I've been busier than a fat man, chugging down a jelly doughnut at a local sip and dip!
Working at Home Depot is keeping me busier than chasing grasshoppers for a fishin' trip!
For all intents and purposes, my coveted weekends are gone. Usually rising at 5:00AM, its been a challenge, if not a pain in the arse to go to work at 10:00AM, 11:30AM or 12:30...This throws my whole work schedule out of wack, not to mention, I hate going to work late in the day!
Other than that, several things...
So far this year, it's been a slew of relatives and mom and dad's old friends. As Herb knows and some of the others,-when parents reach a certain age, or like us, you are reaching that 60 time slot, you begin to wonder about your own mortality.
Before pop passed on last year, he and mom, took several last trips to visit old friends and relatives they had not seen for years. Dad even acknowledged it was probably their last long trip. (Little did he know then, or perhaps he did, that he had cancer).
This year, it's been reverse visitation. Relatives we have not seen in years and even old friends of mom and dad's, have been making a pilgrimage to see my mother. Of course, being the only son of my folks, I have to attend these little visits...Of the relative kind, I don't mind. But for old friends of mom and dad's, I usually have little recollection.
"Oh...", Mom would say. "You remember Bob and Dorinda...)Well...no...actually I was only five years old. I have no memory or very little...So we play the game. Act like I know them very well, recollect all the places they mention, although I have no clue, and recall other friends of theirs that I don't know, or never heard of etc.
I guess it goes with any family that loses a father....but I don't know for sure. What I am finding out is that like most son's I resemble my dad in a great many ways. It's sort of like a Comdiean doing an imitation of someone else. I now find myself, playing that role.
But in the end, I don't mind. If it makes mom, happy, I'm happy. If my fathers resemblance brings some sort of good memory or recollection back to some old timer, than I oblige them. All in all, it's been a good experiance. Even if at times, I find myself nodding yes to some unknown question, they think I know, it seems to bring pleasure to someone. In those instances, I hope my dad looks down upon me with pleasing eyes. ;)
Our almost two year old granddaughter, is starting to jabber like and old man looking for help in a Home Depot aisle...;)
Word: I want
Word: Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa! in short bursts
Word: Maaaaa! Maaaa!
"I don't think he see's us!-Conclusion
The tiny plane we were in was struggling with all its might to climb up into the wild blue yonder. In a normal take-off, as I later learned, they usually climbed to several thousand feet, then circled the airport once or twice to their cruising altitude. Unbeknowest to me at the time, we could very easily have stalled the plane, while taking drastic evasive action to miss the incoming aircraft.
"TOWER!," Bob hollered with all his might. "Did you guys get that @#$% on the radio yet!"
After more delay the tower radioed back that they could not make contact with the incoming plane. "We don't think he is equipped with a radio set." Came back the reply.
Infuritated to the max, Uncle Bob, let go a tirade towards the Tower to get a blankety blank, $#$# out to the airfield with signal flags and wave off the incoming airplane.
In the meantime, dad informed us that the incoming aircraft was still coming right at us. I listened intently as Bob and dad discussed a potential evasive manuver.
"I don't have enough air speed to go over the top of him and could stall out," Bob replied. "If I dive under him, we could go into the ground." Needless to say, a young boys ears burned with the dire news.
About this time, the tower radioed back and said a signal guy was on his way to the runway, but didn't know if they had time to wave off the offending aircraft.
I can't repeat what my uncles response was.
The other plane grew closer by the second. Dad-an ex-Navigator during WWII, informed Bob that he sensed the other guy was descending thereby having not seen us yet. Bob agreed.
"Well...I'm with you Jack. If he hasn't seen us yet, the best bet is to try to go over him. But if he sees us at the last minute and pulls up, we are toast. Dad concurred.
The tiny plane shuddered as we nosed up into the sky. A moment later, dad peering out the window, informed Bob that the other plane had made his landing approach. "That SOB, never even saw us!" He excalimed. Thinking the event was over, I loosened my hold to the back seat, white knuckles and all. Suddenly the tiny plane shuddered and a loud beeping noise started.
