Monday, December 31, 2007


Let me begin by saying that "The Laugh & Times of Mushy" is a compilation of blog post from this Mushy's Moochings. The blog was started in early 2006 with the express intention of leaving some documentation of "who and what" I am/was to my children and grandchildren.

I was thrilled to find out that my memoirs were of interest to many of you, and especially to those I have listed in my "blogroll," which is really a list of all the new friends I made while engaged in this project.

With that said, I want everyone to know that you should feel no obligation to buy the new "self-published" book. After all, you have been privy to the posts as they happened! Therefore, please do not get the impression I am pushing this off on you.

I have ordered a "proof copy" in hard cover to review. If I am pleased with what I find, then I will go back into and make a paperback version available, which should be at least half the cost of a hardcover issue.

Unfortunately, the hardcover issue is available for $35.23 now, but, like I say, it has not been proofed, and a cheaper copy is forthcoming. That sounds like a lot, but think about it, where else can you get a final version copy of a single book one copy at a time? It cost money to provide that capability!

Inside, you will find 104,256 words, 290 pages, made up of over 118 chapters, many of which were posted here.

I will make a whooping $2.25 from the sale of each hard copy, which isn't much, but that is the nature of the game. The revenue from the paperbacks, will probably be half that! So, you can see that you would have to sell a "crap pot" full of them before making a fortune!

Incidentally, I have had "Cross+Hairs" out there for almost 2 years and I recently received $12.23 from Lulu, revenue from all the sales (most of which were mine) up to now! Man, what should I buy with that kind of cash?!

Anyway, I wanted you all to know that the choice is yours - I'll love you regardless!

Thanks for your faithful following here!

IF you so wish, please link to my "The Silverbacks" page. Although it is presently "adult humor" oriented, I will also post other items there from time-to-time, but I will no longer feel the pressure to post on a regular basis.


Sunday, December 23, 2007



I kept hearing someone call my name as I ran through the jungle, ducking behind trees and blinking my eyes to the flashes of the explosions. Mushy (not his real name)!”

I heard the sound of feet getting closer to me and the light flashing before me got brighter and brighter. For some reason I thought that if I answered the voice and opened my eyes, I would die. I fought to get away from the voice and the light, but the voices got louder. I know now that it was a Vietnam “flash back” dream that had coincidentally clashed with reality!

Finally, I opened my eyes and angrily shouted, “WHAT?!

It’s Don, he’s laying out here in the hall calling for you,” someone said.

What the fuck does he want,” I said rubbing my eyes and looking squinty-eyed up at the bare incandescent bulb swinging back and forth above me.

He’s hollering for you man!

I staggered to the door of our room and looked down the hall, and rubbed my eyes trying to adjust to the light again.

There in a rumpled heap lay my roommate Donald. He was obviously drunk, no more than drunk; he was totally smashed, and just short of hallucinations! He reeked of alcohol and vomit!

I stood over him and began to ridicule him for getting so stinking drunk, but he reached out and grabbed my leg, and tried to reach up higher. Finally, I bent down and put my hand around the back of his neck and pulled him up close to my ear. He was trying desperately to tell me something, but wanted closer.

I leaned over and let him pull himself up to ear. I’m gay,” he whispered letting out a long expulsion of alcohol breath.

I froze for an instant, and then stood up allowing him to drop back to the floor. I’m sorry man,” he said just above a whisper looking up at me. I looked around to see if anyone had heard what he said before, but everyone seemed overly concerned for him and not to have heard.

Donald began to throw up violently. He began to shake uncontrollably and scream between bouts, so we had no recourse but to call the medics. An ambulance soon came and they carted Donald away, with him still saying “Mushy, I’m sorry!

I stood in place for a long time, but finally made it back to our room and sat on the side of the bunk in the dark. I began to feel guilty for not going with him, but for the moment I was embarrassed, and I was confused – confused about my feelings and about what I should do.

A couple of days later I came in from work and Donald was there. He sat silently on the side of his bunk staring out the window. I pulled a Falstaff from the fridge, popped the top, and sat down on my bunk staring out the same window.

He broke the silence first say, “I will understand if you don’t want me to be your best man at your wedding. I should have told ya.”

