Patio Talk 8a: Summertime!


Summer is coming! We are on the patio, wearing jackets, and enjoying the afternoon. The wind has a slight chill to it, but the sun is out, and we are anticipating the warm days ahead. Thinking of summer, makes us think of past vacation trips, especially those we took when the kids were young.

Pat and I were born and raised in Kansas but have been living in San Diego since 1958. After we had kids we made it a point to get back to Kansas every year to see our folks and let the kids get to know them.

As we made our vacation trips, we refined the route by considering road conditions, scenery and interesting places to stop (like trading posts and souvenir shops). Our favorite way to go was also the shortest so we were very happy about it. The best part was the trip through the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. We passed the copper mines of the Clifton and Morenci areas, went through the spectacular Salt River Canyon, and went through places with interesting names like Show Low, Pie Town, and Tucumcari.

Today, we’ve been talking about the summer Russ and Doug were 10 or 11 and Terri was 8 or 9. (None of us can remember). Pat’s Mom had invited the kids back to Kansas for the summer and they were going nuts with anticipation. To go fishing and boating with Grandma and Grandpa would be the most exciting thing that had ever happened.

Pat and I were trying to figure out how to make it happen. We didn’t have the money for airline tickets. I didn’t have any sick days or vacation time on the books, but Pat said she could work things out with her job and would take them. I wasn’t too crazy about the idea at first, but she convinced me that she would be fine. She was smart, had a lot of common sense, and was a good driver. Her car was in excellent condition. It was a 1969 Renault 4-door with standard transmission, “5 on the floor”. It was a small car, had” quick” steering, was easy and comfortable to drive, and the best part, was that it got 36 miles per gallon.

The day to leave finally arrived and Pat and the kids loaded up for an uneventful trip back to El Dorado, Kansas. Pat only got to visit with her folks for a couple of hours before getting a few hours sleep and heading for home the next day.

The time spent with Grandma Melba and Grandpa Eddie provide the kids with experiences and memories they will never forget. The grandparents spent a lot of their time outdoors, fishing, camping, boating, and shooting. They were thrilled to have someone to share it with and immediately got the kids involved in all kinds of new things. One of the big outings was an overnight camping trip at Lake El Dorado. After a full day of running around, the kids went right to sleep in the camping trailer. During the night, Melba and Eddie were awakened by the screaming of the city’s tornado warning sirens. Not one kid woke up, they were down for the

count. Melba and Eddie didn’t have the heart to wake them and decided to stay right where they were and take their chances. A few days later, the kids got to experience the adrenaline rush of a tornado alert when the sirens went off and they got to spend a few hours in the neighbor’s cellar.

Eddie enjoyed archery so one day they went out in the country and learned what bows and arrows were about. Russ and Doug were starting to get some size on them, but Terri was still small, so it wasn’t as much fun for her. Doug remembers that even with a protector strapped to your forearm, that bowstring inflicted a lot of pain when you shot an arrow.

The house was just as entertaining as any place. It was a 2-story house with the garage occupying the lower floor and the living quarters upstairs. Eddie kept his fishing boat in the garage and he had a lot of tools and fishing equipment there also. He had a wood lathe in there also and helped each kid turn a lamp from a beautiful piece of black walnut.

The yard was just as much fun as the garage. There was a rope swing hanging from a very tall tree that the kids all enjoyed. The most fascinating thing in the yard was the discovery of the locust (cicada) shells attached to the bark of the trees. We don’t have cicadas in southern California so finding the shells or exoskeletons on the trees was intriguing. The kids foraged throughout the neighborhood and collected all the shells in sight. They brought them back to the house and hung them all on the side of one of the elm trees. One of the neighbors said he had never seen so many locust shells in one place.

One morning was spent shooting Blue Rock. Blue Rock was a brand of clay pigeon sold by Remington. The boys were old enough and big enough to really enjoy this. Terri wanted to shoot, too, so Melba went over the gun safety rules with her and showed her how to hold the shotgun’s stock tight against you to minimize bruising. Then, Melba stood behind her with her hands on Terri’s shoulders so the recoil wouldn’t knock her down. Terri said that it hurt but she really had fun.

At the beginning of the vacation, when they were out driving on country roads, Eddie stopped the car whenever he saw a box tortoise. He kept a lookout for the turtles until each kid had one. This was aa fascinating treat as we don’t have box tortoises in southern California. They kept the tortoises and fed and cared for them until the vacation was over and then turned them loose.

Russ, Doug, and Terri had a summer that was full of “firsts” and highlights. They saw and experienced things that we don’t have in southern California like lightning bugs, cicada shells, chiggers, and tornado sirens. They got to shoot skeet and fish for blue gill also. I’ll end this by recounting one of the stories that Russ will never forget. They were in the car and traveling down a country road. Melba was driving. Russ was riding shotgun in the front passenger seat and Doug and Terri were in the back seat. Russ was watching the countryside while Melba and

the other two kids were jabbering and laughing. Russ saw a semi pulling a Russ kept his eyes on the truck as it was a pretty wide truck to be meeting on this narrow country road. stock trailer loaded with cattle approaching. As they closed within a few yards, at least two of the cattle started urinating, spraying the yellow liquid into the lane of their oncoming car. Russ tried to interrupt the levity of the other three in the car. He wanted to yell, “Grandma, roll up your window!” but it was too late. The yellow stream struck her in the face and knocked her glasses off. At first, they were all in shock as Melba brought the car to a stop. Then, Then, the kids broke out laughing as Melba tried to collect herself and dry her face.

The wonderful summer with their grandparents ended. The grandparents were worn out and the kids’ heads were crammed full of stories of their adventures.

Dave and Pat Thomas May 16, 2018

P.S. There is more to this story and we’ll tell you about it in Patio Talk 8b: Mi Pat’s Wild Ride.



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


Baby Cat

Our home on The Woods Drive, in El Cajon, was built on a hillside and was, of necessity, a multi-level home. Additionally, the developers had worked around the giant boulders that were scattered throughout the area and included them in the landscapes. If a boulder was in the way of a fence, they just fenced right up to it, cut a board to fit the contour, and continued on the other side. Knowing this will help you picture the dramatic events that occurred the night Baby Cat came to live with us.

The house next door was downhill from us. Our back deck was even with the ridge of their roof. The person who lived there was a nice little lady, a widow, and a grandmother. She lived by herself most of the time but sometimes had a teenage grandson stay with her when he was having trouble getting along with his parents.

Pat and I were working out in the yard one Saturday when the neighbor lady yelled at us. She wanted us to see the cute little kitten her grandson had brought with him that morning. We went over and saw the cutest little black and yellow cat with very unusual markings. We talked for a few minutes, petted the kitten, and went back to our yard work.

A few days went by and we hadn’t seen the neighbor lady. Pat asked another lady about it and learned that “grandma” had a stroke and then went to a rehab facility. After a couple of days, the grandson was ordered to return home to his parents.

Another day or two had gone by and Pat and I were caught up in our regular routine. We went to bed one night at the regular time. It was summer and since our bedroom windows were 25 or 30 feet above ground and not accessible, we left them open. Pat was awakened a couple of hours later by a crying noise. She got up and went to the window and heard a kitten meowing loudly and with anxiety. Figuring that it was that little neighbor kitten, she went downstairs to check. She stepped out on the back deck and heard the kitten’s cries coming from the back yard, next door. It was a bright, moonlit night so she went down the steps into the yard. The kitten was still crying, and she wanted to get to it, but the fence was 5 feet tall. Fortunately, this was one of the spots where a boulder, at least 8 feet in diameter, had been incorporated into the fence. The boulder had enough bumps, cracks, and crevices that it looked as if it could be climbed, so Pat started up. Being in her pajamas and bare footed, she was hardly dresses for rock climbing, but she decided to give it a go. She slipped a few times but reached the top and slid down the other side into the neighbor’s yard.

