Thursday, November 15, 2018

Jeezum Crow!

The Nuke has always been a straight shooter, a teller of truths, oft ready to throw the BS flag. When she was young I thought her the most logical being I had ever met. I knew she was of my blood due to the family resemblance (which I will get to in a moment), but I also knew that she got her forthrightness from her Mom, The Missus Herself.

Once upon a time, no, that's how one starts a fairy tale, this is (mostly) a true story. So let's just say...

Back in the day -

I had received a much desired assignment to Germany, to NATO as a matter of fact. As we were to report there no later than the 6th of January, in the year 19 and 92, I thought it would be wondrous to head back to the homeland for an entire month.

The Missus Herself suggested that ten days might be easier on both her and my Dad. Her, because as a native born and raised Korean lady, she was encouraged, nay, required!, by her upbringing to be exceedingly polite to my parents. She often thought that I was, perhaps, a bit flippant and too much the free spirit around her parents. Now I, being American born and raised in an older tradition than these modern times, was taught to respect my elders. Though I, as a great goofball and sometime oaf (amateur, I never went pro) tend to see many things in this world as somehow amusing. Which reminds me of a story...


When we were newlyweds, still living in Korea, my mother-in-law was visiting and expressed the thought that she was feeling a bit peckish. It was rather late but there was a takeout place just down the street which was still open. I, of course, was given the task of fetching the victuals and returning to the domicile with same.

Just before heading out, my mother-in-law said, in Korean, that I should also purchase some ice cream. I nodded then said, in English with a devilish grin, "So oma, fried chicken and ice cream? Are you pregnant?" (Mind you, my mother-in-law was in her sixties at the time.)

Now The Missus Herself's jaw dropped nearly to the floor as she stared at me, her mother was asking for a translation, which my wife was somewhat reluctant to give. But dear oma asked again, what did the big goofy round-eye say?

After the translation, she sat there for a moment, then burst out laughing. I do believe that while she was wiping the tears from her eyes, she may have mentioned that I was an idiot.

Which I am.

End Interlude

So yeah, she didn't really want to be on pins and needles for a whole month around her in-laws. As for my Dad, let's just say that as he got older, he was a bit high strung around young people. He was now set in his ways and grandkids should be out of the house at the end of the day. As we were between houses...

Yes, much later I saw her point. I may be slow, but I get it, eventually. So, with a ten day visit planned, we left Nebraska to head back to New England.

As I recall, we departed Omaha on the 19th of December, 19 and 91 for the roughly 1,400 mile drive to New Hampshire. When I had last been in New England, Mom and Dad still lived at the ancestral manse in Vermont. Since heading for Omaha, the parental units had done a stint in Connecticut whilst Ye Olde Vermonter and his brood took over the old homestead.

Dad's gig in Connecticut, having ended, they were desirous of moving back to Vermont. Mom, IIRC, thought it would be nice to live near her Mom in New Hampshire, same neighborhood and all that, just down the street as it were. Dad, reluctantly I gather, consented. It was a "seniors only" community, so he liked that. (The original owners eventually bailed and the "seniors only" community turned into a rather low rent trailer park, open to all comers. No, Dad was not pleased, but that's a story for another day.)

Anyhoo, our trip back to the ancestral lands was to their new place, not the place where I had grown up. But the new place was a mere seven miles from the old. I figured I could find it alright, though it had been a number of years since I'd lived in the area, I remembered the major bits enough to find my way to the general vicinity. Dad's very fine directions got me into the target quite nicely.

Mind you, boys and girls, this was in the days before cell phones and inexpensive GPS systems were available to the population at large (what the funniest lady on the Internet likes to call the GenPop). So yes, we navigated by paper maps and a compass. No seriously, I carried a compass in the car. For one day, deep in the heart of Oklahoma, the love of my life accused me of being lost.

"We're not lost, my love, we are in Oklahoma."

"Where in Oklahoma?"

"Somewhere in the middle I fancy."

"We're lost, I knew it. Let's stop and ask for directions."

"Negative Ghostrider (pulling out my compass), Mississippi is that way (I said while gesturing in a southeasterly direction). We just keep going in this general direction. If we hit salt water we're close."

"Dad, how will you know if we've come to the Atlantic or the Gulf Of Mexico?" asked one of the progeny, might have been The Naviguesser, no doubt making notes for his future job in the Navy.

"I'm sure there will be road signs between here and there."

I was ultimately vindicated when I saw the sign saying "Welcome to Arkansas!"

"See, we're not lost, back on track, back on glideslope."


"Never mind, I know exactly where we are."

Which I did, we made it to our destination as planned.


We made it to New Hampshire after three days on the road. Fun? Not really, winter, snow everywhere, young kids making embarrassing observations about my driving, their hunger, their thirst, etc., etc. But we made it.

Me enjoying Christmas with the family. Though my bathrobe is longer...
On the first full day of our Christmas vacation (me feeling all Clark Griswold-ish, but no doubt appearing rather Eddie-ish to the love of my life) my Mom dropped something in the kitchen. Where she was heard to exclaim...

"Jeezum Crow!"

At which point The Nuke said...

"Grandma, God knows what you mean, he knows you meant 'Jesus Christ,' he invented euphemisms, you're not fooling anyone."

Well, Mom just sort of stood there for a moment, kind of flabbergasted, then from the living room I heard...

