Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to FOW

The summer of 1982.  We had recently graduated from high school and were full of excitement about starting college at Texas A&M in the fall.  I worked in an auto parts store and really didn't care too much because I knew I was walking away in the not too distance future.  At least one of our fish buds was a hay haulin' man during those summer months.  5 cents a bale is what they were paid and he used to sing, "She's a good hearted women in love with a hay-haulin' man".  Since I wasn't into country music it was bit before I knew what Waylin Jennings was actually talking about.

When it was time to leave for school the plan was simple.  My mom would drive me down to Texas in the Ford Granada and for my dad to fly down and meet us in Houston just before driving up to A&M.  Seemed like a good plan.  What I didn't know was that my mom had contacted every friend and family member between Sterling Park, and College Station and planned for us to stop in and some cases for a couple of days.  The good news was that MTV was just springing to life that summer and wherever I could find a television I was planted in front of the set.  The bad news was "An Officer and a Gentleman", had just been released to theaters and on the night of our first stop, in Bristol Tennessee, my mom and I went to the movies to see it together.  This, of course, is not the right movie to view with you mom.  Nevertheless, I survived.  

Our next stop was Huntsville, Alabama where we had lived for four years in the late 60's and early 70's.  We dropped in on both friends and family, and when with family I watched a lot of MTV.  Following the time in Huntsville we drove to Shreveport Louisiana and stayed with friends.  Then it was off to Houston where we again held up for a few days with friends and waited for my dad to arrive.  About all I can remember is attending Church on Sunday and  kneeling on some very painful knee boards, how crazy hot and humid Houston can be in mid August, and watching a lot of MTV.  

When my dad arrived we jumped in the car for the 90 mile drive, through the scrub oak savanna, up the Brazos river and into College Station, my new home for the next five years.

Let's hear a little bit about how you showed up for FOW fish buds.


  1. So here's my story. I'm Tribo, the guy in the middle of the fish picture on the previous post. I chose A&M on a whim. It was my dream to become a USAF pilot. I had no idea what was waiting for me when I arrived at A&M. I thought I was entering standard ROTC. As I was getting on an airplane from Honolulu, HI. My dad said "I'd give $1,000,000 to trade places with you." I figured I was in for some big fun. Two weeks later with my head shaved, always hungry, and strangers yelling at me, I called home and said I'll take the money. I wanted to quit every weekend until the abuse became part of my DNA. Staying was one of the best decisions I ever made. The idea of leaving my buddies was just too much. We were and are a band of brothers. I have no doubt that if we were together in the same room the 25 years separating us would evaporate in seconds. Talking with my dad a couple years ago I mentioned that if he would have ever said something like: "I understand. If you want to quit it is okay with me." I would have dropped the Corps in a heartbeat. He told me he suspected something like that and always guarded his words carefully. That cracked me up. God bless parents!

  2. Interesting story fish Tribo...Tribo was my old lady for a 1.5 years. That is another story. Many stories actually. I'm sure that eventually the old lady stories will surface, so I'll wait patiently. Prior to the age of 20, I never had any desire to attend Texas A&M or associate with the Corps of Cadets. I knew nothing of A&M, the traditions of A&M or of the Corps. Before attending A&M, I was working on my commercial pilot license in the Houston area, and as fish Tribo; I wanted nothing more than to fly for the USAF. My primary ground school instructor at the time, Col. Raymond Thornton (who I had the utmost respect for...having flown at Edwards with Chuck Yeager during those years of flight testing) asked what were my future plans. I told him my plans were to attend school in Austin, join the ROTC program there and fly in the USAF. In fact I said, "I am going to Austin the next week to "see what it's all about". He suggested that on my way to Austin, I drop in to College Station and check out the ROTC program at A&M as well. He had known many Aggies in his career and was generally impressed with their character and manner. That next week, I made my way to College Station and eventually to the building that I came to know as the Trigon. There I met one Col. Henry Hill. We talked at length; he introduced me to several cadets and then pointed me to the admissions office. After walking the campus that afternoon I was convinced that this University was where I needed to be. I never made it to Austin. Four months later, I was in FOW. It's funny how a simple statement or a piece of advice taken to heart can so profoundly change you life! God bless all of those people who are willing to “ give the young guy a break”!