It was Dewey’s letter. Reading it, Horne felt himself blush.
He surmised that the letter must have been forwarded to him in the hospital following his knee injury, then back to his dorm, and then to his parents’ house, where it stayed for more than 50 years.
After calling Dewey and writing him a letter of explanation, Horne also sent a large “Navy 1968” blanket in place of the parka that never showed up. (Horne graduated in 1968.) His wife, Pam, cross-stitched a note to the blanket that said, “For A Great Win,” and included the date and score of Army’s victory.
Horne included an apology. “Honestly, ‘most’ Midshipmen are much more trustworthy,” he wrote.
Dewey appreciated the gesture — all of it.
“He could’ve just opened that letter I sent to him in 1965, laughed and threw it away,” Dewey said. “But there is honor, and we were trained to be gentlemen, so it makes sense that he didn’t.”
Now, all these years later, a friendship is emerging. Betting by the two academies on the Army-Navy game is less formal than it used to be, but that hasn’t deterred Dewey and Horne.
The two, who are both 72, have placed a new bet with each other, waging a steak dinner on this Saturday’s Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Dewey will watch in Santa Barbara with classmates from West Point. Horne, who has a granddaughter at West Point, will watch the game in Florida, where he hopes to be joined by some old buddies from the Naval Academy.
Dewey is so confident he will win that he joked with Horne, saying, “I won’t have to wait 54 years for the dinner, will I? Why don’t you just put your check in the mail now, so at least it gets here on time.”
That “lousy swabbie,” who turned out not lousy after all, laughed and came back with his own joke.
“You know what cadets and midshipmen have in common?” Horne said. “Navy was the first choice for both of them.”