Yeah, why didn’t you say something? I mean, you and talked about girls and…”

No, you talked about girls…I talked about my sister…think about it,” he said raising his voice slightly.

I really had grown to like Donald and it dawned on me that nothing should change. I do not know how or why I came to the decision, especially in that day and age, but I did.

Nothing changes…I asked you to be my best man and by God you will be…you, you are my best friend!”

You sure ‘bout that?”

Yes, I’m sure, so let it go,” I said taking a long pull on the tall can. What did they tell you at the hospital anyway?”

I had the DT’s…been drinking all day and part of the night I suppose.”



Bruce? What the hell has he got to do with it?

“He was my boyfriend,” he explained, as my eyes got wider.

He was with me before Billy Jean, then you came along, and he came back, now he’s back with her…at least I think he is.”

Holly cow man!” I said, realizing for the first time the world is a big place with strange things going on it. I was never as naive again.

Donald went on to be my best man, and he and Bruce came to Harriman and we had a bachelor party in some little motel room near there. Yep, just me and two gay guys celebrating my last night of freedom! Life is strange, but ain’t it fun!

A few weeks later Donald was called away to the First Sergeant’s office. He apparently had blabbed too much that night to the medics. He was forced out of the Air Force, and I never saw or heard from him again.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I first posted this back in 2006. It was me trying to explain the photo I now have permanently pinned to my sidebar.

Well I’ve been in love so many years
With the sound of your voice
And the beat of your heart
The way you keep me moving
When your music starts
And you’ve been soothing through the years

So let me hear it
Let me hear it loud
Turn it way up high
So’s I can feel it

Play that rock & roll for my mind
Play that rock & roll all the time

Let me hear the steel from that guitar
Let it whine all through my mind
Let it run up and down my spine
Oh, rock & roll, I know where you are

Well you’ve made the good times so much more
And all those bad times
Don’t seem to matter
The way you made me start
Get to the times that were better
As you lifted this aching heart and made it soar

So let me hear it
Let me hear it loud
Turn it way up high
So’s I can feel it

Play that rock & roll for my mind
Play that rock & roll all the time

Let me hear the rhythm from that bass
Let my heart match that beat
Let me feel it down to my feet
Oh, rock & roll, keep up that pace

I now have a new use for the poem and photo, and that is to introduce a great find this week!

This video is of my son, Corey, giving AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" his all! Corey has moved on from the days of “Maximum Clearance” (see still shot in sidebar) to doing solo air-guitar gigs on YouTube!

This is just one of the great moments I discovered while dubbing my VHS tapes to DVD this last week. I bought a Sony unit, and thus far I’m very pleased with it. The process of getting from DVD to YouTube is complicated, but I’m learning.

If you are like me and have hours of VHS tapes collecting dust under the stereo table, then you need one of these. It was under $200 and has already given me hours of fun!

Looking back at Corey’s little league days and Katie Bug’s baby moments has made me love them even more. I also rediscovered the fact that my daughter Tracy was, and is, the best little mommy in the world. How patient she was and how selfless she was, was almost lost until I reviewed the old tapes again. Being able to watch them on the wide-screen TV is also awesome!

The saddest part was watching my little dog babies from the past. I sure miss them and love them even more. Tai Pan and Lacy wrestling was just priceless. Watching Lacy look around when Katie was playing, and knowing she was protecting her from the neighbor’s dog, just brought tears to my eyes.

Merry Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Donald did not share his life with me much, outside of telling me about his parents and his sister in Chattanooga, but I unloaded on him about everything. The two girls and the problem I had with Billy Jean. It was he that suggested that girl number one become pregnant and that I had to marry her!

It was brilliant! At least at the time it seemed so.

So, I set off on the task of breaking the news to Billy Jean. I am sure I could have picked a better time, but one night, while she and I was on a “double date” with Larry, another friend from the base, and his girl, I decided to tell her my sad news.

This guy, before I knew what was happening, was on the roof of my Falcon going at it with his girl. Suddenly there was a loud pop and the roof dented in from their weight. I got out and began screaming at Larry for being so inconsiderate as to ruin my car!

Ah man, it ain’t hurt!” he shouted back.

He hopped into the backseat and put his feet up against the roof and pushed. There was another loud pop as the metal returned to its former shape! Man, was I relived.