"STALL!" Bob Shouted. He immediately banked the plane to the right and we dove for the ground. Gaining enough airspeed to continue, Bob circled the airport while giving the Tower what for, and wanting the name and serial number of the plane that had almost killed us all.
Bob was so PO'd about the whole sceneriro that it cut my first airplne adventure short. Although we circled the valley, while dad pointed out landmarks, Bob was anxious to return and let loose his temper, which he did.
I never heard what happened to the tower guys or the other pilot...but I would not have wanted to be in their shoes with my 6"-4" uncle in their faces!
All in all, I have to say it was quite a first flight for a very young boy. In the years that followed, I had many such adventures in light airplanes, some with my uncle and more with my dad.
Even though this first flight was a birthday gift, to me it was a first Father and Son moment and my first real Fathers Day Remembrance....and one I shall never forget, lol!
Fathers Day-Part 1 of 2
He wasn't around much when I was a young boy, as he was always working very long hours in the construction trades. A foreman at the time, I recall several occassions when he took our family out to eat, only to be called back to work. He did try and make up for it though, when we moved from my moms home state of Californa, back to dad's native Idaho.
I don't recall the exact age, when all this started to happen. I am thinking it was my 14th birthday, but it could have been my 16th. My uncle, an ex-Navy man, at the time, was a fledgling backcountry pilot.
My dad drove us to the old Bradley airfield, which is now a strip mall. There, uncle Bob had a small Piper Cub airplane that he shared with several other men. It was some kind of a partnership thing, wherein each man had a small investment. They had to reserve the plane for excursions, and somehow this day, it was Uncle Bob's turn to fly.
Unbeknowest to me, dad had arranged for us to fly around the Boise Valley with Uncle Bob for my birthday. We ate an early breakfast at the airfield cafe, then walked out to the plane. It was my first experiance in flight and my first in an airplane. Bob climbed behind the pilots seat, dad the co-pilot and me in the back. The plane was small and cramped, but I didn't care. It was going to be fun!
Uncle Bob taxied the small plane out to the main runway, intermittingly calling to the tower for permission to taxi and to turn. At the end of the runway, Bob did his pre-flight, radioed the tower for permission to take-off, then shoved the throttle to full.
The tiny plane shuddered with the power to the engine, so much so, that I thought the wings would fall off. Releasing the brakes, the tiny plane scooted quickly down the runway. In what seemed like seconds, our tiny plane cleared the runway and we were airborne. I strained to see the buildings as they streaked by, and was amazed at how fast we were going.
Bob pulled the stick back and we climbed pretty steeply into the wild blue yonder. My stomach was in knots, but I was enjoying the ride. (Wow! I thought, this is really cool!)
We were still climbing near the end of the runway, when dad pointed to an object just ahead and above us. "I think there is a plane coming our way," He informed my uncle. Bob strained to see in the bright blue sky, with dad pointing directions. "He's straight ahead of us , about 12 O'clock...see him?"
"C3456, (Not the real call sign but it will do!) to Tower. We got a bogey at our 12 O'clock, head on.... you guys got him on radar?"
The tower took some time to respond, which just made my uncle madder by the second.
"Tower! You guys see this plane on radar or not!"
Seconds seemed like minutes, then they responded.
"C3456, we show a small aircraft on approach....."
Without waiting Bob began to give directions to the tower.
"Tower...Radio this idiot and tell him we are taking off on the same runway he his attempting to land on!"
Again, the tower took their time in responding, which did not sit well with either my dad or my uncle. While dad kept his eye on the offending plane, Bob, kept his eye on airspeed and rate of climb.
Part 2-"I don't think he see's us!"
End of the Line
The end is near...or least it was two weeks ago. The bus job, ran out when the school season ended, but not to worry. I signed up for summer school bus driving and was pursuing a fire bus driver job, thru the summer which sounded like fun.
But all this came to a head last week, when my arch nemisis Home Depot, called to offer me a job. Some two years and 10 interviews later, I finally made it! (The wifey wanted me to give up on applying about 5 interviews ago...but hey....I am a glutton for persistence, lol!
Anyway, the real jist of this entry was the last day of school. Several of the kiddies handed me candybars, some offered up thankyou cards from their parents, and I was lucky to share a few hugs and even some tears with a few of the older kids.
