It's been so long (that's what she said) that you probably won't remember this. In fact, some of you are new here so this will be new...here. Others have dropped off the face of the blogosphere. I wish them well.
Sherilin is still hanging on as a Facebook friend. One of you disappeared for a while, but has come back ("Jeez-a-Lou, Al! I go away for a little and when I come back, there's frikkin' reruns!!"). Sorry, Barb.
A couple of you commented in February, 2012, but no longer come around Penwasser Place. This makes me sad for I miss them so.
Then there are those who were here nearly two years ago, but are still plugging away. Matthew, Pat, Julie, Ruth, Pearl, Bushman, Robyn, Bea, Dawn, and Dwei (I'd put you in alphabetical order, but I'm too lazy), thank you! Good grief! Have we been together that long??
Anyway, if you've read this before, you can skeedaddle and come on back Thursday for Captain Caption or return Saturday. For another GD repost. Hey, what can I say? 'Tis the season for reruns!
Or you can stick around and maybe read something new. Or not. I'm feeling a little lazy. Hey, I changed John Paul Jones' picture at least. That's gotta count for something.
Call Me Al-The Rerun of the Rerun of the Rerun
Life was considerably different in(NOTE from 2013 Al: Since this was written, Dick has sadly passed on. Hmm, that kinda sounds dirty).
the late 80’s than today. We didn’t fret about Mayan prophecies, fume over gas prices, or wonder why Kim Kardashian was famous. We had Bill Cosby instead of Tyler Perry, Qaddafi instead of Osama (NOTE: okay, so we don’t have Osama anymore. Would you prefer I said Kim Jong Il?), and Madonna instead of Lady Gaga. And Dick Clark instead of...uh...Dick Clark.
|"No, your majesty, |
it is foretold that
the world will end on
January 1st, 2013."
Mayans: Full of shit.
The “Evil Empire” was still in business and few people did a better job of caging the bear than the U.S. military. Our influence was felt throughout the world and it could be argued that, like the Union Jack before it, the sun never set on the Stars and Stripes.
|"You want me at that barber shop,|
you need me at that barber shop!!"
The Lajes Naval Air Facility in the Portuguese Azores was just such a place.
Perched nine hundred miles off the European coast, Lajes was a major stopping off point for forces crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The roar of aircraft pausing to refuel there was as common as flag burnings in Tehran.
|"Hey, can you ask if they have|
a nice, clean rest room?"
It was also where Al Penwasser was born.
Petty Officer Penwasser was an enlisted aircrewman attached to Patrol Squadron Eleven during its deployment to Lajes in the final days of the Cold War.
|Al had wicked jaundice, too.|
Not many people actually saw him, but I knew he existed from the day I reported to VP-11 in 1987. Many folks warned me to be on the lookout for this cocky individual who always seemed to be on “assignment.”
Even though I never laid eyes on him, I did see his service record, training folder, and the volumes of mail he received on a regular basis.
I never questioned why his picture board photograph always came up missing or why “Classified-Secret” was pasted across his face when it wasn’t.
It certainly drove the Commanding Officer nuts that Penwasser never checked in with him.
|I meant spork! |
After the Cold War, he realized his lifelong dream of becoming a member of the Special Forces. Exactly WHOSE Special Forces we didn’t know; all we knew is he volunteered for only the most dangerous of missions. Ya know, like hunting with Dick Cheney or being Charlie Sheen's designated driver.
He stayed in touch, though. We routinely got postcards from places as exotic as the Orient, the Gulf, or Daytona Beach at Spring Break. A sentimental rake, he always signed them, “Love, Al.”
|Wrong type of manure spreader|
After that, he dropped out of sight. We sometimes saw his name in guest registers at places like the Pantheon, the Dubai Seamen’s Center, assorted Mayan ruins, or bowling alley bathroom walls, but that was about it.
|Except now, he's probably asking,|
"Would you like fries, fries, baby?"
I never found out where he went or what he did, but his spirit lives on in this blog and elsewhere. No matter whether the subject is Old Man Toe, Columbus Day, or Heel Piss Cream, I’m proud that Al has once more found a home for his wry take on life.
Oh, and as for that name. Comes from Portuguese bottled water: