John the manOctober 6, 2011
Over the weekend an interesting email exchange occurred between Aunt Linda and me. She sent a message asking if I could remember what Grandpa John did in the Air Force. It struck me as odd that none of us could come up with a definitive answer regarding what our father did in the Air Force, considering the thousands of conversations we shared with him over the decades. He spoke of everything and it seems odd to me that he never specifically mentioned his job, and also odd that I never specifically asked him.
I told Linda that I wasn’t sure, but that I recall a story of him standing on a diving board at the base, posing and puffing up his seven-haired chest. Grandma Beanie said he was showing off his fine physique (I know it’s hard to believe that we old folks once had things like fine and healthy bodies). Grandpa John told me he was demonstrating diving skills to his class, as a physical trainer. Among all of the other stories that Grandma Beanie related to us of their dating days in the Air Force, that was the extent I could recall of any mentions of his job. Linda and Cindy could remember only that he had an office job.
Grandma Beanie told Aunt Linda, Aunt Cindy and me that he had been a survival trainer. I know I never heard that from his lips. It surprised me, but explains so much. He prided himself on being the jack-of-all-trades / master-of-none kind of guy. Of course, he had exemplary skills in sales; he could sell anything to anyone.
A survival trainer would have to know a little about a lot of things and make survival first, pondering the universe second. He didn’t ponder the universe much and saw things much as they were. He was also a black and white kind of guy. Shades of gray made him nervous.
I wouldn’t have guessed that I could ever learn anything more about my father that would impress me more than he did during his life. I was wrong. I am impressed.