In My Time Zone…

It remains Thursday.

Some bug in my head reminded me as September rapidly  approaches…

An anniversary 

As we celebrate freedom…

Well, Here is a video preamble:

And I aim to keep my promise.

(This one is personal, and no need to read. Just a thing I do as September crowds me, and bad dreams haunt me)

***

Here:

In 1971 when my step-sister Madelyn and I were fourteen and thirteen respectively, my parents would often go out of town on the weekends. My father and stepmother seemed to always have some magic convention or gathering to attend in Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, or any number of other venues. My father knew all the local high school kids from his directing of the senior plays every year. Two of the former graduates, Ronnie and Doug, then about twenty years old, remained very good friends of my father and particularly Ronnie, (who was Peanut’s Uncle). My father decided that Madelyn and I needed a ‘baby-sitter’ while he and Gloria were off on their long weekends, so they paid Doug and Ronnie to look after us.

Now mind you, Madelyn and I were both pretty certain we were over-mature for our age and could easily fend for ourselves, but we loved having two “big brothers” to help us throw the greatest parties in the history of Honey Grove while under their tutelage. We used Marcom Manor as our venue of course and were always in a rush to get the house back into some semblance of order before the folks returned, usually on a Sunday, but occasionally on a Monday or Tuesday.

During Labor Day Weekend of 1971 my parents were off to a big convention in Houston and we had a great party planned for Sunday the Fifth of September. We were to have ‘The Mother of All Parties’ out at Lake Coffeemill, north of Honey Grove. (The party was going to serve double duty for me, as my fourteenth birthday was just five days away.)  Right up until the night before, I had no date lined up for this all-day Blow-Out, and I was in a panic.

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Throw-Back: “The Cowards Never Started and the Weak Died Along the Way”

And Yet One More Post From the email Archives:

***

Please tell me all about your therapy session today once it is done. I know a little about back trouble as I went through some during my Navy SEAL training. I know there is nothing worse than that for pain. There were several days during that training whereby I thought it would be better to be dead than run/swim yet another step. Somehow we always managed just one more step. “The only easy day was yesterday” was our mantra and that had been passed down over the years to all BUD/s classes.

There was one guy in my first class (Class 140) who actually broke his femur during a fun little evolution called “Rock Portage.” For two days he remained in training after that. His roommates would walk him about every morning until his leg got numb. Obviously he couldn’t keep up on any of the evolutions and the SEAL instructors kicked him out. No one knew his leg was broken. Once he was drummed out and had gone to Balboa Naval Hospital they told him he had a broken femur. Imagine his surprise!

Rock-portage1

Rock Portage

Hahahah!  A footnote: Seems his father was a retired SEAL. Well when daddy found out how his son had been kicked out of training for having a broken leg, yet still “putting out” to use the vernacular, he was, shall we say, livid. Needless to say, the kid in question was apologized to (ad nauseam) and invited to return once healed so that he would have an opportunity to break the other leg. I talked to him about this and he told me he’d had enough, but then I ran into him a few weeks later and he told me he would be coming back. It takes a special kind of idiot to go through that. I know, as I was just such an idiot. Twice. I suppose that’s why they call it “Special Forces.”

We had a guy in my second BUD/s class (158) whose name was Lundtmark. One day while we were running the obstacle course he got to the very top of the cargo net (roughly 60 feet above the beach) and fell off.

cargo net1

Whoosh!

Bam!

Boom!

Cloud of dust!

He survived, but from that day forward Lundtmark was reborn and known as “Sand-Dart.”

Some of the funniest moments I recall were during “Drown Proofing.” Drown-proofing is quite simple: one’s ankles are tied up and one’s wrists tied together behind one’s back. Then the “wog” (Short for pollywog, a neophyte, wanna-be SEAL) must simply swim 100 meters in 12 foot deep water. Once that is accomplished, the wog must do some acrobatic maneuvers underwater while still tied up and then somehow get to the bottom and pick up a scuba mask with his teeth and bring it to the edge of the pool where the instructors await to pull him out and beach him. All great fun.

