MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: COCK OF THE WALK

Monday, December 10, 2007

COCK OF THE WALK

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.

23 comments:

Cookie..... said...

I guess I can relate ...a little bit" to your position and the associated "benies". In Gitmo I was an electrician with the Seabee unit there. When the Matines, or the Naval Air Station needed their Air Conditioning connected up or fixed...well...lets just say I left Gitmo with Leather Flight jackets, pilot sunglasses and almost an endless supply of Marine Corps K-Bars...

Ain't "khum shaw" great...

Sarge Charlie said...

Just so you know, you can spin a yearn very well. I got hired the same way once, damn Morning Reports, beat the hell out of being in the field.

*Goddess* said...

Hmm, tickets from the Tennessee Highway Patrol? That must have been back in the day when they weren't getting bj's from porn chicks along the highway....LOL!

Hammer said...

What a pefect job. It pays to be in a position of influence :)

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

Just dropped in to catch up on some reading! Always a pleasure Mushy! Hope you are having a wonderful blessed Holiday Season!

Divalicious said...

I always feel like I say the same damn thing to you... You rock, your memories are awesome and I feel (if only for a minute or two) like I'm being let into your world to sit on your couch and listen.

Thanks, Mushy.

BRUNO said...

I thought I was the original "black-rims-with-chrome-nuts" man! And when they came out with the latest thing---the RADIAL tire,---me and Dad just scoffed, "Humph! They'll never amount to shit! Bias-ply is the way to stay!"

We BOTH had a lot to learn, in the next few years following. And I found that even a DAD could learn somethin' NEW, even if he was OLD, and in his late FORTIES!!!

I USED TO BE that old, at one time...!!!

Buck Pennington said...

Are you sayin' you could be bought, Mushy? OMG... My illusions about Skycops have been shattered! Shattered, I say!

:-)

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Like the Diva, I feel like I'm always sayin' the same stuff here. Your dad sure was cool. Not only got you a car but showed you how to drive it right. Sounds like luck has always shined on you when you really needed it to. Love readin' this stuff.

Michele said...

*LOL* I had an old Ford Falcon that had A/C!!! Only problem was ya had to turn the A/C off if you wanted to pass anyone!

pat houseworth said...

I had a 63 Plymouth push button at Dover....like you, I was one of a handful of AF Cops with a 'ride".....everytime I turned around somebody was borrowing it....Guess that's why I was so popular...;)

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Sounded good right up until that last line - life could get so complicated. Leaves me wondering.
Read your previous post - I might get one of those. People here in Colorado got shot down leaving church. Leaving church and you can get shot - what the hell is that all about?
Get up in the morning for church - nice shirt - check. Tie - check. dress shoes - check. Gun - check.
Ralph

Robert said...

Ah good times Mushy...I had a 63 Pontiac ..black wheels of course ..flipped the air cleaner cover upside down because the folklore was it gave you 50 more horsepower...:):)...blue lights up in the corner of the windshield ..furry steering wheel cover...I had the world by the ass back then...

Redneck Texan said...

You asked me to keep an eye out for you...... Its Not Exactly A Live Video.... but its close enough for Rock & Roll eh? ;-)

Mushy said...

Cookie - Sure wish I had one of the old jackets in today's size! Yeah, the sunglasses were awesome.

Sarge - Yep, the morning report, orders of the day, a whole list of things besides my primary job!

Goddess - Nope, they THP didn't have a sense of humor in those days.

Hammer - Good thing the LT didn't know how good it was or he would have taken it on!

Olga - It's all good!

Diva - My couch is always...ah, place to nap!

Bruno - Guess we have to change with the times.

Buck - Skycops have to live too! Don't think the really bad guys didn't get their due...they did!

FHB - Someday, when I've forgotten all this, you can come by and read it to me. I'll say, "Oh yeah...I remember that shit!"

Michele - Sure that wasn't an Econoline van?

Pat - Yeah, it was always the car, not our great personalities!

Ralph - I wore mine again for the first time in a while today. I didn't see one suspicious hombre in Wal-Mart, but I was ready. Keep your head down out there buddy.

Robert - I had forgotten about that...I'm sure I did that too! Oh, I did amazing things with woodgrain vinyl!

Redneck Texan said...

Well, I botched that link huh?

Let me try that again Yardbirds - Smokestack Lighntin'

Mushy said...

OMG...I knew that's what you trying to do RT...couldn't wait for you to straighten it out! It's not live, but it'll do...my favorite of all times I do think!

Thank you so much!

Redneck Texan said...

You're Welcome

Jose said...

I know donwn deep inside you wanted that MUSTANG, yeah you did, admit it. lol Man I wouldn't mind having that Falcon today either. Those were different times, now you can't get away with running your car like that.

Man those typing classes paid off big time didn't they.

oldmanlincoln said...

When I was "in" during and after the Korean War, I worked for a period of time in "personnel records" and that was a place to be to see what was going on. Lots of people had their personnel records changed.

sendai-shi.blogspot.com

phlegmfatale said...

Sounds like you were all set up, you lucky rascal!

Squalling tires may be one of life's greatest pleasures.

Suldog said...

Hey, Mushy!

Thanks for the shout-out, man! Wow - it's neat that you remembered my story to reference here.

(Just so there's no misunderstanding: The Falcon pictured in my story wasn't mine, although mine resembled it greatly. I got that photo on-line from another site, by putting in as many particulars concerning my own ride as I could think of, into "Google Images".)

Mushy said...

Jose - Ah, I got my Mustangs later, so it all worked out.

Oldman - Thanks for dropping by...love your photography!

Phlemy - You got that right...still do it on occasion!

Suldog - No problem...I understood, but that one is still sharp. Mine was a plain Jane, but I had me some fun with her!