Need something to laugh about? Here you go …
Lolly and I were blessed with two children. We’re proud of both of them, but there were times when each of them managed to turn a pair of adult faces as red as faces can get.
Let’s start with David, who was born in 1961 and was just 6 months old when we made the 15,000-mile zigzag trek from Karachi to New London, and 3,300-mile drive from there to California. Just a year later we were transferred to Hill AFB, Utah to take over a training program that was not doing well.
One of the men who worked for me at Hill was Staff Sergeant Irving Mitchell, a great guy, good friend, and hard worker. Lolly and I soon got to know both Mitch and his young wife very well.
The Mitchells lived in Layton, just south of the base, in a house located on a sloping hill. It had a 30-foot long grassy front yard that slanted down 20 feet to the street below, which sloped down 400 yards to an intersection.
One Sunday when David was just a year-and-a-half-old we left him sleeping in the back seat of our red Mercury Comet while we stopped by for just a minute to say hello to Mitch and his wife, who were outside in their front yard. While we were talking I saw that David had climbed over into the front seat and was standing at the steering wheel and messing with the gearshift on the steering column.
I immediately ran down the lawn to put him back where he belonged. It was good thing I ran; I was no more than halfway to the car when it began to roll because David had moved the gearshift into neutral.
Ever try to catch a car that has a 50-foot lead on a steep hill? Oh, boy! How I caught up with that Mercury, got the driver side door open while running, jumped in, and got it stopped I will never know. However, I can tell you this much: in another 200 feet it would have been in that busy intersection.
My fault, of course — never leave a kid alone in a car, not even for “a minute or two.”
Our next “most embarrassing moment” came just three years later on Okinawa. Lolly, I, and Francis, our 18-month-old second born, were in a temporary Christmas Annex set up by the Base Exchange. It was composed of about 100 flat counters covered with red cloths and stacked with toys. Lolly and I were choosing toys when a little hand pulled out of hers and she turned around to grab it again.
“Hey!” she said. “Where did Francis get to?”
I turned and looked, but didn’t see a small face wreathed by blond curls. I then zipped to the end of the counter to see where our youngest had strayed to. Uh-oh! No signs of any kid.
Then began 15 panicky minutes spent running circles around counters and up and down aisles with no luck. Finally, we quit and dashed to the front desk to shamefully report a missing kiddo.
Guess who was sitting on that front desk happily eating an ice cream cone? Francis!
The “counters” were just sawhorses covered with plywood and red cloths. To a tiny 18-month-old tyke the whole store had been a place for a casual stroll under several very large, but also rather low ceilings.
Talk about embarrassing!