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!"
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!