Anyway, he got out, took the GI blanket I kept in the trunk, and walked off into the darkness.

I settled back in with Billy Jean, who was determined to calm me down, and before I knew it we were “going at it” too! This was not what I wanted to happen, but, hey, you take what you can get, when you can get it!

So, I decided to wait for another opportunity.

It came soon enough, so I started telling her, and about how I had to do the right thing.

You don’t have to do that, we can run away and start over somewhere else,” she sobbed. How could you anyway?”

I…I don’t know…it…it just happened, that’s all,” I said.

The rest of the evening was nothing but sobs, and questions about “why” and her telling me “you don’t have to,” and I began to realize that this was not going to work and that it was hurting her worse than the truth would have. However, I was deep into the deception now and I had to play it out and make that night the last night.

With Billy Jean, nothing was easy. She was so attached and thought she was so in love that it took days before I could leave work or the barracks again.

She began by sitting inside my car, so I locked it. So, she started sitting on it!

For about a week, every day I left work and crossed the street to the barracks, she would be sitting on the front fender of my car! Once she even started in the door where I worked, but I ran to the bathroom, raised the big window, stepped out on the ground on the opposite side of the building, and ran to the barracks. Lucky for me the Sgt. Hollingshead and Lt. Summers were gone for the day!

For several weeks she called the barrack’s pay phone and asked for me. Everyone knew to tell her I was not there.

Finally, late one evening I left the barracks to go to the NCO Club, and there she sat. I decided to confront her one last time…if that was possible.

Somehow I convinced her that there was no future for us and she needed to stay away. I even threatened to have her base pass pulled. Oh, I saw her from time-to-time dancing in the club, but finally she stopped making eye contact.

Looking back on this, I do feel shame, and for years she haunted me.

Sometime after we were married, Connie once sat in the car while I stood a two hour guard duty on an “Open House Weekend” at the base, and later as I stood an “honor guard.” When her book became boring, she began to rummage through my glove-compartment and found pictures of Billy Jean at some party. Man, did I do some tall talking! I think I told her she was seeing a friend of mine and he had left the photos there.

Even after we had been married for a couple of years, and while I was attending the University of Tennessee, Connie found a matchbook from a motel some 30 miles away in my ’69 Mustang! There was a room number written under the cover and the motel was just a few miles from where Billy Jean’s grandparents lived.

I will never know for sure, but I knew I had never been there, and the only person I could think of that might have put the matches there was Billy Jean. It was a long time before I got over the feeling that she was out there watching me – waiting for the right moment!

Monday, December 17, 2007


To most observers, Billy Jean would have appeared to be the base slut. She hung out at the Airmen’s and NCO Clubs on the weekends, and sometimes would show up during the week. She was fresh out of high school and learning to be a beautician. She loved life and walked with purpose wherever she went – always in a hurry. She dressed in loud colors and patterns. Her dresses were very short, for the purpose of showing off her long legs. She liked most to show them off on the dance floor, and that is where I first saw her. She looked great, with a dazzling smile full of white teeth, platinum hair, and porcelain skin. She also liked to drink, and she always seemed to have a drink or cigarette in her hand.

I have never been much of a dancer, but I have been a smooth talker, and with my new found confidence, I somehow took her away from the dance floor guys.

However, in the later part of our relationship, when some guy would come to the table and ask her if she wanted to dance, she would look in my direction and I would motion for her to go – go dance!

I could tell it hurt her for me to seem not to care that much about her, and not to show any jealousy, but it was part of my play of indifference. I discovered that the more I pushed her away the more she seemed to care for me. She reminded me of the little dog I used to toss off the couch when I was about three. No matter how many times I threw the dog off into the floor, it jumped right back up waiting for me to give it just a little more attention.

Yes, I am ashamed of how I treated this girl, but I was playing a roll – I was a true Gemini for those last few months. I was an indifferent “cocky” fellow at the Airbase, and a meek and mild follower at home. Two completely different guys in attitude, personality, and purpose, and I knew from the start that Billy Jean would be hurt.

We began by simply talking and soon she looked for me when she came into the club. Guys still looked for her and still asked her to dance, and I showed no emotion one way or the other. I did not know she was seeing someone as a “steady,” but Airman Bruce soon let me know all about it.

