Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 7

Image result for high wycombe guildhall  In the summer of 1969 I was transferred to High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.  For the military aspect of my stay there, as well as several little stories that I should have saved for this entry, see Hup! Twoop! Three! Four! - Part 3Unlike my previous assignment, High Wycombe was a city and the base was small,  Consequently, the locals thought of the 'Yanks' as more of a novelty then a swarm of locusts. 
  One story that should have been in the other blog entry was this:  AAFES was the organization that was the marketing arm of the US military bases and of course it had facilities at USAF High Wycombe. In High Wycombe was also RAF High Wycombe, where it also had a marketing arm for its military known as NAAFI.  Okay, bear with me; on the British base there was a sort of Pub for the military Brits to gather and it was called 'The NAAFI'.  One day I was in a group of Brits and I was the only Yank there.  I cannot remember why or how I was in this situation, anyway, one uniformed young woman in the group was going on and on about how Yanks were all mouth and all money.  I was in civilian clothes and she didn't know I was American.  One of her 'mates' gave her a nudge and whispered in her ear.  I assumed she was being enlightened about my nationality.  She was so embarrassed, she ran off and never came back to the group.
  The best part about being at High Wycombe was the fact that I became friends with a young lady at church.  Thirty-four years later we reconnected and were married.  That is when I learned that she had a 'crush' on me in High Wycombe.  Okay, I am a little slow to catch on, sometimes.

  Next stop, Turkey...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Twin Brother.....(so to speak)

Buddy Holly
Me in 1969
  It occurred to me, after writing the last blog entry, that I never did a musical tribute to Buddy Holly, one of the most influential musicians in Rock 'n Roll, even with a very short career.  Well, let's fix that! 
  Many of his innovations were done in the recording studio.  One, for example, was using an eighteen piece orchestra when he recorded True Love Ways (click to listen).  It was dedicated to his wife, Maria.
  There was an interesting film about him called The Buddy Holly Story (pretty clever title, eh?).  I'm not sure how accurate it is but I enjoyed it.  Gary Busey plays Buddy, an unlikely casting, I thought, but he did a great job.  Interestingly, he had played in bands before he started acting.
  Here is another one of his songs called That'll Be The Day (click to listen) that he was inspired to write after watching a John Wayne movie called The Searchers where he often said that phrase.  I also like Linda Ronstadt's (the cover queen) version of it.
  After a year and half of success, he died in a plane crash along with Richie Valens and The Big BopperDon McLean wrote a song about their demise called American Pie.
  Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 6


  My next residence after Biloxi, Mississippi was Mildenhall, England in November of 1968.  For the military aspect of my time there, go to my blog entry:  Hup! Twoop! Three! Four! - Part 2  I spent two years in England and the first year was here.  I thoroughly enjoyed the country and look forward to going back someday.  I left in 1970 and haven't been back since, though I may get an opportunity this Fall, fingers crossed.
  Mildenhall is a village in Suffolk with the nearby village of Lakenheath.  Both villages are greatly outnumbered by their RAF base namesakes. Consequently, the locals are not always friendly to the GI's.
  A lot of my free time was spent driving around the countryside and visiting various places, including London of course, in my 1949 MG Y-Type which was the first car I ever owned.  It was a unique vehicle, at least to me.  It had a built in jacking system where there were hydraulic 'legs' that extended behind all four wheels.  Under the 'bonnet' was the pump for the jacks and you could lift the car right off the ground.  Also there was a window curtain to cover the back window by pulling a string that was by the driver, which was on the right side of the car, of course.  And if the battery was dead, no problem, there was a crank with the spare tyre that could be inserted in the front grill to crank-start the engine.
  Looking at pictures from there, I am reminded how geeky I looked!  The only consolation I can give myself is I could have been Buddy Holly's twin brother.
  Next stop, relocation to another part of England....


Monday, February 13, 2012

A Musical Break...

Image result for sam cooke  Just as I had threatened, a bit of feel good oldies music.  While driving around listening to the 50's and 60's music on satellite radio, I decided to share the following tune.
  One artist that did a lot of great stuff was Sam Cooke.  He had 29 top 40 hits.  His first hit single was in 1957, You Send Me.  Too bad his career was cut short when he was fatally shot in 1964.
  You know the drill, click on the title and enjoy!