Pat could still hear the kitten crying. The sounds seemed to be coming from under the deck which was about 2 feet off the ground and open, all the way around. She moved slowly along the edge of the deck trying to protect her feet. She got to the place where the kitten’s cries seemed loudest and got down on her hands and knees and peered under. The moon light was bright enough that she could see and sure enough…there’s that black and yellow kitty with the big eyes. With a sigh of relief, Pat reached for the kitty but was brought up short by the sensation that she was being watched. She turned toward the end of the deck and there were two big coyotes watching her! OH, my gosh! Pat says she understood for the first time what it meant say “I was so scared, the hair on my arms stood up!” Grabbing the kitty, she got to her feet and started backing away. The coyotes just stood there, watching. Reaching the boulder, Pat started climbing. This side of the rock was slicker and since she had the kitten in one hand Pat was slipping and sliding and her anxiety level was getting higher as she tried to get to the top. The coyotes had moved a few feet as if to get a better look at her. She finally made it to the top, slid down the other side, and ran to the stairs. When she got up to the deck, she turned to look, and the coyotes were still staring up at her. She shuddered and went in the house and closed and locked the door.

The next morning, I was up first and as I entered the bathroom I heard a noise coming from the shower. I opened the shower door and there was that little black and yellow kitten! There was a towel on the floor for a bed and she had a bowl of water and some cat food. I wanted to keep moving so I could leave for work on time. I did my stuff and went on to the kitchen and got the coffee pot started. In a few minutes, Pat joined me in the kitchen and I said to her “There’s a kitten in our shower.” She replied, “Yeah, and you slept through all the excitement.” Then, she proceeded to tell me the story I just related to you. After hearing all the exciting details, I was amazed that she and the kitten hadn’t both ended up as a midnight snack for those coyotes.

We discussed what to do with the kitten. The “grandma” was going to be in rehab for an extended period and the grandson had abandoned the kitty and left her for the coyotes so we concluded that we should keep her. We already had a mature cat, Ms./Rambo, so we got in the habit of calling the little one “Baby Cat”. She grew up to be a mellow and loving cat-person and we enjoyed her company until she passed away at the age of 16.

Dave and Pat Thomas
January 13, 2018


Izzie 6b: Still In The Game

Our cat, Isabella, plays Hide & Seek with the same joy and passion as she did five years ago. She made up the game and still only plays it with Pat. I told you about this in “Izzie 6: Chase & Hide & Seek” and Lizzie 6a: The Games.” The girls are a little older, Izzie being 14 and Pat being 80, but they still play with gusto.

Thanksgiving has come and gone so our Christmas tree is up and all the decorations are in place. Last evening, Pat and I were watching television when suddenly we heard Izzie come galloping down the hall. When we are outside, and she is hunting lizards she can run through dried leaves without making a sound. But, when she wants to play, she can sound like a herd of wild horses.

Izzie raced on into the living room, came to a screeching halt, and started prancing around. She made eye contact with Pat to make sure she was watching and the dashed behind the recliner. Pat responded to her cue and jumped to her feet, not letting on that we had seen Izzie sneak over behind the Christmas tree. Next, Pat goes into her search routine. She goes around the room looking behind chairs, under the couch and behind doors. Pat carries on something terrible. ” Where’s my Isabella? Where’s my cat? I can’t find her! “She goes down the hall and peeks into the bedroom’s. “Where’s my Izzie?” After a couple minutes of this, Pat comes back and sits down. “I can’t find her. I give up.”

We sit there quietly and watch TV for a couple of minutes. Suddenly, Izzie leaps out from behind the Christmas tree. She makes a big deal of it. She extends her claws and kneads the carpet, making a popping sound as she pulls her paw back. Finally, she prances around, and I’d swear there is a grin on her face like a little kid. “I won, I won!” We clap and cheer and let her enjoy her big moment.

Dave Thomas
December 9, 2017


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.


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