Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bonus Time - or - No Politics, No Sh*t, No Foolin'.

My Dad, in his native habitat.

It's my fifty-seventh birthday today, and I've been on what my dad called "Bonus Time" since the night of Sepetmber 15th, 2012 when the bottom of my brain blew out and flooded; while the surgery to drain out the sump was a success, it has given me time to think a bit.

"Bonus Time", as Dad described it, was anything after Christmas Day, 1943. Now, when I was a wee child, I knew that dad had served in the Army Air Corp as part of Fifth Air Force in the Pacific. It wasn't until many, many years later that I found out that his genial stories of a military career revolving around Australian beer and buxom nurses just happened not to mention what he'd really been up to; flying transport aircraft in very unpleasant places and having very keen Japanese aviators do their enthusiastic best to put lots of 12 and 13 mm holes in his plane in the not altogether vain hope that this would cause important bits of my Dad's plane to fall off.

While my Dad accepted this sort of thing as an occupational hazard, like the three non-combat crashes he walked away from, "Bonus Time" started shortly after my dad and his buddy had what they thought at the time was A Good Idea. It being Christmas, and them having the day off, they thought it would be fun to tour the caves in the ridge that overlooked their airfield. The Army said that they had cleared the resident Japanese out of said caves some time before, and since my Dad hadn't gotten a mortar shell into his tent recently (I still have the two he brought home to make into table lamps, by the way.), he and his buddy thought it would break the monotony to have a look and see how The Other Folks lived.

My Dad thoughtfully brought a carbine along for the trip (I asked, as a child, if that was because of the enemy; he gave me the look that every long-suffering parent gives their offspring when said offspring is being a little on the dim side, and then he sighed and said "No, son, it was for the snakes.") As one might have guessed by now, the reports of the Japanese retreat had been greatly exaggerated, and my dad had to "shoot their way out" so that he and his unarmed buddy could execute a  quick 'tactical withdrawal'. ("Hah!" I can hear him snort, "we ran like hell! Do I look like George Armstrong Custer, sonny boy?")

Ever since that afternoon, my dad figured that any time he had after that was "Bonus Time", and he resolved to use it well. He did; he lived a life full of adventure, and he lived it to the fullest. I'm going to do the same, and walk away from the pointless stuff. Hence the line, "No politics, no sh*t, no fooling."

More to come, and back to our regularly scheduled programming...

6 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Chirine! This is a wonderful story. It made me think about my Uncle who served in the Pacific.

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  2. Happy birthday and enjoy your Bonus Time.

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  3. didn't know.. happy birthday. many happy returns of the day, as they say in pooh..

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