Bruce came up to me one night in the Airmen’s Club, with his coal black duck-tailed hair, and two of his friends standing behind him. He just laid it out there on the table; he and Billy Jean were together. I do not know if he really wanted a physical confrontation or not, but I did not move or change expressions. I simply said, “…and you’re telling me this why?”

“I’m just telling you that she belongs to me,” he said shifting his weight to another foot.

“I don’t think Billy Jean belongs to anyone,” I told him. I then turned my back to him and watched the dance floor. I half way expected him to club me from behind, but when I next looked around he was gone.

I found out from Billy Jean that she and Bruce had met at the beauty shop. Bruce was a part-time beautician at a local shop. I hate to stereotype people, but this raised the first flag in my mind. They had begun their relationship by meeting after work to go dancing at the Airmen’s Club.

Billy Jean soon decided she wanted to be with me more than Bruce, and Bruce, being the tough man he was, backed off, but would occasionally give me dirty looks as we passed.

I continued to see Connie on the weekends and Billy Jean during the week. Sometimes I had some Color Guard or marching duties at the base, so I saw Billy Jean on those weekends.

Unfortunately for Billy Jean she fell in love. Me, well, I liked her and wanted her, but I had little respect for her.

She would ask me over to her parents where she fixed me supper on occasion, and sometimes I would leave work and go hit the rack for a nap. Someone would wake me up and tell me she was on the phone downstairs. It would dawn on me that I had missed her supper, but I pretended it did not matter. She would sound broken hearted and tell me she still had it in the oven, keeping it warm.

“Okay, I’ll be over in a little while,” talking while I yawned in a monotone voice.

“Oh…great…I’ll be here,” she would say, all bouncy like that little dog I had.

Later that evening we would sit in the living room and watch TV with her parents. When they went to bed, we made love on the couch. Afterwards, I practically had to pull her off me, first one arm then the other, and then I got up and left.

This went on until about December of ’67. That was about the time Connie asked me to marry her! We made plans to marry in March of ’68, so I knew I had to do something about Billy Jean. I racked my brain for a way to break if off, but being mean to her only made her love me more. It had to be something that did not give me much choice and still leave my dignity in tack.

Like I said, I’m ashamed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Corey and Lily met us at Calhoun’s At The Marina in Lenoir City Wednesday. Calhoun’s normally serves a huge buffet on Wednesday and Fridays, but through December the 22nd they are serving on Thursdays as well. What a spread!

Corey's mom, who normally keeps Lily, was under the weather, Tia had to work, so Corey took a day off from school to be with Lily.

There is a salad, pasta salad, fruit table that includes rolls and cornbread, an entrée table that includes green beans, spinach casserole, yellow creamed corn, white beans, chicken fingers, chicken livers, barbecue, ribs (sometimes), and catfish fingers, and an apple and peach cobbler table!

Now, Lily does not go for this offering, she is accustom to her plate of green beans, carrots, and chicken wieners! Seriously, she does not want the “store bought” fare; she loves what she is used to eating at home. Rarely does she even look in the direction of a plate like the one shown, piled high with the best food anywhere.

This goes against everything grandparents are programmed to do. We want to shove everything good at our grandchildren – carbs, fats, and sweets – but in the long run I suppose this is best.

I just hope I live long enough to spoil her with something good to eat!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


A couple of months after reporting to Sewart AFB, unfinished business from Vietnam began catching up to me.

First off, I do not remember ever telling you about Master Sergeant Thomas, my Flight Commander at Da Nang, but we actually met on the Pan Am flight over. Neither of us knew then that we would have a year long association by being in the same outfit, but it turned out well. He was a great leader, and he must have remembered my loyalty to him. 

Not long after arriving at Sewart I was pleasantly surprised one day in the Squadron Meeting, where the entire group meets monthly to discuss the Provost Marshal’s visions, and where, from time-to-time, Airman were recognized for their performance. Suddenly my name was called and I went forward to meet the Colonel with a puzzled look on my face. 

He began reading from an official looking piece of paper about me what I had done in Vietnam, and something about how “The Air Force Commendation Medal" may be awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States below the grade of Brigadier General who, while serving in any capacity with the Air Force, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service not of a sufficient nature to justify a higher award.”