It's hard to put into words, how much one grows to care and love these little rascals, even the onry ones, lol! But since the passing of my dad last year, I have grown to appreciate the little things and enjoy life a little bit more, each and every day.
I doubt I will back to see my old gang of kids on another bus, and will surely miss, each and every one. Some of the drivers have been doing this for a very long time, and have seen kids grow from elementary up to high school. Unfortuneatly or fortuenatly for me, it will probably be the last time, I do that.
So it was with sad heart, to see off for the last time, the Good, the Bad and the.....less fortunate. To each and every one, ol' Pops will miss ya! ;)
Light Hearted Fun
Yesterday, our daughter-in-law, took the kiddies to the park. Upon her return, she plopped down beside me in the living room and we watched TV. Something on the tube got her to laughing hysterically.
"What the heck is so funny?" I asked.
"Sorry Pop's but that commercial of kids at a park, just reminded me of something that happened today."
"I took the kids to the park and let them play on the slides and bridges. Only us and one other couple were present. Cody wanted to play on the monkey bars, but we had to wait, while the mother of the other child helped him along. When the other child was asked if he wanted to go again this was his reply;
"Mom, my ribs are sore, my feet hurt and my arms are stretched out."
To that response, his dad replied; "But son, I just know you can make it one more time...
To which the kid responded;
"...but just until my balls start to ache dad, then I'm done!"
Silver Surfer-Part 2 of 2
So anyway....this one kid, whose name I forget, but think was Kenny or something like that, was a cartoon nut. He had all the comics, knew all the story lines etc. I wasn't much of a comic book guy, even in my younger days.
At anyrate, one night Kenny comes into the barracks after work, promptly sets up our poker table-(The one with the wobbly legs, lol), sets up the beer, and rounds us up for our nightly game.
After a few beers, (OK! OK!...many, many, many beers later), ol' Kenny suggests that he no longer wants to be called Denny but the Silver Surfer, and we complied. Other than traveling at the speed of light on his supercharged surfboard was his immortality, and superhuman strength and stamina, among other cosmic capabilities.
After assuming his new silver identity, he quickly went around the poker table and gave us all nicknames. One was named Superman for his muscular build and dashing good looks, one was Mr. Fantastic for his smarts and ability to use either his right or left hand equally well, The Human Torch was the kid who chain smoked. He also received the name because he could take a lit cigerette in his mouth, pretend to swallow it, then stick it out again, still lit! (Quite a trick!).
For me, I inherited two nicknames...First the Thing...which I was not enourmed of...But he did have three of my qualities...a sense of humor, blue eyes and a temper to boot, lol! (He also was very durable and had superhuman strength...(Looks and size, along with rock like skin were way off though....)
Later on, I also inherited the nickname of the Incredible Hulk...Not that I was muscular or built like our superhero, but I was tall...almost 6'-5" and towered over everyone else! Some traits in common; Resistance to mind control;...I was a loner, a non-conformist...and spoke my mind...I didn't like to be told what to do, lol! (Not good if one is in the service of his country, lol)! Regenerative healing factor; I was deathly sick on several occassions, but made miraculous recoveries.
So there you have it friends...Your mild mannered old man Pops, is really the Thing and the Hulk all mixed into one...Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!
Silver Surfer-Part 1 of 2
Something should have clicked in my minds eye with all these cartoon movies. Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. But hearing the news of the upcoming Silver Surfer movie, finally sent me back in time.
It was 1968 or 69. Thirty of us has just put in for a transfer from our airbase at RAF Lakenheath to a new assignment. Although we didn't have a clue what we had volunteered for, we thought, any place was better than where we were at. It's a long colorful story, but for another time.
Suffice it to say, that we eventually ended up at an old deserted bomber base, out in the countryside of England, which was OK with us. (Grin). But for three months, while waiting for the British to remodel a barracks on our new digs, we were put up at an RAF base. It was a Top Secret RAF base, which I can now reveal was testing the new Harrier Jump Jets.
So anyway, 30 of us, all Air Policeman ended up at our temporay digs on this RAF airfield. We stayed in an old two story brick barracks building, complete with steam heat, a trough to pee in and even and old clawfoot tub with hot water-a luxury for us at the time!
