George’s 86th birthday

Cousin George’s 86th Birthday

My cousin, George Phillip Sicks, had an 86th birthday party that is really worth talking about. It consisted of a boat trip to and from Catalina Island, lunch at a fine restaurant, checking out the local shops, touring the island, and just visiting with some nice people. George’s wife, Justine, and step-daughter, Kathy Kingsbury did an outstanding job of planning and organizing. They invited George’s kids, grand-kids, cousins, and friends. They came from the east coast, Missouri, and several places in California. I don’t know what the count was, but there must have been at least 30 people.

George and Justine lived in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, as we did. We were to catch the boat for Catalina at Long Beach harbor. Having previously lived in the Los Angeles area for many years, George and some of the others were quite familiar with Long Beach and were going to drive up and be there by the 7:30 AM boarding time. Pat and I didn’t know the area so well, so we drove up the evening before and got a motel room. The next morning, we were lined up on the pier and waiting for the 7:30 boarding call. As we waited, we visited with those around us and made the acquaintance of those we didn’t know. Along came Kathy and Justine, passing out blue baseball caps with”80SICKS” embroidered on the front. How clever and perfect is that for George’s 86th birthday? I thought that was special and almost 20 years later, I still have that ball cap.

We boarded the boat and found a good seat on the outside deck. We departed and settled in for the 22-mile trip across the channel to the town of Avalon on Catalina. The hydro-foil boats make the trip in about an hour. It was a beautiful day with a blue sky and small waves and we were hoping to see some flying fish. The flying fish visit the waters around Catalina for several months of the year. It is said that they can soar out of the water to a height of 30 feet and then glide for up to 2/4 mile. We saw a half dozen of them while crossing to the island. It takes you by surprise when they first get airborne and then you watch them in disbelief.

We soon arrived in Avalon and disembarked. We were told when and where to meet for lunch and were turned loose to wander around town and see the sights. I didn’t know anyone in this branch of the family but as Pat and I wandered around town and spotted the blue “80Sicks” ball caps, we would strike up a conversation with that new-found relative.

At the appointed time, we all met at the specified restaurant for lunch and George’s birthday party. It was interesting to be in a room full of relatives I hadn’t seen before. There was a lot of laughing and carrying on and George seemed to have a great time.

After lunch we were free again to wander around until about 4:00 o’clock when we would meet at the pier for the return trip to Long Beach. Pat and I took the tour of the island and got to see the herd of buffalo and the interesting views from up on top. It’s a fascinating place. About 4:00 o’clock we met back at the pier for the boat trip back to Long Beach. Pat and I had a wonderful day, and George had a jim-dandy 86th birthday party.

The reason I didnt know these relatives was that I just met George when he was 82, and I was 63. When we did finally meet, we really hit it off and visited many times. Pat and I moved to Texas for 7 years, and George and Justine flew down and visited us twice. The way I finally met George is interesting, and if youd like to know, please read my story Finding George P. Sicks.

Dave Thomas and Terri Gray
June 22, 2018

 

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Patio Talk 8b: Miz Pat’s Wild Ride

 

Summer was ending. Russ, Doug, and Terri had enjoyed a wonderful vacation with their grandparents in El Dorado, Kansas. Pat was going to make the drive back to pick them up and bring them home.

Friday afternoon, Pat left work early. She drove home, changed clothes, grabbed a bite to eat, tossed her suitcase into the car and took off. It was a beautiful evening and Pat made good time, clearing the mountains and Imperial Valley and crossing the Colorado River into Yuma before dark. She continued across Arizona to Eloy and turned north, finally stopping for the night in Florence.

Pat was beat, working all day and then driving this far had taken its toll. She checked into a motel and pretty much crashed. She was awakened in the middle of the night by a lot of loud shouting. A man and woman were having a knockdown, drag out fight in the room next door. Pat tried to go back to sleep and after what seemed like hours, finally drifted off. Unfortunately, she couldn’t stay asleep. The noise next door seemed to rise and fall on a regular basis and she awoke as it reached it’s peak each time. Finally, she could stand it no longer. Sunrise was still something to be hoped for, but it wouldn’t be happening real soon. Pat gathered up her things, loaded them into the car, and headed out.