In 1986, Cooke was inducted as a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 5


The Choir

  In the spring of 1968, the Air Force transferred me from Basic Training in Texas to Technical School at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  On a side note, I came back to Biloxi many years later, but that will probably be mentioned in a later chapter.  The military aspect of my time there is covered in my blog entry:  Hup! Twoop! Three! Four! - Part 1.  I was in Biloxi for less then six months, so my travelogue will be brief!  I spent most of my time on base, because, one, I had everything I needed there, and, two, I wasn't the adventurous type.  Though sometimes I got away.
The Pool
  If I wasn't in class or in the barracks, I spent a lot of time at the nearby swimming pool.  The best tan I ever had was probably while in Tech. School.  For some reason, I started going to the generic church on base and even joined the choir, not that my singing was stellar,  but it was something to do. Ironically. the choir was a lively bunch.  Probably because they were all young people.  One day the choir took an R & R (rest and relaxation) trip to nearby New Orleans.  There we went to the beach and an amusement park and checked out the town at night.
  I wasn't in the base chapel choir very long.  Short time after, I was introduced to another church by my barracks room mate.  I became a member and have been all my life.  Without getting deep and theological, I must say that I cannot imagine nor would I want my life being any other way in a different Time Line if I had not made that choice.
  Another time, a couple of my buddies and I rented a plane and flew around the area for awhile.  Don't worry, one of the guys had a pilot's license.
The Plane
View of the Coast
  It gets very hot and humid in Mississippi.  One day a couple of the guys and I decided to go down to the beach on the gulf.  I had never been there before and never saw such dark and dirty water.  I think it gets all stirred up because of the Mississippi River emptying into it.  The tough part was trying to get comfortable lying on the beach because it was SO HOT!  Now I know what a strip of bacon feels like on a griddle.  It ended up we didn't stay too long.  We walked along the beach front checking out some of the shops then headed back.  I do remember a men's clothing store in particular that had a wonderful old Coke machine that vended bottles of Coke for only three cents.
  This area of the country is known for its own venue of food.  A food connoisseur I am not, but I did try grits and found no fondness there.
  So that was my brief stay at Biloxi.  You may remember that this area was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  I am glad I didn't see anything like that during my stay there.  Oh, oh...I feel a music moment coming......

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eventualities....

  Well, it had to happen eventually, and it did happen, but did it have to be two days before my birthday?  Generally I am a realist but when it comes to one's mortality, it is easy to be taken aback.  The event I am speaking of was merely a conversation with someone, however, the substance of the conversation was a question asking me if certain possessions of mine could be bequeathed to them upon my passing.  It is a kind of question that can make one give pause.
Image result for will  The more I dwelled on it, the more I thought it wasn't really a big deal.  I mean, it wasn't a big deal to prepare my Will.  That was done as simple action of being responsible as one matures.  What can be more helpful then to be told of an interest in something I have, as opposed to risking giving something that isn't wanted or needed by the recipient?
Image result for to do list  So there you have it, my big jarring event for the week which I got over quite easily.  Besides, the way I look at it, I haven't even reached the three-quarter mark of my life yet, and as long as I have stuff on my To Do list, I will keep churning away!

In reality, we are all travelers - even explorers of mortality. - Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 4

  In the ides of March of 1968, I spent six weeks of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, outside of San Antonio, Texas.  There is also interesting info about the base here.
  During those six weeks, I never got off the base except for one town liberty.  On that day, the only thing I remember doing was visiting The Alamo which was a lot smaller then I imagined. 
  If you were a smoker, you could carry your cigarette pack in a container that strapped around your ankle.  That was the only place you could keep them.  You weren't allowed to put them in the numerous pockets on the uniform because it would make a bulge and lack 'military bearing'.  You were only allowed to smoke when given permission to do so.  I told you all that so I could tell you this:  A couple times we were allowed base liberty.  I wasn't a smoker but I did have a cigarette container strapped to my ankle for base liberty.  On those days, I would buy a pocket transistor radio at the BX.  The radio had to be small enough to fit into my cigarette case.  I was suffering music withdrawals so I would have my tunes during the day until I was caught with it and then the radio would be confiscated.  Basic trainees weren't allowed to have radios, but it was worth it.
  After basic training, I had orders to go to technical school in Biloxi, Mississippi, so that is our next stop....

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Metaphorically Speaking....

  Heard an old song on the radio, today, by Johnny Rivers called Summer Rain which came out in 1967.  A song I have always liked.  Listening to it made me think; how many metaphors can one pack into a song?  I counted nine in this one.  Quite a few, considering it is less then four minutes long.  Can you think of a song that has more?
These made me chuckle
  Anyway, it is a great song, and I thought we were way overdue for one.  So here it is.  Also, I thought the psychedelic-like video collage was quite good.  Psychedelic, now there is a word you don't hear much anymore!

Metaphors are much more tenacious than facts. - Paul de Man