Saturday, April 7, 2007

Great, I knew I shouldn't check it.

According to Yahoo, it "Feels Like 28F" in San Antonio, TX and "Feels Like 19F" in Indy.

At a way late time of year it's approaching the same kind of weather that drove me Way South ten years or so ago.

It was February '96. Colder than you know whose you know what in a brass...
sub Zero wind chills.

(By the way, if it "Feels Like" or the Wind Chill is -X, THEN IT IS -X!!!)

We had the coolest hangar ever and it was the coldest too.

Smack Dab in the middle of Tinker AFB.

You can see it on Google Satellite Maps. Locate the intersection of the North/South runway and the East/West. Scroll North till ya see a hangar with a long pipe sticking out the back. Out there all by it's lonesome.

Closest structures were the blast fences across the taxiway. Nothing to really block the wind or slow it down.

Our customer liked to depart at 0600. 0400 even. We had to be there 2 hours prior to launch. Do the math. There were times when I was at work at 0130.

Nothing to block the wind and no heat in the hangar. I'm going off to work looking like the Stay-Puft Man in the Ghostbusters movie, layered up with everything I can laminate over my body. Starting with a dive skin and working my way out.

Our Area Supervisor came to town. In the course of his Visit/ Site Inspection he said, "David, we have a possible opening in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Do you want to pursue it?"

Here we go with that old song again, "Possible... Do you want...?" By then I had heard that song many times that I was numb. Mostly, I heard it during the two years it took to escape 'Stalag 915' in Selma, AL.

I said, "Yes." He said, "Call the Master Chief." I did. Master Chief said, "Stand-by."

Now they were dangling my dream job in front of me. It took eight years with the company to get to that point.

In fairness, once I did escape from Selma... It was a "Helluva Ride Houston!"

Four years of pretty intense travel. Then they offered me my own site. I arrived at Tinker before the airplane and had been there for a year before this totally unexpected, "Possible Opening."


Days past. No word from the Home Office in Gluckstadt.

I broke. I called the office.

"Hey David. How are ya?

I'm dancing like a cat on a hot rock! (already thinking warm thoughts)

Don't worry about it. Your are going."

10. Ten. Ten days later I was in Teguc. Lock, Stock n Barrel.

My Spanish consisted of-
Uno mas
Por favor

Nada mas. No, "Nada mas" was not in my vocabulary at the time. I spoke nada mas que Cervesa etc. I couldn't even ask for the bathroom. I had to look for signs and watch traffic patterns! (Important stuff after uh a few Salva Vidas.)

Anyway. There I was. It's March by then. I've gone from Stay-Puft to tank top, shorts n flip flops, I'm giggling at folks in Rivera's Yucca con Chicharon Drive In because they are wearing jackets.

A year later. I was giggling at myself. Sitting at the Drive In thinking, 'Ya know, the jean jacket would feel good right about now.'

A year later I was dreaming in Spanish.
When asked, "Where are you from?"
"Oh, Si, I can tell by your accent."
I miss that level of proficiency. I miss it A LOT!

One of the biggest, greatest reasons I fell in love with Honduras was the willingness of people to work with me because I TRIED to Speak and Learn Spanish. 180 degrees out fron the Sicilians.

Yes. There was a lot of fun to be had at Ol' David's expense. I figured it was just the cost of doing business.

When I'd get to the Drive In, the hard core regulars (such as Col. Soto) were never satisfied until...

"David, como esatas?
No! David, Como Estas?
OK, Pijudo.

{During the re-re-read before posting. Col. Soto really wasn't one of the ones that put me up to the pijudo thing. He is fascinating and a historic man in Honduran and Aviation history. Someone for every pilot to know.}

(Gringa, if I just said a bad word or two, I don't know any better. I never did figure them out. My highly trained pilots didn't know either. All they could point out was the obvious. Pi? Pe? Well, I did get the connotation but not the meaning. It really amused my 'Friends' and that is troubling. LOL!)

Cold, crappy weather and more on the horizon. I'd kill for a plate of yucca and cabbage, topped with a big helping of steaming hot chicharones. Hit it with a good dose of "Marie Sharps" habanero sauce. Knock down a few Port Royals.

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