"Jesus H. Christ, we have a lawyer in the family." From dear old Dad.

At which point The Nuke let him know that "at least Grandma is trying to be nice."

It was an interesting Christmas, I can tell you. That was also the Christmas where The WSO told my brother, Ye Olde Vermonter, to "get a life, Uncle Rob" after he'd made some cute remark that most seven year olds would have found amusing.

I thought at the time, "I'm raising a lawyer and a fighter pilot." I was close on the latter, way off on the former.

The Missus Herself was wise to insist on ten days, not a month.

She's smart like that.

Oh, I almost forgot, the family resemblance thing regarding The Nuke. At some point after my retirement from Uncle Sam's Aerial Follies, The Nuke and The WSO were home from college. Somehow the subject of "who do I look like" came up, from The Nuke.

The Missus Herself responded by telling her that "You look just like your Dad when you're sleeping." Meaning it as a compliment, I think. But The WSO was all over that, immediately...

"Yup, you look just like Dad, mouth open, hair sticking up all over, drooling, yup, just like Dad."

The Nuke was less than amused, I was laughing my ass off until it hit me.

Wasn't that funny really. I don't drool when I sleep.



  1. That just confirms Erika's place as my favorite of your offspring!

    1. This year marks the thirty fourth anniversary of our living next to my in-laws.
      Setting the obvious humor aside, and after working a few minor kinks out early, it's been good, and with them in their nineties and late eighties, we can keep an eye on them without being terribly intrusive.

      We don't have children, and I don't think my family was ever fooled when my wife and I looked at our watches and said, "Wow, look at the time, we have to go!"

      Having said that, we seem to enjoy our time with the very much younger much more now. Life constantly surprises us.

      Good post.

    2. I really enjoy my in-laws. I only wish my mother-in-law and father-in-law were still alive.

  2. Thanks for a good chuckle, Sarge. Brought back quite a few similar memories.

    I'm hoping this isn't true, "I only wish my mother and father-in-law were still alive

    1. Thanks Juvat.

      Fixed that, thanks. (I write like I speak, which isn't always that clear, when I write or when I speak!)

    2. You write with a bag of marbles taped to your fingers? Well, cut them off, pronto, so we can get more work out of you!

    3. Hahaha! You've listened to the old videos!

  3. I always kinda liked the three day rule about visitors and fish.
    I’m not one who necessarily invokes it, but I really like to observe it.

    1. Not me, if it's family, they can stay s long as they like.

      I do. ;)

  4. Just about blew coffee and oatmeal all over my computer when I read your dad's outburst! Who do your kids look like? Fortunately they all take after your wife.

  5. I moved to be away from all family. Unfortunately, her family moved to be near us. Now they are all far away in one way or another and the world is much happier.

    Unfortunately, now we cannot travel to see my side of the family, for various reasons. Which, in some ways, is good for various reasons.

    But I miss them. Just can't be near them.

    Some family dynamics are weird, yaknow?

    So I live the Norman Rockwell Addams Family vicariously through other people, like, oh, you, OldAFS...

  6. Oh, and the Nuke is right, about euphemisms, that is. Of course, God being all understanding and all, as long as one seriously doesn't mean the euphemism and is contrite about it, and tries to minimize euphemism-ing, well, you'll minimize your time in Heck. (That place between Heaven and Hell that the current commie-pope says now doesn't exist after existing for how many centuries but because it's now Dogma doesn't exist but does it? Commie-pope has much to answer for when he finally shuffles off the mortal coil. Mother Church may or may not have survived by then, as he seems to be killing the horse and riding it into the ground. Pheh, commie-pope, pheh!)(Angry am I? No, just sad. Sad that the commie-pope is less Catholic than I, and that Mother Church has drifted off the rails quite a bit. Oh well, rant over. Must go do something in the 55 degree weather because it's cool and the mosquitos are sluggish (they won't stop air operations until the temp reaches 45 or lower, which is supposed to be around 7pm tonight. We ground units are looking forward to suspension of air operations, yes we are. Though the toe and chest-skicky-outy-thingies may not enjoy the reduced temperatures, the rest of Body will enjoy the freedom from air defense posturing (which looks surprisingly like a large fat man having a spaz attack while disco-dancing, dressed, of course, in shorts, t-shirt, floppy boonie hat (if evil heat-source is above horizon) and flip-flops (sandals being formal wear, of course.)

    1. Ah, so you do wear the approved Florida uniform?

      Nice. (Especially the remarks vis-a-vis air operations!)

  7. Being a smart mouth does tend to blow away stuffy decorum.

    1. Oh yes it does! (Ain't so great for promotions though, ask me how I know.)

    2. I can guess. Once told a 1st Lt he couldn't organize a _____________. Never mind, need to keep it clean. Didn't help my promotion prospects.

    3. Heh. I might know that lieutenant, or one a lot like him!

  8. Long ago, a friend and also former brother in arms recounted the following tale.

    He was a young PFC and one fine day was rostered as duty driver. As he departed in his jeep on some errand or other, He happened to drive by his platoon leader, where upon he rendered a snappy salute and hollered "You're in charge until I get back, Lieutenant". This was not well received. When he returned, he was hauled into the 1st Sergeant's office. When asked if he had anything to say for himself, he replied "Well, he was wasn't he?".

  9. RHT447: I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that.

    Paul L. Quandt

  10. Another one of your excellent posts.

    Thanks for the post.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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