It was a joy to be in the car and away from the screaming. The warm Arizona night felt good and the clear desert air enhanced the abundant display of stars. Pat and her little Renault rolled across the desert floor, hit the first upgrade, and headed into the mountains. The sun came bouncing up and suddenly there was blue sky, red rocks, and green junipers to enjoy as she sped along.

Pat knew she was getting close to Salt River Canyon and, sure enough, she spotted the first signs,” Downgrade” and “Test Your Brakes.” She dutifully tested her brakes and then got to wondering what would happen if her brakes failed. Would she be able to get down the hill safely? By downshifting, could she control her speed and make it to the bottom in one piece?

To help you picture this, I should interject some information about the car. It was a 1969 Renault 4-door sedan. It had a 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed transmission (5 on the floor). It had quick steering, disc brakes, and Michelin steel-belted tires.

Pat considered the attributes of the car and decided to give it the test. She knew that the road zig-zagged all the way to the bottom with a lot of hairpin curves and switchbacks. She downshifted as she headed into the first turn and was on her way. She was busy shifting up and down and steering into the tight turns and it seemed she was going faster than she was. The windows were all down and the radio was blaring and it all contributed to the thrill of the ride. “Woweeee…this is more fun than Disneyland!” She had a busy time of it but made the curves safely. As she reached the canyon floor, she could see two Arizona Highway Patrol cars blocking the road with lights flashing. As she brought the Renault to a stop, one of the officers

approached the car and gruffly demanded to know, “Why were you trying to evade the police?” “I wasn’t evading the police” Pat said. “Then why didn’t you stop for this officer?” he said as he pointed to a car behind Pat’s car that also had flashing lights and a siren that was giving its final screech. Pat was amazed to see the cruiser behind her. She had been concentrating on the road so hard she hadn’t noticed the flashing lights and with the radio turned up full blast, hadn’t heard the siren.

They ordered Pat out of the car and all three of them were barking questions at her. “Where are you coming from?” “Where are you going?” “Why were you speeding?” Pat explained what she had done and apologized for having made a bad decision. The Highway Patrol guys were getting agitated and were becoming more intimidating every minute. They stepped away, a few feet, and were discussing arresting her. Pat suddenly, with a stroke of brilliance, remembered that a former high school classmate was high up in the chain of command of the Arizona Highway Patrol. Pat yelled at the officers “Why don’t you call your boss, Ray Smith (not his real name) about me.” “What”, said one of the Troopers. “Call your boss, Ray Smith, and tell him you are talking with his high school classmate, Pat Lee. He’ll vouch for me.”, she said.

The Troopers talked it over and one of them got in his car and got on the radio. Pat could see him talking and gesturing as he tried to explain the situation to Ray Smith or whoever was on the other end of the conversation. The trooper finished with the radio call and got out of the car and talked to his fellow officers. After a short discussion, all three of them approached Pat. The officer who had made the radio call looked Pat straight in the eye and said “You are to proceed straight to the New Mexico State Line. You are not to speed or break any other Laws. Now, get in your car and get going.” Pat jumped in her car and got on down the road. Checking her rear-view mirror constantly, she observed tat an Arizona Highway Patrol car was behind her all the way to the New Mexico line.

Completing her trip with no further drama, Pat arrived at her folks’ house in El Dorado anxious to see the kids. They greeted her with a glum “Hi Mom” and no hugs or kisses. She was crushed, expecting the kids to be as overjoyed about the reunion as she was. “Have you had fun?”, she asked. Doug said, “Grandma is a good cook and she bakes bread!” “Yes,” said Russ, “and we had something fun to do every day.” Terri wanted to back up her brothers and said “Yes, the food was good, and we went some place or did something fun every day.” Pat realized that the kids had indeed had a good time and were lamenting the fact that their summer was over. She perked up as she listened to the kids’ stories and they all had a good final visit with her folks.

