Isn’t it funny how old people can remember something in the past but they can’t remember how to copy and paste? Wait. I’m old so I can’t go there yet. It is true, or seems to be, that we can remember what was afoot in the world 40 years ago but draw a blank when asked who our President is…
I can remember getting a CARE package from my stepmother that had all manner of goodies about Thanksgiving time in 70. It had spray cheese that didn’t need any refrigeration. The A-1 sauce was worth 3 cartons of Marbs. Mostly, I remember the Fig Newtons. I saved them for T-day. We had no turkey. We were located 349 klics away from anything resembling turkey. It was designated T-11 in a small city in NW Thailand. Our component was called Operating Location Charlie, 1980th Comm. Sq. We had a US Consulate with an APO, but no American base- just a short laterite runway. There were several spook outfits there. One guided SR-71s into Russia for overflights. Another Army outfit had an antenna farm that looked into Laos and North Vietnam and picked up stray radio transmissions. We provided them with communications to the outside world via cable, TRC-35 LOS Microwave and MRC-98 Tropospheric Scatter. Our sum total was a combined 45-50 Army, Air Force and an alphabet soup of CIA functions. Langley had 3 permanently assigned, not including the AirAm personnel.
That Thanksgiving evening, I decided to share my stash of Fig newtons with some of my friends who had come over for a big chicken dinner in lieu of turkey. In the late dusk I started handing out the cookies by passing the package. Shortly after my first cookie, I felt something on my neck and brushed it off. Moments later I felt more and did so again. About that time, my friends all started experiencing the same thing. One turned on his flashlight and observed that the Fig Newtons were covered in ants.
Repair order? Why, blow on each cookie as you took it out of the bag. Nobody was willing to throw these puppies away.
The best part of all this was the discovery of spray cheese. I made a killing on that for the next 16 months. I also sold scotch and stereo off-base for a 400% markup. Getting the money out of the country without Uncle Sam putting you in jail for black marketing was the trick. One of my AirAm buddies solved that. They all flew down to Bangkok and opened Swiss bank accounts at the Embassy there to avoid paying taxes on their income. I joined them one trip and followed suit. When I got to the States, my first stop was the Swiss Consulate in L.A. They graciously converted them from Swiss francs into US. currency for me, too. Happy Thanksgiving.