I never had any apprehension with this evolution since I am very relaxed in water. Others had slightly more trouble. One idiot after being cast into the water did nothing but bob up and down screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Save me!” As he would get close to the edge of the pool the instructors would push him back toward the middle using long poles while yelling, “You idiot! If you were drowning, you wouldn’t be able to say you’re drowning!” It was all great fun, but I suspect you’d have had to actually been there at that precise moment to fully appreciate it.

drownproofing

Drownproofing

Another idiot didn’t even make it into the water. His name was “Feather.” (His name really was Feather and he was a body-builder which made him a target of opportunity for the instructors’ “special attention.”) Well, seems Feather had second thoughts about BUD/s and his desire to “Kill some Commie Bastards” when it came time for drown-proofing. As soon as we were told to start getting tied up, Feather bolted. He actually ran away! Just like a little bitch. Never saw him again.

He’s probably still running…

That-Time-I-Died-But-It-Didn’t-Take

I was five years old and it happened on a summer day in 1962.  A play date had been arranged by our mothers and I was to go swimming with my friend, Susan, who had recently moved from our Lubbock neighborhood of rented duplex apartments, to a new suburb of ranch houses some distance away.  Our parents had been a-couple-of-night-Saturday-nights-a-month-card-playing friends, who would also pack up all of us kids for supper at Underwood’s Barbecue cafeteria, a kid-friendly place where a glass of spilled milk was no big deal.

Susan and I rode our tricycles on the sidewalk up and down the block on our side of West Thirty-fifth Street.  We’d lie on the grass licking our Popsicles after chasing down the ice-cream truck.  Blonde and brunette, side-by-side, we’d sit on the front steps ‘smoking’ candy cigarettes. We celebrated birthdays at parties in our shared backyard, or at a local kiddy amusement park out on the Levelland highway.

To a small child, who had never been away from the windy, brown backdrop of late fifties-early sixties west Texas, “The Tiny Texan Kiddy Land” was an enchanting place; tickets were purchased at the ‘giant boot,’ a water fountain was inside the mouth of a ‘ferocious lion,’ and birthday parties were held rain-or-shine, inside a special party shed.  There were amazing child-sized rides:  cars that could be ‘driven’ around a track, motor boats attached to a central arm that circled around in a tank of water, helicopters that would “fly” when a handle was pushed up, and a smoke-spewing locomotive that pulled small boxcars around a looped track.  Archival home movies show my younger siblings, Charley and Janet, with Susan and me, holding on for dear life inside the tiny trolley making it’s choppy circuit around a metal track, death-gripping the pole of pastel-colored carousel horses, and shielding our eyes from the flash bar of the camera as Daddy documented our cake-and-ice cream smeared faces for posterity.

Susan’s Uncle Roger was staying at the “Caravan Motor-Lodge,” and she and I had been invited to swim there as his guests.  To me this was a big deal, and for the occasion, my mother decided that I should have a proper swimsuit because my white-eyelet panties, my usual running-under-the-lawn-sprinkler attire, simply would not do for a public place.  On the appointed day, I crawled into the back seat of their blue Chevy, and Susan climbed over the front seat to sit next to me.  We were wearing identical black swimsuits.  With this good omen, how could the day be anything but marvelous?

Continue reading

“The Cowards Never Started and the Weak Died Along the Way”

And Yet One More Post From the email Archives:

************

Please tell me all about your therapy session today once it is done. I know a little about back trouble as I went through some during my Navy SEAL training. I know there is nothing worse than that for pain. There were several days during that training whereby I thought it would be better to be dead than run/swim yet another step. Somehow we always managed just one more step. “The only easy day was yesterday” was our mantra and that had been passed down over the years to all BUD/s classes.