Pat and the kids left for California the next morning Pat had promised herself that she would be a responsible driver and would not engage in any downhill races or other high jinx. Wouldn’t you know that her resolution couldn’t last? They had gotten most of the way home. They crossed the border into California at Yuma and crossed the Imperial Valley. They had left the desert floor and started up that long mountain grade that eventually gets you up above 6,000 feet. The Renault, with four people aboard, was laboring as they went up hill. Suddenly, there

was a honk, and Pat looked over at the VW that was creeping up beside her. The young man driving the car made a motion and mouthed the words “Wanna race?” Pat laughed and thought to herself that a Volkswagen and a Renault racing would look like two turtles in slow motion going up that grade. The kids were all for it and were begging her to race. Pat is thinking that anyone can beat a little underpowered VW “toy car”. On the other hand, she remembered her promise to herself not to do anything stupid on the way home. The competitive Pat won, and they were in a race. The kids were yelling and as they inched past the VW, they were waving at the guy to”c’mon’. They won the race, such as it was. A kid on a 10-speed bike could have taken them both. Regardless, it was a fitting end to a wonderful summer.

This story never seems to come to an end. Twenty years later, Pat went to a high school class reunion and ran into Ray Smith and his wife, also a former classmate. They spent a few minutes “catching up” and then Pat recounted her Salt River Canyon story. They all laughed about it and then, as they were parting, Ray said “Don’t ever use my name that way again!”.

Dave and Pat Thomas
May 24, 2018

 

Baby Cat: Here And There

We had never traveled with a cat. When we went off on vacation the cats and dogs stayed home. This trip was to be different, though. After retiring from work, Pat and I decided we needed something different. After living in California for forty years we wanted to get in a more central area and picked Texas as our new home. We made an exploratory trip and decided to buy a home. A cousin of mine owned a van line, an affiliate of United Van Lines, with offices in Wichita, Emporia, and Houston. His people gave us a decent quote and we decided to go with them. Also, I was thinking that if anything went wrong, I could call Cousin Ken and he would fix it.

At this time, the only animal we had left was Baby Cat. She was a mellow old girl, but we had no idea how she would do on the road. We didn’t want the two-day trip to be a traumatic experience for her, so we put some thought into her well-being.

Pat was going to be the driver. Macular degeneration had already messed up my vision. The State of California had already declared that my driver’s license would expire on December 31, 2001. We were leaving for Texas the next day.

We had a 7-passenger van and it was set up in the standard configuration. There were two sliding doors, two bucket seats in the front, two bucket seats in the middle, and a bench seat in the back. Behind the back seat there was a cargo area. We were only going to carry some personal items in the van and we stacked them on the back seat and in the cargo area.

To take care of Baby Cat, we placed a bath mat on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat and then placed a litter box on top of the mat. We hoped that would take care of any “accidents”. On the floorboard behind the front passenger seat, we placed a bowl of water, a bowl of dry food, and a small plastic plate for canned food. Under the driver’s seat, and handy to the litter box, we put a box of Zip-Lok plastic bags. The litter was the “clumping” kind so cleaning the litter box was no big deal. We put a roll of paper towels between the front seats and Pat kept her purse there. Those items served as a roadblock and kept the kitty from going between the seats and getting under Pat’s feet or between her and the pedals.

Baby Cat ended up with food and drink, a floor to stroll on, and the two middle seats for napping.

When traveling, we soon learned that the first few miles were the toughest. We could start down the road and within the first 15 minutes, Baby Cat would jump in the litter box and stink things up so bad we would almost gag. Pat would pull over at the first opportunity and we would clean the litter box. Once the poop was sealed in the plastic bag there was no odor and we would dispose of the bag at the first coffee stop.

