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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Weekend With George

I got a call last week from my friend George's daughter Janet. He and I were great diving buddies back in my salad days of the 70's when I was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was his 70th birthday and she wanted to know if I could come down to Fayetteville, NC to help celebrate. We had kind of lost track of each other for about 25 years, only reconnecting a couple years ago. So naturally I went.

Janet cooked up a BS story to get him to the airport and we completely surprised him. It was one of those airport scenes I see all the time and never get to participate in.

So George was once a Marine and like ex-Marines everywhere he never completely let it go. (Not like any paratroopers I could mention.) Thus the decoration on his cake.

While we were there George took me down to the infamous Hay Street. Back in my day the 500 block of Hay Street was a rough neighborhood. One bar, The Town Pump, had stood there since World war II. It was immortalized in the book "The Devils With Baggy Pants" about the famous 504th Airborne Infantry battalion of the 82d Airborne Division.

Now everything is gone. Urban renewal. In the place of the Town Pump stand a medical center.

BUT, across the street stand the new Airborne and Special Operations museum to which we paid a visit.

It was very cool with displays of the history of the paratroop operations.

On the walkway leading to the entrance were these blocks commemorating various folks who had served in the airborne.

Of all the blocks there was actually one of a man I once knew. General Lewis was my Division Artillery commander when I was in the 82d. It was a surprise to know he had passed away. I guess I always see the guys from back then as forever young.

Up in the rafters was an old WW II era C-47 troop transport aircraft.

This guy was "standing in the door!" A position I took 47 times in my career.

Of all the displays, from before WWII, up through Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq, the display covering my service in the 82d Airborne was the shortest. It basically covered Soviets, but we never did. Does anyone even remember the Soviets?

So anyway, here is George's sweetheart of a daughter Janet:

All in all, it was a wonderful time. Those guys treat me like family.

1 comment:

curiousjudy said...

Mike--I was one of your wife's students over a decade ago. I found your blog by googling her name. I am so sorry for your loss and the worlds's. She used to talk about you, and the more I read your blogs, the more vivid the memory of her personality and what I had forgotten I enjoyed and respected about her becomes. There is something of her spirit that shows in your joy of life and the way you seize it and savor it. And I remember how proud she always was when she talked about your son. Thanks for reminding me of some quality truths I almost lost.