There was one guy in my first class (Class 140) who actually broke his femur during a fun little evolution called “Rock Portage.” For two days he remained in training after that. His roommates would walk him about every morning until his leg got numb. Obviously he couldn’t keep up on any of the evolutions and the SEAL instructors kicked him out. No one knew his leg was broken. Once he was drummed out and had gone to Balboa Naval Hospital they told him he had a broken femur. Imagine his surprise!

Rock-portage1

Rock Portage

Hahahah!  A footnote: Seems his father was a retired SEAL. Well when daddy found out how his son had been kicked out of training for having a broken leg, yet still “putting out” to use the vernacular, he was, shall we say, livid. Needless to say, the kid in question was apologized to (ad nauseam) and invited to return once healed so that he would have an opportunity to break the other leg. I talked to him about this and he told me he’d had enough, but then I ran into him a few weeks later and he told me he would be coming back. It takes a special kind of idiot to go through that. I know, as I was just such an idiot. Twice. I suppose that’s why they call it “Special Forces.”

We had a guy in my second BUD/s class (158) whose name was Lundtmark. One day while we were running the obstacle course he got to the very top of the cargo net (roughly 60 feet above the beach) and fell off.

cargo net1

Whoosh!

Bam!

Boom!

He survived, but from that day forward Lundtmark was reborn and known as “Sand-Dart.”

Some of the funniest moments I recall were during “Drown Proofing.” Drown-proofing is quite simple: one’s ankles are tied up and one’s wrists tied together behind one’s back. Then the “wog” (Short for pollywog, a neophyte, wanna-be SEAL) must simply swim 100 meters in 12 foot deep water. Once that is accomplished, the wog must do some acrobatic maneuvers underwater while still tied up and then somehow get to the bottom and pick up a scuba mask with his teeth and bring it to the edge of the pool where the instructors await to pull him out and beach him. All great fun.

I never had any apprehension with this evolution since I am very relaxed in water. Others had slightly more trouble. One idiot after being cast into the water did nothing but bob up and down screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Save me!” As he would get close to the edge of the pool the instructors would push him back toward the middle using long poles while yelling, “You idiot! If you were drowning, you wouldn’t be able to say you’re drowning!” It was all great fun, but I suspect you’d have had to actually been there at that precise moment to fully appreciate it.

drownproofing

Drownproofing

Another idiot didn’t even make it into the water. His name was “Feather.” (His name really was Feather and he was a body-builder which made him a target of opportunity for the instructors’ “special attention.”) Well, seems Feather had second thoughts about BUD/s and his desire to “Kill some Commie Bastards” when it came time for drown-proofing. As soon as we were told to start getting tied up, Feather bolted. He actually ran away! Just like a little bitch. Never saw him again.

He’s probably still running…

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”–W. Shakespeare

In 1971 when my step-sister Madelyn and I were fourteen and thirteen respectively, my parents would often go out of town on the weekends. My father and stepmother seemed to always have some magic convention or gathering to attend in Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, or any number of other venues. My father knew all the local high school kids from his directing of the senior plays every year. Two of the former graduates, Ronnie and Doug, then about twenty years old, remained very good friends of my father and particularly Ronnie, (who was Peanut’s Uncle). My father decided that Madelyn and I needed a ‘baby-sitter’ while he and Gloria were off on their long weekends, so they paid Doug and Ronnie to look after us.

Now mind you, Madelyn and I were both pretty certain we were over-mature for our age and could easily fend for ourselves, but we loved having two “big brothers” to help us throw the greatest parties in the history of Honey Grove while under their tutelage. We used Marcom Manor as our venue of course and were always in a rush to get the house back into some semblance of order before the folks returned, usually on a Sunday, but occasionally on a Monday or Tuesday.

During Labor Day Weekend of 1971 my parents were off to a big convention in Houston and we had a great party planned for Sunday the Fifth of September. We were to have ‘The Mother of All Parties’ out at Lake Coffeemill, north of Honey Grove. (The party was going to serve double duty for me, as my fourteenth birthday was just five days away.)  Right up until the night before, I had no date lined up for this all-day Blow-Out, and I was in a panic.

Continue reading