Baby Cat always had an encore, too. Within the first 30 minutes, she would get sick at her stomach and throw up. What was funny, was that she would always run to the litter box and throw up in it. She never once made a mess on the carpet. After she had pooped and thrown up, she was good for the rest of the day. I know she was throwing up due to motion sickness. I remember, as a little kid, my Mom would always tell my sister and I not to look at the telephone poles as they flashed by or we would get sick. I think that’s what was getting Baby Cat. I had stacked that stuff in the one seat, so she would be high enough to see out the window, but she wouldn’t stay there. I even tried holding her, so she could see out and Pat could reach over and pet her, too. However, she would soon start squirming. I would reach back and set her down and she would run to the litter box and barf. This stuff happened on every trip we took with her. We finally realized it was inevitable and quit worrying about it.

Getting back to our move to Texas, we left San Diego early, on the morning of December 31, 2001, heading east on I-8. The weather was perfect for crossing the desert. We stopped for coffee and snacks in Yuma, Gila Bend, and the junction with I-10. By this time, we had developed a routine for caring for Baby Cat. We pulled into McDonald’s and parked where the van could be seen from a booth by a window. The temperature was mild, but we always cracked the windows for the kitty. By the time we got back to the car, Baby Cat would be wide awake, so we would spend a few minutes petting and talking to her., Sometimes, I would hold her for a few miles or until she got bored with it.

We headed south on I-10 with Baby Cat asleep most of the time. We went through Tucson where the walls of the embankment along the freeway are decorated so well. When we got to Willcox, we pulled off the highway at Rex Allen Drive to stop at McDonalds where Pat had a Diet Coke and I had coffee. You young whippersnappers may not know Rex Allen as “The Singing Cowboy” in the movies or as Frontier Doctor on TV. Oh, well.

We got to San Simon where my Grandpa once owned a quarter section of desert land and then crossed the border into New Mexico. We had considered spending the night in Los Cruces, but Pat said she had enough energy to go a little farther. We found a nice motel in one of the towns on the outskirts of El Paso. When we checked in, I told the desk clerk we had a cat with us. At this motel and on subsequent trips to Kansas and back to California the motels didn’t care and didn’t charge extra.

We took Baby Cat to the room first and let her look around. Then, we brought in the suitcases, litter box, food and water. We thought we had taken care of her needs well and we went on to dinner. When we returned to the room, Baby Cat was hiding under the bed. Leaving her alone in a strange place was more traumatic than we thought.

The next morning, wanting to get an early start, we quickly took the luggage, cat paraphernalia, and Baby Cat to the van. Pat and I went back inside and had a quick breakfast. We came out of the restaurant and headed for the van with Pat slightly ahead of me. She got there first and, peering inside, didnt see Baby Cat. She yelled that the cat had escaped and started unlocking the door. Im a diabetic and had my glucose meter in my hand. Hearing the urgency in Pats voice and worrying about the cat, I did something stupidI put the glucose meter on the roof of the car. We both had our sliding doors open and were looking like crazy for Baby Cat. Suddenly, Pat yells Here she is!Baby Cat came strolling out from the very back of the van. Relieved, we climbed in the car and tried to get back to breathing normally. We would both have gone nuts if the kitty was loose in that parking lot.

We got on the road and headed for El Paso. We hadnt gone far when I realized that my glucose meter wasnt in the glove compartment. I told Pat and she pulled over as soon as she could. I jumped out and checked the roof but of course, the meter was long gone. We realized there was nothing to do but find a drug store and buy a replacement. Of course, we also realized that it was just after 7:00 AM on January 1st, a holiday. As we hit

the outskirts of El Paso, we spotted a Wal-Mart and Pat got off at the next exit. We went into the Wal-Mart and found that the pharmacy was closed. We located the manager and asked her if she could get into the pharmacy and sell us a meter. She said she couldnt do that but if we would be patient she would be right back with some answers for us. A few minutes later she re-appeared and told us that there was a drug store about two miles down the road that was open and could take care of us. She gave us directions and sent us on our way. Sure enough, we found the place, bought a meter and were soon on our way.

Once that crisis was over, the rest of the day went well. In a couple of hours, we switched over to I-20 and went through Midland, Odessa, and Weatherford, and on to Keller. Traveling with Baby Cat went well. If anyone asked me for advice about traveling with a cat, I would first tell them what Ive told you. Next, I would suggest that they have a microchip implanted in their kitty and that she would wear a harness always, so shed be easier to catch.

