Monday, November 17, 2008


Recently I’ve been in touch with another “Harriman Hooligan”, as he likes to call his Class of ’64 buddies. His name is Mickey Jones, and he once worked for the IRS, but now does something along the same lines for the state. He was tight friends with Bob Hamby and Sid Stanley, and they ran around together in school. I was a friend to all but Sid, who I never really got to know well, but we got along.

Mickey and I lived a couple of houses from each other back in grade school, and we used to play some mean games of cowboy and Army. We loved to get together and play, but especially when we got our parents to take us to David Yeary’s over in Walnut Hill. David lived near a stretch of woods full of honeysuckle tunnels, and it was perfect for playing Army! Those were the days my friend, back when summers actually felt long, with perfect temperatures.

We lost contact, naturally, after high school until one day in 1967 when I got a call out of the blue from Bob, who explained that the trio was going to be in Nashville for the weekend. Basically, they wanted to party, but I think his real purpose was to show Mickey what it was like being in the Air Force! Mickey, as it turned out, had plans to join in the winter of 1969, which he did.

I had been promoted to NCO and had access to cheap fun at the NCO Club, so the party was on!

As I remember it, I was still in my “cock-of-the-walk” attitude, and living my life as a true Gemini! I had a little lady that lived near the base, but spent most of her time on the dance floor of the Airmen and NCO clubs. I also had a “hometown girl”, but they never knew about each other (not until one or both reads this anyway). My personality was 180 degrees at home from the wild party-boy at Sewart AFB, but I was young, could carry it off, and was reconnecting with life after a year of base restriction in Southeast Asia!

The months leading up to my marriage to Corey’s mom in March of ’68 were nothing but a party, with weekends off for rest back in my mild-mannered persona!

What I’m trying to say is…I was ready to party!

Billy Jean (not her real name) naturally accompanied us to the club and sat at the table with us guys – that is until the music started. She was then up dancing beside her chair!

Now, I sometimes danced with her, but more often than not I let her dance with guys that asked her. I was playing that “I don’t give a damn” game that drives some women crazy. They can’t figure out if you like them or not, but she was head over heals in love and did not, or could not, bring it up. It made her mad that I wasn’t jealous (or at least show it), but she was afraid to let it show.Like I’ve written before, I’m ashamed of how I treated her, but it was my great “split-personality”, indifference experiment and it worked like a charm for all those months.

As it turned out Mickey was a dancer too. He leaned over to me and yelled over the band into my ear, “Can I dance with her?”

“Sure,” not asking her opinion. I reached out and touched her arm and said, “Dance with man here!"

She looked at me for a couple seconds, with a hurt look, and then over at Mickey. They danced several times that evening, but the rest of the evening at the club is lost in whiskey and time.

I do remember driving Bill Jean home, too drunk to walk, but I could drive. As a matter of fact, we had to pass through a license check point of Tennessee State Troopers on the way. I remember rolling all the windows down, lighting up a Winston, and finding my license.

When the officer came to my window, I was holding up my license causally between two fingers. I said, “Catching many tonight?”

The officer didn’t say anything, just shined his light on my driver’s license and waved us on! Upon arriving at her house, I opened my door, and promptly fell out of the car!

As it happened, Mickey and I were both at DaNang, only 5 years apart! He worked to turn the airbase over to the South Vietnamese, and left after the transition in June of ’71.

We got together again, sometime after my divorce in ’78, and again partied at his house in Harriman. After that he followed his career to Nashville where he lives today. Maybe we can get together one day soon.

Thanks Mickey, for helping me remember that night, almost 42 years ago!


Suldog said...

Nice reminiscence. Well-told, as always!

Shrinky said...

You are a story teller mushy, born for it. Lovely tale, thanks for taking us back there with you. Ah, the arrogance of youth. There are many occassions I wish I too had been kinder to some poor little sap who was only trying to do his best. I think empathy comes a little later in life, thank goodness, huh?

Sandi McBride said...

I'm glad I didn't know you were on the road then...I'd appreciate a heads up if you ever intend to drive in the state of intoxication in the state of South Carolina, though..I'll stay home that night since my blue lights and siren have been retired...I don't think my ticket book works anymore you were a dog back then!
oh, and 10to1 you took that last statement as a compliment.

It wasn't

Mushy said...

Thanks Sul and Carol, I appreciate the kind words.

Sandi...I don't do that anymore, but it would have been nice to have met you! Yes, I was a dog then, but only half of me!

Buck said...

...too drunk to walk, but I could drive.

We're fortunate to have survived our youth, aren't we? I have a few of those tee shirts, as well... none recent (read as: in the last ten years or so), tho.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

It's great to reconnect with old friends. And it's great to be able to read these old memories of yours again. Feels like old times.

Debbie said...

Great story. What a life Mushy, you live every day to the fullest. I think I spend too much time at the computer, ha.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

catscratch said...

How cool was that??

I am trying to get back together with some of my old friends from high school next summer.

I wonder what kind of memories will come flying back?

Mushy said...

Write about them when they come Diva!

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

To drunk to walk, but drive ok. That works, many is the time. How did we survive. I never tell my kids, (now adults) any of my stories from younger days involving alchohol. Hell I am finding out now they have their own stories, I tell them not to tell me anymore. I thought I had a pretty good handle on them, now I know I didn't know squat. Good story. wish I had the memory you do.

Mushy said...

I know there are people who think they can drive drunk, but I did have a way of calming and focusing myself. I have been followed several times by a police car while pretty well gone. However, I found that relaxing my grip on the wheel and letting my hands slide across the wheel, while slowing firming my grip made the turns smooth, and not jerky like nervous drunks, nervously gripping the wheel hard, tend to do.

Don't do as I say...I don't anymore, but this technique did keep me out of trouble.

Still, I could have hurt someone seriously or worse!

pat houseworth said...

What was that line from "Blazing Saddles" that Slim Pickens said? Oh Well....great story, :)

Mushy said...

Guess who got in touch with me today...David Yeary! This post has meant more to me than most!