The photo at the right does not show it, but inside my head I was thinking, “Wow! Wow, what the hell?

Then it hit me, Sgt. Thomas! Yep, he remembered me after all. 

Not long after that, the promotion I should have gotten with the rest of my buddies in Vietnam caught up with me. I became a “Buck Sergeant,” what was in the sixties the E-4 grade of Airman 1st Class. Today Airman 2nd Class is now Airman 1st Class with Senior Airman now being an E-4. Got that?

This makes the Air Force the only branch of service today not to have an NCO rank at the E-4 pay grade. What started for me in 1967 ended in 1991! Someone must have messed up badly, or they had too man NCO’s in their club!

Anyway, in 1967 that change made the Air Force begin treating E-4s like Sergeants, with all the privileges, including the NCO Club! I strode proudly into the club the same day I sewed on my three stripes and ordered a Jack and Coke! I really felt like somebody then…even more cocky on the walk!
The promotion also made it impossible for me to live in the open bay barracks with the “lowly” Airmen! I had to move into a hard-walled room with a door, and a refrigerator! How awful is that!

That is when I met Donald, a long time Airman 1st Class that had been freshly promoted Buck Sergeant. We shared this room for about twelve months, or until “the incident!” We’ll get to that soon.

Don and I quickly became close friends and we would talk (mostly me) to the wee hours, with the light off, and the stereo playing the Mystic Moods Orchestra’s “One Stormy Night” until we fell asleep to the sounds of distant trains, rain, and thunder. Each morning we got up, 20 minutes before work, grabbed a “tall boy” for breakfast, showered, and toddled off to meet the day.

Eventually I even asked Don to be the best man at my wedding, to which he agreed, but I am getting ahead of myself. There was a lot that had to happen first!

Little did I know how this meeting would impact our lives!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I spent a lot of my leave time fixing up the beige ’66 Falcon to make it a little more presentable, things like taking the cheap hubcaps off and painting the wheels flat-black, and buying some chrome lug nuts. To me, that made all the difference. Then I had a 4 and 8-track Muntz tape player installed with 4 of the biggest stereo speakers money could buy.

As a matter of fact, twice I was playing it so loud that I did not hear my recapped snow tires separate. I thought the flapping in the wheel wells was part of the beat!

Of course, my Falcon was not nearly as sporty looking as Suldog’s, but it was a zippy little ride that I drove at top speed. In those days the Interstate speed was 75, which meant I went back and forth between home and the airbase at 80 to 85 MPH, faster if I passed a patrol car, almost every weekend.

Once I got into a “top end” race with a small V-8 Chevy (’65 or ’66) on the way to Nashville. I tried my best to pass him, but all I could do was follow about 6 car lengths behind him at about 110 MPH! After about 10 miles, smoke suddenly bellowed out from under the Chevy, and oil sprayed all over my windshield! He took the next exit off – I kept going! Who needed a Mustang!

Also, in those days, the Tennessee Highway Patrol used radars set up on tripods. I got two tickets before I learned to spot the damn things a mile down the road. Once, I stood by the car while the patrolman wrote out my ticket and glared at every car that passed. Before I got off the Interstate west of Crossville, I had passed every car I remembered again!

Where the Interstate ended, Highway 70 took me on home. It was a very crooked 2-lane highway from Crossville, Tennessee on in to Rockwood. I still love to drive that road. The curves are banked perfectly and I learned from my dad at an early age how to “go in low, foot off the gas, and come out foot on the floor and high! Of course, I learned other tricks after I got my first straight shift!

Dad loved to play, what he called “Dick Tracy” on the curves, making the old bias tires squeal! I learned to love that sound as much as he did.

I reported to Sewart AFB in April of 1967 with 17 months remaining to serve. I dreaded spending all that time on some gate or routinely driving around looking for speeders. At that point, I had my fill of monotonous duty, but at least there would not be anyone out in the dark waiting to kill me. So, I resigned myself to living with my destiny for a few more months.

As I sat outside the First Sergeant’s office thinking about this, and awaiting my Flight and barrack assignments, he suddenly appeared, as if sent by God. Anyone out here type?” he yelled.