Dave Thomas
March 18, 2018

Patio Talk 6

Our grand-daughter, Michelle, is a very busy young lady. She has a husband and daughter to care for, a demanding 40-hour job, a horse, pony, and goat, some chickens, and all the activities of a young married mother. Naturally, she must plan her life and budget her time to get everything done. Unfortunately, despite all the planning, Mother Nature sometimes throws you a curve. That’s what gives us stuff to talk about, out here on the patio. For instance:

Up where Michelle lives in northern California, her daughter’s school was going to plant a garden for the kids. They needed fertilizer and put out a call for manure. Last weekend, Michelle decided to clean up her pasture and haul the stuff over to the school.

Shell gets her shovel and wheel barrow and starts cleaning up on the opposite side of the pasture from the horse shed. Suddenly, here comes a hail storm! The storm comes in fast and the hail stones are big enough to hurt like the devil when they hit you. Shell glanced up and got hit on the cheek by a big one. She watched as the horse, pony, and goat ran for the shed. She wanted to do the same thing but knew she couldn’t make it without getting beat up. She thought of running to the trees, but they were coastal cedars which are known for losing big limbs in a storm.

Being a smart girl, she did what she could. She dumped that load of manure, turned the wheel barrow upside down, and

crawled under it! She said her clothes were a mess and she didn’t smell too good, but she didn’t have any bumps on her head.

Dave Thomas
February 28, 2018

 

Fun Is Where You Find It

Sometimes you have to create your own fun. You’ve probably heard about the scam where you get a phone call and some kid says he is calling from Microsoft. They have been getting reports that your computer is full of viruses and may crash at anytime. The guy says that you need to get rid of the viruses and he will guide you through it. The idea is for him to get you to enable the “Remote” function so he can take control of your computer. Once he has control, he will download everything you’ve got and look for private information he can steal and use. We got another of those calls yesterday. I didn’t recognize the Caller ID so I decided to have some fun. Pat picked up the fun in another room and listened in.

The phone rings. Me: “Hello”. Scammer: “IS this David Thomas?” Me: “What can I do for you?” Scammer: “This is Microsoft calling. We are getting many reports that your computer has been attacked by viruses. Sit down in front of your computer and I will guide you through…” Me (interrupting): “OH my God! What is happening? Is it going to blow up?” Scammer: “No, Mr. Thomas, it won’t blow up. Sit down in front of your computer and I will guide…” Me (interrupting again) “Oh my God! Is it going to catch fire? I don’t know what to do!” Scammer: “No, Mr. Thomas, it won’t catch fire. Sit down in front of your computer and I will guide you…” Me: Oh, I’m an old man! I don’t know what to do! I’m getting a headache! I feel sick! I’m going to take a nap. Good bye!” I hang up. Pat and I are laughing our fool heads off and the phone rings. Pat answers and it’s the same guy. Scammer: “I need to speak to Mr. Thomas.” Pat: “I think he’s having a heart attack! I’ve got to call 911.” And she hangs up. Pat and I are laughing again. In a few minutes the phone rings again. Pat answers and it’s the same guy. Scammer: “I need to speak to Mr. Thomas>” Pat: “He’s having a heart attack and they are just putting him in the ambulance. Oh,oh…they are leaving for the hospital. I’ve got to go!” and she hangs up.

This was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. We got some laughs and tied up this moron for a few minutes so he couldn’t pester anyone else.

Dave Thomas
December 6, 2017

 

Patio Talk 5

Patio Talk 5

Matrimony: A Resume Builder

We just celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary. We don’t know how 60 years passed so quickly but it happened. but As you can imagine, it comes up in conversation. I’m not going to bore you with the details but will tell you how this started.

I got out of Navy boot camp in May of 1957 and went home to Augusta, Kansas on a 30-day leave. My friend, Jack Watson, fixed me up with a date with Pat, a girl he worked with in the Auditing Department of Sears Roebuck in Wichita. On that first date I realized that she was “the one”. She was cute and smart and sassy so I told her I was going to marry her. She probably thought I was nuts.

