I need to call him more often. Rick was my father’s step-dad, but the only Grandpa that I ever knew, even though he was only in our lives intermittently due to distance. If you follow the link above, it will give more information about Rick’s military service, including how he saved the life of a 15 year old German soldier and met him again by accident over 50 years later.Nick and I were lucky enough to spend a week of our honeymoon with him and his lovely Southern belle of a wife, Mary, in Destin, Florida. They had a barbecue lunch today of ribs, white-silver corn off the back of a truck, and baked beans. They are going to the pier tonight to listen to the Baldwin Pops play patriotic music, drink “libations” and watch fireworks, while the kids ride their bikes.
Rick is 89, but his voice is steady, and he is still a firecracker himself. Rick was flown to Washington D.C. on an Honor Flight in 2010, and he raises money to send other World War II and terminally ill vets to the memorials there. He told me how touched he was by the many people who came up to him and thanked him personally for his service, including immigrants from France, Romania and Israel. He asked me to tell my kids that he had fought for their freedom and would continue to do so.
Then he ended our conversation with this joke:
A weathered aviator sat at a bar in his leather bomber jacket. A woman came up to him and asked, “Are you a real aviator?”
“I flew B-17s in World War II and F-51s in the Korean War, so I sure am!” he replied. “What are you?”
“Well I think about naked women in the morning, noon and night,” she said. “I’m a lesbian.”
Shortly later, a young man came up to the aviator and asked, “Are you a real aviator?”
“Well, son. I thought I was. But I guess I’m a lesbian.”
Ba Dump Bump