De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


A Slight Improvement

The days were still blending into one another as 1978 began. Everything had settled into a bland, boring routine. I had gotten more active at Church, which helped a bit. Some of the people I had gotten to know lived on Base, so at least I had people to visit from time to time -- the Tureks, the Gunnels, the Fites and the Kenneys. In early February, I actually got a date with Barb. It's a pity that I wasn't keeping a journal then so that I could record the exact date. Best first date I've ever had.

We arranged to meet at the Auburn chapel, so she had to give me directions. This involved the old standby of "if you pass a house with a white fence, you've gone too far". Sure enough, I pulled off of I-85 onto the secondary road and headed for the chapel. Straining my eyes in the darkness, I passed a house with a white fence and realize I'd gone too far. When I went in and found her, we had a good laugh.

It's intriguing, what we remember about incidents in our lives, and what we forget. Barb and I went to see a movie, but I have no idea what it was. I do remember walking over to the theatre and back to her dorm, and I remember sitting in the parlor with her. But the movie is a blank. On the drive back to Maxwell, I knew I had been in the presence of someone extraordinary.

It's also rather sad how some things turn out. I remember a Church meeting to plan activities for the singles, and although I had no official calling to be there, I was invited in at the last minute. Unfortunately, I demurred, thinking that I had no place being there. Big mistake. Sometime during that meeting, someone said something to Barb that they had no business saying. It wasn't mean; it wasn't mean to be harmful. It was thoughtless, and it made her feel very defensive about our budding relationship. As soon as I saw her come out of the meeting, I knew something had happened. And our relationship was never the same afterwards.

Somehow, we managed to remain friends, although she was always a bit distant and reserved. My suspicions weren't confirmed until many years later.

It must have been in '78 that the Kenney's came to Maxwell, and Jim and I wound up doing a good deal of deer hunting together. Considering the time and money we put into the effort, we paid a lot of money for the meat we brought back. I only shot one deer; Jim got two -- a good-sized doe and a barely legal spiked fawn. But we had fun.

It was in late '78 that our office at the Wing level merged with its counterpart at Air University when AU ceased to be a Major Command and became a subordinate unit to Air Training Command. This was a very unpopular -- not to mention uninspired -- move. What they should have done is simply make it a Separate Operating Agency, but it wasn't my decision. At any rate, we had to pack up the entire office and move it across base. This threw things into a state of chaos for several weeks, but we did survive.

Shortly after the reorganization, I was assigned responsibility for running the Student Statistical Reporting System, which tracked all the students in the various classes at Maxwell, Gunter (across town) and also at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) up at Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, Ohio. This was my introduction to the world of computers. It was also about this time that a family by the name of Lucas came to Maxwell. They had an Apple II, which I learned to use a bit. By comparison to today's PCs, it was pretty primitive. Back then, though, it was like something out of "Star Trek".

Another family that moved into the area about this time was the Stevens family. In the beginning, they annoyed me to no end about the fact that I was single, but eventually the light went on and they became a lot more sympathetic. Not only did I wind up having Thanksgiving dinner with them for the rest of my time at Maxwell, I stayed with them the night before I departed the area for New Mexico. And we've kept in touch over the years.



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