I probably looked like that horse that got shot in “Animal House! I do,” I said, not believing what I heard, and with my dad’s voice about not volunteering ringing in my head.

Where’d you learn to type Airman?” the old Senior Master Sergeant asked.

High school Sarge,” I said, beginning to be afraid of why he wanted to know.

Come in here!” he motioned for me to follow, then pointed at his typewriter, “Type me something.

All I could think of was the old “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aide of their country,” and the old “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” routines everyone learns in typing class.

You’re hired boy…now get up to Sgt. Hollingshead’s office right now. He needs someone right now!

Luck, pure ass luck, had smiled on me again. From that first day, until I was discharged I was in charge of the recording and disposition of all traffic violations and accidents that happened on the base. This position put a lot of people in my debut and I reaped the benefits from supply and food services people almost immediately.

Uh, yeah, I kinda got a speeding ticket the other day and, uh, I was wondering if there was anything I could…

Say you work in supply?” I would ask, “Well, you know, my stuff’s in pretty bad shape since getting back in country, so, you couldn’t…could you?

Needless to say, I had anything I wanted. If you worked anywhere else, you were pretty much out of luck!

I was also one of a hand full of Security Policemen that had a car. Even though it did not compare to one guys’ Jaguar, it was “A CAR,” and that made me one of the elite.

I was also the only Airman in our squadron, in the lower ranks, that had been to Vietnam. For some reason, the other guys looked up to me. They were not afraid to ask me questions, and I loved the questions, and I gave them the straight scoop. Most would soon be going and all were scared, so I did not embellish my tales – just the truth about long lonely hours on dark post, the heat and humidity, the monsoon rains, and the rockets.

For the first time in my life, when it came time to choose sides for sports, I was not picked toward the last. I was picked “first round” and my ego grew. I begin to feel that my year in ‘Nam was finally worth something, and I began to cash it in!

I played above my potential in softball and volley ball and had a blast, and actually became a good athlete – late bloomer I suppose. I could “talk the talk, and walk the walk! That summer was one of the best in my life. I played hard, drank hard, and had a girl two hours away that I could see every weekend.

Then Billy Jean (not her real name) came along! Oh my, she was hot, and I wanted her too. The only problem was she belonged to someone else. However, I soon discovered his weakness – another guy!

Life had never seemed, or been, so good, and life was about to get even better. You have probably heard the saying, “It’s good to be the King! That was me, the cock of the walk!

However, I did not know life could get so complicated.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I have been thinking about this mall shooting lately, and Friday, when I got my Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit renewal card in the mail, it hit me – I did not even “carry” these last five years! What a fool am I!

I once came into the house, gasping for air after having mowed our lawn with a push mower. I must have turned a magic age or something, but I went the next day and bought a riding mower. I made myself a promise – I will never be found dead lying behind a push mower. If it’s behind a mower, it will be a riding mower that I’ve suffered a heart attack on and fell off backwards!

The same should apply to this “canceled carry permit” in my billfold. I promise never to be found dead from a crazy’s gun shot, with my Concealed Carry Permit in my wallet and my weapon in the truck or at home!

I intend to get my money’s worth the next five years!

I third this emotion:

I'll add that I'm pretty sure that nobody in the Omaha mall was thinking, "Good thing the crazy guy is the only one here with a gun."

Watch out crazies…I have no qualms about popping a cap or two (double tap) in your stupid ass!

Friday, December 07, 2007


A little piece of my past has been torn down. This old 40,000 gallon water tank, erected sometime around the mid-thirties, was the most recognizable landmark in Five Points, Tennessee. The pictures show a very old structure that had the town name, and few girlfriends names painted across it many times.

Besides the tank, there was a cotton gin, and my uncle’s general store, where I worked many a summer as a kid.

Rust has just about taken over this little farming community center, but the memories in my mind are as fresh as the day they were born.

These great shots were sent to me by my cousin Mark, whose mother still operates the new general store there. Mark works in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Underground Storage Tanks, as an environmental specialist. He assured me he had nothing to do with the destruction of this old landmark!

Mark said except for the rust that fell out of it and a few bullet holes, the structure appeared very sound.

Apparently the property, including the tank and cotton gin, were recently auctioned. He fears the gin will also meet the same demise soon.