I sold my car when I enlisted but fortunately, another friend, Johnny Luding, solved my transportation problem. Johnny was working 2nd shift at Boeing and I would ride to work with him, drop him off, and go pick up Pat. At the end of the evening, I would drop Pat off at her place and go back to Boeing and wait for John to get off work. The 30-day leave whizzed by with Pat and I seeing each other as much as possible and getting acquainted.

When my leave was up, I reported to Naval Air Station Glenview, Illinois, located just outside Chicago. I would be there for 4 or 5 months while waiting for orders to school. Upon reporting to the base, I was assigned to the Information and Recruiting Office as my duty station.

There I was, ready and eager to get married, and no money. At that time, you came out of boot camp as a lowly E-2 drawing $85,80 per month. I needed another job.

I’ve always enjoyed working and sometimes had 2 or 3 jobs at a time. If you’ve been reading my stories you know that I’ve had a variety of jobs. During my pre-nuptial days at Glenview I added at least 3 job titles to my resume. The first spare time job was as a Watchman or Security Guard. Like most Navy installations, Glenview had what was called “4 Section Duty Scheduleand every sailor was assigned to one of the four sections and had to stay aboard the base on their duty day. There were a number of jobs that had to be covered, all things that were necessary to keep the base running. Security was a major item and there had to be a duty driver to carry people and paperwork around the base and people had to be available to man the phones. If a sailor had a hot date or some other compelling reason to leave the base, he could hire someone to stand the duty for him. I put out the word that I would stand duty at a reasonable rate and had quite a few takers.

The hardest watch and the one that most guys wanted to get out of, was the mid-watch (midnight to 4:00 AM) at the hangers. It’s hard to sleep for a couple of hours, get up and stand a four-hour watch, and then go back to sleep. I charged $10.00 for the mid-watch and got all the business I wanted. I didn’t mind it because the summer nights were warm, and I could look at the airplanes.

When walking the hanger watch, you had to carry a Watchman’s Clock. It was a large clock, several inches in diameter, with a strap on it so you could loop it around your neck and shoulder. The “post” or “beat” took you around the hangers and at strategic places there were Key Boxes containing a key that you had to insert into the clock you were carrying. This recorded that you were at the right place at the right time as you walked your post. At the end of your shift, the person you reported to could to check the clock and know if you had covered the ground as you were supposed to.

2004

The next job title I acquired was “Baby Sitter”. As I said earlier, I worked in the Information and Recruiting Office. The department head was a LCDR Sanford. Mr. Sanford called me into his office one day and asked if I would like a babysitting job that evening. I immediately said yes, and he filled me in on the details. The Executive Officer (2nd in command) of NAS Glenview was a Commander Valley. He and his wife had to attend a function that evening, and their regular babysitter had been called out of town. Commander Valley and his wife felt much more comfortable having a babysitter for their 15-year-old daughter than just leaving her on her own. The job was located on the base, so transportation wouldn’t be a problem. The Captain and the Exec were both provided with houses on the base.

That first evening went well. We played checkers and watched TV and listened to records. Commander Valley had purchased some kits from Radio Shack and built a terrific hi-fi set. It was a nice evening and the daughter was a very pleasant young lady. When the Commander and his wife got home that evening they told me that they would be busy the following Saturday and they could use my help. Their daughter wanted to play a round of golf and she needed a caddy as well as a babysitter. I carried the golf bag on Saturday and did two more evening stint s before the regular sitter got back. It was a pleasant way to earn a few bucks.