I along with my team were put on the second floor. Single metal bunks, with small upright wooden closets...a wooden table with wobbly legs and some rather old but nice, large comfortable wooden chairs...(This furniture, quickly became our poker table.
Part 2-Alter Ego's
So it was that FIGMO became part of our military language and part of our history. FIGMO's were as common as Rookies on KP!! As one FIGMO calender appeared on a doorway, so did a Rookie to replace him.
FIGMO calenders took on various forms. Some showed up just as a normal calender with the dates crossed out, and others were more elaborate. The first FIGMO calender I saw posted was of a giant Bugs Bunny. The character had been hashed out in small squares with numbers indicating the days of the month. The dates were marked off in colors and when completed the wabbit stood colored in all his glory. Not hard for a white wabbit, but this was an Air Force Wabbit, and he was blue!
After my first year in the AF, I along with 30 of my buddies volunteered for a duty change. It's a fascinationg story, but one for another time. At any rate, we showed up at a deserted Airbase way out the country...just my style....We loved it there!
FIGMO's at RAF Sculthorpe, turned from Cartoonish to art. I don't recall who started them, but he was an artist at heart. As any young boy of my era, Playboy was the "DIRTY," Mag of the times...To get your hands on one of these gems was a delight, especially for a young boy, in puberty, lol!
But before these came an Artsy Fartsy rendition such as this 1967 classic.
A huge part of Playboys history was it's Vargas pinups. Our AF artist, turned VARGAS creator started his own VARGAS collection. It wasn't long before various renditions of VARGAS's famous pinups began to show up as FIGMO calenders. To make them even more interesting he started to use an old childrens trick with crayons.
He would hide his rendition of a voluptous VARGAs girl, behind a a curtain of black crayola. Like previous posters, the pinup was divided into small squares. It didn't really matter where one started, as you knew where the interesting parts where. For instance, to keep it interesting, you would start with an eye, a toe, a hand and work your way to the more interesting points...;) You would of course think, that other guys would come by and spoil your FIGMO artwork by scratching off everything, but you would be wrong.
FIGMO was a unique tradition, and GOD forbid you became a Shortimter yourself and desired your own unique rendtion. No one had the Kahunas to mar someones else's calender. It just wasn't done!
PS: OH! And you think we took our FIGMO calenders with us when we left. Nope, Nada!...A FIGMO calender was left on your door when you left. It was another insult to the incoming "Rooks," that they had a long way to go before they "FGMOED," out stateside. It was also left as respect to the airman who had just left. "This was "Sarges," room and you better take care of it! or "Your never going to take "SARGES" place so don't even try!!"
FUGU or FIGMO-1 of 2
Anywho, I was about to go on a rant about the time I got Salmonella poisining from the local Circel K, or my wifes bout with food poisining last year that almost did her in. But suddenly a lightbulb went off over my noggin' It wasn't the word FUGU that I recalled as being an insult but rather the word FIGMO. (CAUTION--ONLY CLICK THIS LINK IF YOU ARE NOT OFFENDED BY F Bomb)...
Lost somewhere in military history, FIGMO raised it's head, after I had been in the Air Force for only a few months. For those of us "Ground Pounders," who had been in the service for 90 days or less, we were known as Rooks or Rookies..., & Rookie Officers as "90 Day Wonders." Of course there were a few more choice words that I can recount, but it would turn a Blonde into a Redhead!
The word FIGMO, actually referred to a person who we called "Short," Shortie," or Short Timer." Similar to a "Rookie," who had only been in the miltiary for 90 days or less...A Shortimer was one who only had 90 days or less left in service or at a duty station, before a transfer.
The reason FIGMO was an insult, is that the Shortimers rubbed our faces in it..."Only 60 days to go, until I'm outa here,...Or only 30 days to go, or one week..." Well you get the point. To make matters worse, they posted FIGMO calenders on the doors to their barracks rooms with the days scratched off. Whether we were headed in or out of the barracks, one never failed to see these things posted, and were insulted that we had to bare our eyes to such things, knowing that someone was going home a lot sooner than the rest of us.
Part 2-The FIGMO Calender