At some point in our sunset years we Vietnam Veterans look back on our military career, however brief, and compare it to the here and now. Most, if not all of us, probably feel like the old Virginia Slims™ cigarette commercial- “You’ve come a long way, baby”. No more foot rot. No more c rats. No more burning leeches off with your Marlboro Red. But I reckon if you’re still fighting VA for your benefits now then this sentiment isn’t shared.
Since most of us aren’t still pounding nails or doing the 9 to 5 grind at the office as a regular job, we’re well-settled in our old age with nothing more than a few unpleasant dreams. A few of us still derive great pleasure, however, delivering repeated collective VA bitchslaps for all those years of denials. This helping Veterans gig is tremendously rewarding emotionally. I guess I’m glad I don’t have to do it in person all the time because I usually shed a few tears right along with the Vet and his wife when I come over to inform them we hit the jackpot after several years of delay and deny waiting for us to kick the bucket. I’m sure VA secretly prays equally for the Vet to punch out as well as me.
I found a picture below I took of the instrument panel of a PC-6 or U 17 cockpit I used to inhabit fifty years ago. Lots of memories of Tuesday and Thursday Chieu Hoi flights up and down Route 7 from Ban Na to Na Khang imploring Pathet Lao via loudspeakers to surrender and change sides. We even offered a bonus water buffalo with the hectare of land if they turned in their AK or SKS. The crew chief hated us. He’d have to use about a half a roll of 100 mph tape a week to cover all the holes from groundfire.
Here’s a picture also of the new, remodeled office cockpit to convey that same Virginia Slims adage. The most obvious upgrade is I don’t have to use a Coke® bottle as a urinal when the urge strikes. My PIC used to rock the Bird Dog back and forth the moment I told him I was getting ready to relieve myself. He could be a real dick sometimes, God rest his soul. He augered in 2/21/71 somewhere between Alternate and Wattay (L 08).
Being a VA Agent/practitioner allows me to work from home. I have a silver Labradog retriever (Pickles) for a live shredder. Cupcake and I get our granddaughter once a week to babysit all day and she breaks up the monotony by feeding the paper to Pickles to shred. Endless entertainment for us all.
And talk about coming a long way baby…
Pickles and Princess Penny are like peas and carrots. Ever see that commercial where the dog cleans off the baby’s face as Dad turns away?
You get the picture. Princess P is Pickles’ favorite popsicle and pre-shred paper feeder. Even funnier, Miss P has finally begun to allow her to lick her face a time or two…after the hands, of course.
Yessiree, Bob. We’ve all come a long way, baby. And that’s all I have to say about that. Enjoy your day. That’s an order.
At the end of the day all that matters is pickles and Penney and family… they say the best is often given us last… great pictures Alex and I am pleased that I have been around to see Pickles and Penney grow up to today… a true gift…
No one can capture the true picture and true feelings of your fellow vets in such accurate precision like you can and do Alex! Rock on brother!