More of Bob's Stories

Care to take a peek into my fantasies? We have "more-than-one" cat in our household. I like cats but multitudes of them oft fray the nerves and I drift in and out of a hallucinogenic haze when their numbers become "just too much."

Enter my fevered mind, please.

On a very, very hot mid-Summers day when watering my garden I see a fine, fluffy haughty cat strolling with great confidence behind a fence or some other "blind." I can see the cat but the cat can't see me. A well directed arch of water from the hose can, with practiced skill, land directly upon the strutting pet. Instant gratification. Lots of action, no harm done. Lots of day left to dry off. The trick is to not let the cat know you did it. Hypocrisy rules. Sympathize with the cat when it comes to tell of its adventures. I purr to it that only I can protect it from the wicked water. Gentle reader, if you sense of honor precludes you from actually getting the animal wet you can direct the "fruit of the hose" to land just beside the cat. This is especially satisfying if the subject is on concrete.

The water makes a wonderful "crack!" as it hits the cement next to the feline. The cat is then both startled by the noise and aware it is the target of WATER. Sometimes a cat will gain considerable altitude when that happens and turns in the air, 360 degrees. In Olympic grading that is good for an 8.9. I HAVE A DREAM: The cat is walking by the swimming pool...the rogue water streams up and down, and by some tragic accident, lands next, and just north, of the feline. The complacent beast leaps skyward, turns 360 degrees, drifts to the south and plunges into the pool. A perfect "10" and a "hat trick." Could anything be better? I think not. Cats swim well. Remember, it is a warm day.

I feel justified in dreaming this as they have "accidents" on my shoes on a daily basis and never apologize or say they will not do it again. Yea, they guarantee it will happen the next day.

Embarrassing the cat is a "comic device" or a "deflation of pretension." It is an honored part of humor and show business. I feel one should get maximum use of house pets. My motto is "never hurt, but involve them fully in every facet of your life." Make them feel like they are more than a decoration but part of the rich, colorful weave of the fabric of society.

Am I wrong? I don't think so. They never turn down dinner.

This is only a dream. Don't try this at home. Get your own dream. This is all in fun. I love my cats. But every once in a while..

From the President's Column, B-17 Combat Crewmen & Wingmen organization.

My memory keeps going back to my first day in the Army. Initiation into the armed services sticks to our brain cells as a significant "first." Fortunately I went to Basic Training at Ford Ord in California, which is as good as you can get if you are forced into outdoor activities in generously fitting governmental clothes (one size fits all). We arrived , in the dark, on a bus, in the rain, on Easter Sunday morning. The aroma of breakfast wafted through closed windows. An evil precursor of things to come.

Surly cooks arose early to welcome the new recruits with a breakfast of fried chicken. M-m-m-m, greasy chicken at 4:30 A. M., skin and all. My choice from the ala carte portion of the menu would have been steaming buffalo chips before fried chicken. Did I mention the chicken was greasy? Greasy but tantalizingly fresh as the tanker truck that dispensed the piping hot fat still had its hose hooked up to the filler pipe outside the mess hall. The cooks managed to get grease in everything, including the ice cream which was served with the chicken. Anything less than chicken and ice cream for breakfast would have been barbaric.

I made a youthful blunder in my choice of entertainment equipment to take to Basic Training. A very small radio might have gotten by, a deck of cards surely would have made the cut. I brought a polo mallet. My feverish mind told me I would be sent back to Los Angeles if I showed such poor taste. The mallet was on the next bus back. I stayed. The sergeant said polo was "croquet on a pony." The cooks, always humorously disadvantaged, heard about the polo mallet fiasco. Over the next 12 weeks, I scrubbed lots of pots and pans while riding a saw horse.

I was assigned to Fort Ord where we were allowed, on Sunday, to languish in bed until 8:00 A. M. then go to the mess hall in civvies. Sundays boasted a menu featuring a wide choice of potatoes & pork to go with "eggs to order." I could hardly wait to make my egg selections...poached, lightly steamed with freshly ground pepper. When the line snaked by the grill I saw 75 eggs, dancing and crackling in an overheated sea of grease. My choice of "eggs to order" consisted of pointing at two of them and boldly ordering, in a booming voice, "THOSE!" So much for eggs to order.

Send us your "service initiation" stories for publication.

BOB STANE, Past President

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