Wandering


  1. Walked down a dirt road in Arizona lit by nothing but stars, feeling the round ball of the Earth clutching my feet to keep me from flying away.


  2. Played -- umm, chess? right, chess -- with a girl in my father's car during study break.


  3. Drank chicory coffee and munched beignets in Jackson Square.


  4. Ate too many shrimp washed down with too much beer on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.


  5. Sucked brominated grain alcohol with an earnest blonde for several weeks one high school summer, and watched Sesame Street in the evenings.


  6. Strolled Montague Street in Brooklyn checking out the restaurants, thinking of Bob Dylan.


  7. Made a tuna casserole for dinner, forgot to add the tuna. Oops.


  8. Took my wife and kids hiking up a favorite pile of rock in southern Arizona, let them wobble along the stone edge at the top and look out at a hundred miles or so of desert valley.


  9. Rode a ballistic missile submarine patrol.


  10. Went mildly crazy on the the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.


  11. Played frisbee capture-the-flag with college classmates under the autumn moonlight.


  12. Sang lullabies, walked and calmed all three of our newborns.  They were all critics, but they got used to my voice after a while -- even at 2 in the morning.


  13. Changed diapers on all of my children and grandchildren.  Not often, though, they grow up too fast.


  14. Toured the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) while she was still in commission.


  15. Watched a torpedo run under me (just a test – whew).


  16. Danced at midnight next to an alpine lake with my true love, clothed in all  the stars of the Milky Way.


  17. Almost walked into a Communist Party meeting in Naples, Italy, one evening. We retreated without incident.


  18. Bicycled back to the ship along a packed two lane road in Mallorca with my buddies, stone drunk.


  19. Emptied the remainder of a night's celebration over the side of a tug headed out to meet a ship beyond the breakwater in Rota, Spain.


  20. Spent a night drinking mizuwari and eating crab in waaay too many forms with some coworkers while a young-old girl told me how much she liked fur coats.


  21. Chugged a quail's egg offered by a sushi chef who knew I was going home to my wife after a week's absence.


  22. Dined on chateaubriand one moonlit night near Hyderabad with a coworker while a violinist serenaded us.  We both agreed to call our wives and tell them to catch the next plane.


  23. Learned how to fly loops, wing-overs, rolls, and the Immelmann maneuver in a T-34 Mentor.


  24. Kissed the assistant security officer of the Karachi consulate at the end of one social evening.  Actually, she kissed me, and I kissed back. I think that was how it went, other observers might have disagreed.


  25. Saw a full circle rainbow on the top of a cloud framing its source – my hang glider, my instructor, and me.


  26. Stood by the side of a grass runway and watched my son bring a sailplane in for a landing, the wing passing by about ten yards away, his silhouette inside the canopy intent on the field ahead of him.


  27. Climbed the mast of a becalmed helicopter carrier at midnight as it rolled in the seas off the Virginia Capes so that we could rig temporary breakdown lights warning other ships of our presence. I went up because I was the new division officer who was more afraid of being thought a coward; the electrician's mate who climbed with me, possibly because he was afraid I might do something that would hurt myself.


  28. Set out one morning to seduce a friend's wife and wound up in the heaviest petting session I have ever enjoyed. Fortunately (?) common sense won out before things went too far.


  29. Stomped across the Brooklyn Bridge snarling “I quit, I quit, I quit ...” then walked back, almost every night for three months. Then, I quit.

  30. Went through the procedure to drain my wife's infected pleural sac every day or two so that her lungs had room to breathe.


  31. Drove a third of the way across Texas with my wife and a dead alternator, car firing on the battery's charge.  Engine died as we coasted down the first off ramp in El Paso.  We were on our way to Japan, via the Navy school at Mare Island.


  32. Was startled and humiliated when a model rocket launched to show off our geek talents to the rest of the high school class slammed into the ground a few yards away. Parachute strap failed.  Oops.


  33. Listened to a school of carpenterfish trying to talk to us. Sadly, we did not know their dialect and could not reply.


  34. Walked the tracks of a metropolitan railroad yard, very aware that I could reach down, touch the electrified rail and be free of all my troubles.


  35. Fell in love with my hang gliding instructor.


  36. Pulled a .38 bullet out of a roof shingle just above my daughters' bedroom. Fortunate for both of us that I never met the clown who fired his pistol into the air.


  37. Watched my younger daughter bounce cheerily down the jetway onto the plane that took her away to Paris for a year. My wife and I left the airport whimpering quietly and happily together about our children heading off on their own roads.


  38. Rode a submarine overnight, jumped onto a boat that took me to the beach... drank a beer waiting for the helicopter, then sat watching the sea life below as the chopper raced along the shoreline. Some parts of the Navy life, an admiral once said to us, we should pay for the privilege of enjoying – some other parts, no sane person would accept any amount of money to do. So, somewhere in between is fair compensation. At the time, I heartily agreed.


  39. Ate reindeer sausage and milkshakes for breakfast in Prudhoe Bay.


  40. Watched my father start a dune buggy by rolling it backwards towards a cliff in the Huachuca Mountains, wondering how I would be able to walk back to the main road and what I would say to Mom.


  41. Stopped smoking cigarettes when my first college girlfriend made it clear: kiss or smoke, exclusive options. What can I say, whipped and grateful for it ...


  42. Tried to coax just4play into joining me in Nags Head and going hang gliding, but she knew what I really had in mind.


  43. Earnestly searched the restaurants in Barcelona with my wife for gazpacho until a kindly maitre'd explained to us, “Señor, Señora … Gazpacho is a cold soup. It is December,” – pointing to the snow flurries outside – “Nobody wants a cold soup in December. May I suggest a very nice fish soup instead?” Ay, los Americanos …


  44. Ignored a hotel fire alarm in Anchorage. It was springtime -- the snow was only a few inches deep -- and I was showering.


  45. Skied Beaver Creek in Colorado. Well, slid and fell down a lot.


  46. Canoed the upper Delaware and wiped out hard in Skinners Falls.


  47. Walked a glacier in Iceland.


  48. Surfaced from nestling on a ski lodge futon to see our infant eldest daughter awake and sitting up, staring the lights and shadows dancing in the great hall. That was in Nikko, perhaps 50 km from Fukushima.


  49. Laughed with my wife as a Parisian gypsy played love songs for her on his accordion, then gave him a five-euro coin for the happiness he gave her.


  50. When the nurse said quietly, “She's taking her last breaths,” held her in my arms and felt her spirit fly away, full of joy.
windlion windlion
56-60, M
Dec 1, 2012