2007: 50th Wedding Anniversary

The 3rd job title I picked up is a little harder to figure out. The closest I can come is “Ironer”. Probably, the next best would be “Washerwoman” but I didn’t wash anything for anyone and I don’t want to be referred to as a woman. The ironing job was much like taking candy from a baby. One evening at the barracks, I had washed my civilian clothes and was ironing one of the shirts. An iron and ironing board were available in the barracks for anyone to use. Thanks to my Mom, I knew how to use them. When I was a little kid, she said she wasn’t going to turn me loose in the adult world unless I could take care of myself. She taught me basic cooking skills, how to clean house, how to wash clothes and iron, how to darn socks and sew on buttons, and a lot of other stuff. So, as I ironed my shirt in the barracks that evening, two guys came in. They saw what I was doing and one of them said “Hey, I’ve got a date tonight, will you iron a shirt for me?” I said “No, I’m not ironing your shirt, but I’ll let you use the iron.” He said, “I can’t do that but if you will do it, I’ll pay you.” “How much?” “I’ll pay $2.00 a shirt” he says. ‘It’s a deal!’ I say. That’s how I became an Ironer. These spoiled kids I lived with in the barracks didn’t know how to do anything for themselves, so I easily grabbed several customers.

So, there are three little money-making jobs I added to my repertoire. Pat was busy and extending her range also. She was working her job in the Sears Auditing Department and while figuring out our wedding was learning things like “Event Planner” and “Budget Director” and Purchasing Agent. She shopped for wedding rings and with her Sears 10% discount got mine for $12.00 and hers for $10.00.

 

Pat at 77, G-Grand-daughter,
Quetzal, at 22 months.

In October, I was transferred to Norman, Oklahoma to attend Aviation Prep. School prior to being sent to Memphis to attend Aviation Electronics School. While at Norman, I took and passed the test for E-3 and I think my pay went up to $99.00 per month. Veteran’s Day was coming up and we decided to take advantage of the 3-day weekend and get married. The time passed quickly, and I hitch-hiked home. We were married on November 9, 1957.

After 60 years, I think I’m qualified to say a few words. Marriage is two people doing the best they can for each other, every single day.

Here’s Pat at 78

Dave Thomas
November 14, 2017

 

Patio Talk: 4

Patio Talk: 4

Pat’s step-dad passed away and she was going back to El Dorado, Kansas to help with the arrangements and attend the funeral. It was a busy time at work so I decided to stay home. Our firefighter son, Doug, said he could work it out with his job and he would be glad to go. Fortunately they could book a flight for the next day. It was September, so they were both dressed in casual warm weather clothing. Pat was wearing tight jeans and high heels and Doug was wearing shorts and a tank top. As was the current fashion on both the east and west coasts, Doug was wearing a fanny-pack containing his billfold, sun glasses and other necessary items.

The flight went without a hitch and they soon landed in Wichita. They rented a car and drove to El Dorado where they spent the night in a motel. The next morning, they went to a restaurant for a good breakfast to start a busy day. Entering the restaurant, they found it busy and noisy. They soon found out what was causing the commotion.

The table next to them was occupied by a bunch of guys having a good time. They all looked to be in their 60’s, deeply tanned and wearing bib overalls and John Deere ball caps. They were busy laughing and razzing each other. Obviously, they were good friends and Pat heard one of them say that this was a weekly get together. They had probably all done a half-day’s work before coming in for breakfast. They carried on, telling their stories and entertained each other and everyone else in the place. Pat noticed that a couple of the guys were watching her and Doug and whispering back and forth. She was aware that she and Doug looked different than the locals. She also realized that they may appear to be an older woman and her boy-toy companion. Doug could certainly play that part. He is good looking (like all our kids) and heavily muscled from years of weight lifting.

The rest of the men kept talking and laughing and were telling wild stories, probably to see what reaction they would get from Pat, Doug, and the rest of the crowd. For example, one guy says “I baled and stacked hay yesterday and I’m sure stiff and sore this morning. Guess I’m getting old.” “I know what you mean,” the guy next to him said, “I’m only having sex with the wife 3 or 4 times a week now. Old age is hell!”

Pat and Doug finished their breakfast, got up, paid the check, and were leaving. Suddenly, the loudest guy at the neighboring table jumped up. “Hey,he yells, “That guy forgot his purse!” Mortified and red-faced, Doug retrieved his fanny-pack and headed for the door. Apparently, a fashion statement on the west coast can be misunderstood in the Midwest.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 28, 2017

P