Friday, July 29, 2011

A Shameless Literary Faux Pas

 Chanute AFB, Rantoul, IL Circa 1963

On the day of my departure from Lackland I had a chance to reflect a little on the past 5 weeks.  I'd arrived apprehensive and unsure, but I was leaving with a sense of confidence, and assurance.  Whatever tech school had in store would be no problem at all. I'd learned to handle time constraints and pressure.  If you don't believe trying to think coherently with a T.I. yelling in your ear isn't pressure, try it sometime.

Of course that was the idea all along, to train AF personnel to ignore distractions and focus on the job at hand.  When you're within 6 inches of a screaming J-52 P3 engine running at max continuous trying to set a fuel control with a tiny Allen wrench, those skills come in handy believe me!

I boarded the plane... a REAL one this time, a 707... and settled in for the 2 hour flight to Champaign, IL.  As the plane began to climb I shut the shade, eventually fell asleep and dreamed.  It was summer and I was back at the chicken coop on Clark Rd in Lapeer.  My dad had just put up a new clothes line.  It was made of aluminum wire instead of rope so it lasted longer, and was easier to work with.  We found it worked pretty well as a dog run for Elmer too. We'd just hook his harness up to the wire and he could run a bit, but not get away.  We'd hear a...


ROW, ROW, ROW”... TWANG... PLOP he hit the end of the line.

Later my mom figured out another use for the clothes line/dog run.   She had a canvas kid harness that she used for my brother.  It worked just like the dog harness, it had a strap on it so the little twerp couldn't get away.  One day she got the bright idea of hooking Mark up to the clothes line too, that way she didn't have to keep an eye on him all the time.  So then we'd hear...



Delicious stuff!

Then I dreamed that I heard the train whistle in the distance.  We lived about ¼ mile from the track.  My mom knew all the train schedules, and therefore could carefully calculate when to hang out the laundry.  They still had some steam locomotives in those days, and one of those could toss soot and cinders a good ¼ mile, no sweat.  Now I've already mentioned how demure and petite my mom was compared to the rest of the loonies in the family.  That was her normal demeanor, until one of those damned trains came along off schedule and she was in the middle of hanging laundry.

One thing you should know about my demure and petite mom... she could cuss like a sailor!  I remember hearing the train whistle, then hearing her as she hightailed it out the door to gather the laundry off the line:

YOU G%$#%MNED NO GOOD #$%-0F-A-^#@!! OHHHHHHHH YOU ROTTEN, @###@@!*** BAST$$###@@@@!!!!!! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THOSE #***&^%$$$##@#$#$$ PEOPLE ANYWAY!!!????

If she could have run fast enough I'll bet she would have grabbed that train by the caboose, threw it on the ground and stomped it like a bug.

Then, suddenly I felt a jolt as the plane hit the runway. I'd arrived at Champaign/Urbana, and a bus was waiting to take me to Chanute, AFB for tech school.

You probably guessed by now, the whole thing about dreaming on the plane was completely made up.   I just had a couple more chicken coop stories I'd forgotten to include earlier, and wanted to get them in.   I really have no idea what I dreamed about.  It's called “creative license” or something like that.

I do that kind of thing a lot, I'm shameless that way.

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