Sunday, July 25, 2010

My History

Hi All:

I was sitting here at my computer this afternoon, counting my many blessings and thought of one of the better decisions I have ever made in my life, but before I go into that day I want you all to know that I couldn’t possibly have had any better parents or siblings. I so enjoyed watching and listening to my Mom and Dad interacting with one another; they truly loved and enjoyed their time together. They laughed and joked around much of the time; especially when they would do dishes or other housework together which was practically every day when I was in high school and living at their trailer court. I remember once when they were kidding around and Dad popped Mom from behind with the dish towel; she laughed and grabbed a stick that was holding up the kitchen window by the sink and went after him, he squealed and started back stepping to stay out of her way and fell across the bed across the hall and laid on his back with his legs above his head. She started swatting him with the stick when all of a sudden he got the most startled look on his face and she stopped; it turns out that the stick had a little hail through the end and she had landed a whack with that; of course she was sorry about the whole deal but they both almost collapsed in laughter! They had so... much fun.

Even though I always felt loved I didn’t remember ever hearing my Dad tell me he loved me; men in those days were very reserved. I knew one man who was not reserved and that was my Mothers baby brother Floyd King, he didn’t care what anybody thought as he was big enough to take care of anything or anybody; he used to embarrass me and I’m sure my Dad; if Uncle Floyd had been away from the family for any length of time he would grab you in a bear hug and kiss you on the cheek when he saw you; of course nobody ever said anything as that was just Uncle Floyd and that was the way it was. You need to realize that Uncle Floyd had been a tri-state Golden Glove, heavyweight boxer in his younger years and was afraid of no one. I naturally, as I was growing up, wanted to be like him and even went out for boxing in high school for a short time but they always stopped the fight as soon as I got tagged on the nose since it would bleed rivers of blood; I (thought) knew if they would have let me go, even though bleeding, that I could have whipped every one of those guys. But, as everybody knows, they have silly rules in high school.

When we would go home for a visit after we got into the Air Force, Dad would come up to me stick out his hand for a handshake and give me kind of a halfway hug, which I would return. I decided that wasn’t good enough and thought about it for months before we went home again; I had decided that in one thing I preferred to be more like Uncle Floyd than my Dad.

The next time we went home we drove into the driveway at the trailer court and Dad came out to greet us. He stuck out his hand, I grabbed it and pulled him into me, gave him a kiss on the cheek and said “I love you Dad” He kind of stuttered a bit and said “I love you too son” We both had tears in our eyes and our greetings and goodbyes always included that kiss for the rest of his life and he would initiate it. I still consider that one of the wisest decisions I have ever made.

I determined from that day on to never be lax in letting my boys know that I loved them and to kiss them when departing or returning from anyplace; it was not easy at first due to my upbringing but I am so grateful that I stuck with it. I remember at times when a lot of people were around I still felt a bit nervous about it. But I started early enough with the boys that they thought nothing about it and when I would drop them off at school, or anyplace, they would all give me a kiss even if the whole gang was watching. As wild and rowdy as we all have been, I’m sure, nobody ever thought of any of us as sissy’s.

I want you all to know that I love you and am so grateful that we all are not afraid to show our love and gratitude for one another.

When I think about my Dad and that first time he kissed me and told me he loved me I still get teary. I’m sure he may have done that when I was a baby but I hadn’t remembered. I am also grateful for my Uncle Floyd who was my example of a “He Man” that had a very soft and loving heart.

Then of course we must not forget the girls! They never seemed to believe me that I couldn’t stand little girls, no matter how convincing I tried to be. The time I remember the best is when I came in the back door from an extended trip Ryanne was hugging my leg while I was kissing everybody hello, I looked down at her and said “you know I can’t stand little girls!” She smiled sweetly and said “But I love you Daddy” I was a complete failure with the girls too! I never fooled anybody!!!

Love, Dad…G-PaW

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Berlin Wall Era:

Hi All:

They had a special on TV a week so ago and while we were watching it I started telling Mom about the trip I made to Leipzig East Germany in the winter of 1973. We picked up a load of 200 breed hogs in Chicago, for delivery to Leipzig, with a fueling stop in Shannon Ireland. Hogs are a pretty delicate cargo as they don’t sweat so they need to be kept plenty cool. When we stopped in Shannon they had to bring fans and open all the doors to keep the hogs cool enough even though it was winter time; Shannon never gets very cold. We did lose about 15 or so even at that. There was some concern as to how we would pay for the fuel in Leipzig and they thought we would need cash so we took quite a delay in Shannon while they rounded up enough cash. As It turned out when the East Germans found out it was Saturn Airways they gladly accepted our credit card. Saturn had quite a reputation throughout the world. Howard Korth the owner was very honest and always kept his credit rating perfect. As an aside when he bought his first stretched DC-8 and the crew went down to pick it up at the Douglas Factory He paid them cash, something like $8,000,000. Douglas had never had anybody pay cash for an A/C and didn’t even know how to do it so there was a slight delay in getting out of there. A few months later Korth went down to buy the second DC-8 and they treated him like a King! He paid cash for that one also. When we landed in Leipzig it was snowing lightly and was quite cold. As soon as we opened the door they rolled the air stairs up to the door and I opened up; a very large frauleine came on board immediately and made us aware that she was in charge at that point, she would have made at least 2 of me, as far as size is concerned. They off loaded the pigs rapidly. The tower operator came into the cockpit to help in filing the flight plan for us to get out of East Germany. He was a nice young man and spoke English fluently. He was very careful of what he said to us especially when the fraulein was within ear shot. While they were cleaning the aircraft, which was pretty smelly by then, the lady, I’ll call her lady, as she was a female, was worried that somebody might stow away on the airplane and escape from East Germany so with me in tow she stepped over all of the little corrals, about 10 as I remember, to get to the back of the A/C where the lavatory was and make sure nobody had hid in there to escape. She went outside with me and watched as I did my walk around inspection. While walking around with me she noticed that we had 4 belly pits on the A/C where we normally carry the baggage and sometimes some freight. She insisted that I had to open each pit and let one of her police check in there for stowaways. It was so stupid as we had only been on the ground a few minutes and there was no one there that would even have the slightest idea how to open those pits, let alone get up in there without a ladder unnoticed; anyway I opened each, one at a time, and they hoisted a guy in to crawl around and see if anybody was in there; he actually couldn’t go very far as the pits were filled with the seats that we used for passengers. All of our jets were convertibles and it only took about 5 hours to convert from freight to Passenger and vice versa. When she was satisfied she placed a guard at each hatch with a rifle to make sure nobody tried to get in.

What we need to know is how precious freedom is. The people in East Germany were as bad off as those in Russia, and we need to realize that there is actually little, if any, difference between Marxism and Nazism, and I might add progressivism which many are trying to pawn off on this country at the present time; they are all one and the same trying to take away freedom and the Free Enterprise System. I wish all of our family could have the opportunity to visit all of the places I have observed during my many travels. Our freedoms are precious and we must not let those seeking for power to take any of them from us; there has been too much blood shed over the years to preserve them for us. Believe me there has never been a country in the history of the world that has done so much for the worlds millions. We can’t say we are perfect but far better than any previous government experiments. I suspect the only civilization to come close to our accomplishments would have been the Roman Empire in its’ earlier days before they were taken over by Emperors. They took a lot of progress to much of the world at that time, but the greedy for power got in control just like they are trying to do in our country. When the government has more people dependent on them for their living than those who are independent they will have the votes to keep the power hungry in control of the government.

Now to get back to East Germany: They only had the necessities of life with little, or no, luxuries. When I first came down the steps from the aircraft there were probably 20 or so police accompanying the fraulein in charge. As I came down the steps they all started pointing at my shiny black boots; wanting to trade for or buy them from me. That is what made me start noticing how poor they really were; they would have traded everything they had for my boots.

When we got back to Shannon Ireland we laid over while they cleaned the A/C and put the seats back in. We ferried it back to New York and 3 days later we took a load of people down to the Caribbean with 254 passengers. While they were refueling the heat and humidity caused a strange odor to show up in the airplane as they had fumigated it good in NYC to cover the pig odor. I was standing near the door when the next 254 passengers for the return trip to the states. By then we had been sitting on the ground a couple of hours so the odor was pretty strong though not a pig odor; it was more like the odor of some kind of perfume.

The DC-8 we were flying on that trip was one of the ones that Korth paid cash for. The stretched DC-8 is my all time favorite A/C. It was so reliable and you could still fly it with complete electrical and or hydraulic failures; I don’t know of any other large aircraft in history that you could say the same about. It was such a reliable, tough airplane that they spent millions to update it with modern turbo fan engines producing much more power yet using much less fuel.

I have always been pleased that the U.S. doesn’t make a big deal about all of the good we do in the world but unfortunately, since they don’t make a lot of hullabaloo about our exploits our own young people aren’t aware of half of the things we have done for the citizens of the world. I know, because I was involved in many rescue and humanitarian missions. The U.S. military was always the first on the scene of earthquake, flood, and hurricane disasters world wide, and yet even many in our own country talk negatively about our contributions to humanity: how quickly the world forgets about World Wars 1 and 2 when Europe and much a Asia were spared from being conquered by the Evil Axis.

I wish all of our posterity could have the opportunity of visiting almost any part of the world, outside of the U.S. and Canada, other that the tourist areas. You would all be amazed at the difference that Freedom has made in the standard of livings. Paris, London, Amsterdam….any of the civilized countries of the world are very poor when you get away from the tourist attractions. Well I guess I’ll make this it, for now.

I love you all so….much! I just want you all to be grateful for the privilege you have inherited by being citizens of this country! It has it’s faults but we should be doing our best to correct them and must be careful in who we elect as our Representatives and Senators etc. there are far too many people in this country who don’t realize that freedom and the free enterprise system is why we are where we are today and if we allow our leadership to continue on this progressive and socialist road all of these advantages will disappear quickly. Socialism has never led any group to a higher standard of living except for the ruling class; a close case in point is Cuba, right here at our doorstep. Where FREEDOM wanes, so does the standard of living. As previously noted in this epistle East Germany was virtually enslaved until that wall came down and the free enterprise system was reinstated to some degree.