, because his demonstration became thoroughly etched in a niche of my cranium. Nor will I ever forget the soldier who taught me that lesson.

Later my division arrived in Heerlen, Holland on December 1, 1944, and Foxy’s 106th Division arrived at Malmedy, Belgium about two weeks later. After the war I learned from a friend in Beaumont that Foxy was killed when the German Army overran his position during the Battle of the Bulge.

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W. T. Block of Nederland is a historian and author. His website is This database is very large (150 articles) and is intended as an area history source for students.

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Copyright 1998-2024 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, the material published on this site is copyrighted by William T. Block.
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