Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Final Goodbyes

by Pa Rock
Sentimental Old Fool

I completed my time at Luke Air Force Base today by saying the last of my goodbyes. I have worked with a group of really fine people at Luke, and I will miss them all.

We had a nice pizza luncheon today, and staff presented me with an electronic book reader by Sony. I didn't have time to get any books downloaded onto it before the flight. Tim has been telling me for a year that I need to switch to an electronic reader and get rid of my tons of books. (He hates lugging them around for me!) Now I will get to see if I am suited for that type of reading.

Valerie Seitz and her son, Andrew, gave me a couple of pounds of M&Ms for the flight, and a really special key chain attached to a replica of a fighter jet. I told Andrew that is the key chain that I will use while I am on Okinawa.

I did a lot of hand-shaking and hugging this afternoon. The older I get the harder it is to say goodbye.

My favorite person at Luke has been Anthony Francis, a retired Air Force NCO who now works as a government civilian in Family Advocacy - the clinic that I called home for three years. Mr. Francis goes by "Mister" Francis, or, to a select few, Sergeant Francis. Although Mr. Francis and I have almost nothing in common - he is a black, conservative Republican who thinks the crap on Fox really is news - we have become very close and he is the de facto brother that I never had. Today, the prim and very proper Mr. Francis came up and gave me a hug as I was leaving.

My immediate supervisor, Captain Tisha Cornett, is heading out for a tour of duty in Aviano, Italy, later this week. She is a very dynamic individual, and the air base in Italy will be very lucky to have her join them.

Tonight I packed, and packed, and packed. Most of my stuff fit in three large bags and a carry-on, but I had to abandon a few things. (Whenever I leave someplace, it seems like I always have to abandon something - which means I have too much damned stuff!)

I did learn today that I can connect to Vonage as soon as I get a high speed Internet connection on Okinawa. They will provide me with a phone number from any area code in the United States that I choose (417 is one of my personal favorites!). The plan will include unlimited free calls to anyplace in the United States, Canada, or Japan for $25.99 a month! All of that, and I also know how to use Skype. My how the world has changed since the last time I was on Okinawa - 37 years ago!

Final note: I got to the airport at 10:00 p.m. for my 5:00 a.m. flight in the morning - can't stand being late! As I was driving toward the rental car return, I passed a large outdoor illuminated sign that said the time was 9:30 p.m. and the temperature was 96 degrees! I won't miss that crap - you betcha I won't!

I also saw a very large illuminated billboard on I-10 that was promoting the election of Jan Brewer as governor. It was a beautiful sign and had the Sand Hag represented by a "Rosie the Riveter" character standing in front of an Arizona flag. The sign was great with very appealing artwork - what a shame the subject is such a piss poor joke!

But Arizona deserves Jan Brewer, and Joe Arpaio, and Russell Pearce, and J.T. Ready, and Andy Thomas, and Tom Horne, and J.D. Hayworth, and Jon Kyl, and crabby John McCain, and sand fleas, and scorpions, and rattlesnakes, and rabid javelinas, and bed bugs. Bring 'em on because I'm outta here!

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