Long ago, on the 16th of May 1972, I returned from the land of the PACEX catalogue. After a short sojourn on leave in Alexandria, Virginia to visit my mother, I reported to Edwards AFB for my new assignment. I also got out the black book and started calling old friends I’d gone through technical training with who lived in Southern California. Dude, it was party time. I had made it home alive!
Steve W. was easy to find. He still lived with his parents in North Hollywood. He was a weekend warrior and his active duty service ended after our AIT. He opted to take a construction job and had become quite handy with 60% Dupont in my two year absence. Naturally, this called for a celebration of guns, liquor and dynamite. After all, they complement each other like wine, cheese and crackers. Fortunately for us, the 4th of July was nigh and he had ample access to the fireworks cabinet at his job site.
We set sail for the Mojave desert for the weekend and brought along a 50 lb. case of Atlas Blasting Company’s finest. Near the Kern River we found the perfect cliff to toss our “firecrackers” over. In addition, being 60% strength, it was easy to ignite with a .357 magnum. By Sunday night we were both quite deaf, deliriously happy and hung over. The box was empty but it was a lovely souvenir of the trip so I kept it.
Yesterday, I sold my van to my kids for their construction business. I retrieved the last of my belongings and one was the box which has sat between the two front seats of my last five vans I’ve owned over the course of my own forty-year construction career. Apparently, they really knew how to construct wooden boxes in the seventies as this one has withstood the test of time. I did have one small mishap in the eighties but it imparts character in my mind. It also shows the lovely dovetail joints at the corners. These pictures have a gazillion pixels in them so feel free to click on them to magnify.
I can’t imagine doing it in this day and age. We never saw another human in the three days we were there in spite of arranging numerous meetings between God and the sidewinder rattlesnake population thereabouts. I suspect a certain number of desert tortoises may have been harmed in the process as well. For that I apologize.