Five Points is where my grandparents settled, and began farming, after coming by covered wagon from Boaz, Alabama, sometime in the early twenties, or just a short time after my dad was born in 1919. Five Points is at the intersection of Five Points-Liberty, Mockerson, Evans, and Legg Roads, some twenty miles south of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Lawrenceburg is the hometown of Fred Thompson, and where I started the first grade!

Maybe soon, we will have a family reunion and we can again refresh our rusted memories!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I intend not to go into too much detail about my relationship with my first wife. Connie is the mother of my only son, in whom, I’m very pleased (Matthew 3:17), and will always be so.

Since it is possible that she and her husband, as well as my son, read these posts, I will not embarrass them with much detail about the relationship that went asunder. We both were at fault, giving in to pride mostly, but we have long since put that behind us and have actually grown to be good friends, sharing the fence at little league games, seats at graduations, the funeral of her second husband, and now pictures of our grandchild.

Any mention of Corey’s mother will be done in the light of today’s relationship.

Suffice it to say, that if my parents had not brought her to the airport when they picked me up upon my returned from Vietnam, and had not insisted I take the keys to the '64 Pontiac and take her home afterwards, we may not have ever married.

There is no doubt that I was a different person after the experience of Vietnam. She too had changed a lot in the pictures and letters she sent me while I was away, and we really did not know each other at all. The relationship began as it did that first night in March of 1966, a slow growing fondness for being in each others company.

Coming home was wonderful. It was like being born again. There was a sense of freedom to it; liberation from the fear that stalked me for a year was over, at least between times of being surprised by loud noises and being reminded! I began to sleep soundly and rarely woke in a cold-sweat or in a startled jerk to sounds near me. Never again did I slug anyone who mistakenly touched me while I was asleep, although I have postured a time or two!

The first thing I really wanted was a glass of cold milk and a hot shower, both of which I had that first night at Connie’s parents.

My taste and appetite returned with a vengeance and soon I had packed back on the 30 plus pounds I had lost. I had a year and a half left to serve upon arriving back in the States, and I struggled, almost to the end of my enlistment to make my uniforms last. In the pictures of me I will post during that time, you will see tight shirts and pants whose seams were widened and darker in color from the rest of the material!

Everyone seemed proud to have me home, but no one ever sat down with me and asked me to “tell me all about it!” I was alone with my thoughts and memories, and the anxiousness I still held inside. There was no one who had a similar experience, not even at my new Air Force assignment.

My absence had a profound effect on my dad, who was moved to start attending church, and was subsequently “saved.” Mom said it was because he was so afraid of losing me. He put a “damn payment” on a new 1966 Falcon and proudly presented it to me just before I left for my new assignment. Although it was not the Mustang I had been dreaming about, I took it and drove it with pride for three years. I would not have hurt his feelings for anything.

My brother had also, at the tender age of nine, been hospitalized, for a time, with what the doctor described as a “nervous stomach.” Apparently, he understood more than my mother knew about what was going on in Southeast Asia and what could happen to his “Bubby!

My personal fears only surfaced at fireworks shows, thunder storms, and when someone surprised me by slamming a car trunk shut (If you want to know what a mortar sounds like, jump in the back seat and let someone close the trunk lid hard!). The sight of me picking myself up off the ground or out of the floorboard of a car was comical to others; embarrassing and infuriating to me.

My mother took it upon herself to “fatten” her baby back to health, and I enjoyed every one of my favorites for thirty days before moving on to my last assignment. She believed for a long time that I had actually been in a POW camp, and in some ways I had!

My luck seemed to change with the new base assignment when I left Da Nang. I could not believe I would be stationed just two hours from home – Sewart Air Force Base in Smyrna, Tennessee, which was decommissioned in 1970! It meant that I could come home every weekend, IF I wanted to. What a change!

I sort of made a promise to myself back then, to never leave home again. It was hard for me to be away from “home base” and my family and extended family in Alabama had a hard time understanding. However, over the years I have let myself be persuaded into venturing farther and farther away, for longer and longer periods of time, but there is still nothing like coming home again for a veteran of a war zone.

Truth be known, I am very insecure out of my little world. It is a cross I will always suffer for having been in Vietnam.