My Fearless Dad
Continued from Dear Old Mom has Passed Away
It almost seemed to me that dad wanted us to grow up as warriors. He taught us how to fight at a very early age. I mean I do not remember not play fighting with him and Chuck. He taught us all sorts of moves, like head locks, half nelsons, and scissors with our legs. Fighting was a very natural thing. I recall once, after “Walt”, that’s what mom called him, was deployed to Hawaii to prepare for his duty in Vietnam, we had a little fighting treat. It featured Chuck, and some random kid that walked by our house on Flamingo Court, when we lived on the Marine Corps compound at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station. I always liked the name of that place, it really seemed important.
Anyway, for some reason we heard a commotion outside. We all piled into the parents room. By “all” I mean Dad, Mom and mean. Oh yeah, by this time we had another addition to the family. Joey. He was named after his dad, Walter Joseph. His dads name was Walter, yet Joey does not remember much about his dad. Yet, he ended up with all his service medals, and the flag they used in his burial when he was KIA (killed in action) in Vietnam in 1966. He was younger and smaller, and Chuck and I didn’t pay that much attention to him, because we were “out the door” as much as possible. In Hawaii, it is THE THING TO DO when you are a kid! The beaches, the fishing spots. Ah, but I digress…
So, we are all on mom’s bed looking out the window, and we see Chuck! there is this kid that is looking like he is giving him a hard time. I got up and was heading out the door to go intervene. But, dad said, no! Let’s see what happens. So, there was Chuck, who was a pretty sensitive kid in my opinion, with a brute of a guy out there in front of the house. He was trying to pick a fight with Chuck. Chuck was not trying to start anything, but he also wasn’t backing down, and trying to run away either. Ahh, so now I was beginning to understand. Dad wanted to see how Chuck handled himself, at the age of 9!!!
What happened next was truly amazing to me. The kid, who was bigger than Chuck, and obviously more daring, grabbed Chuck around the torso. They struggled a minute, then the kid grabbed him from behind trying to force him to the ground. Now I can say, that even at that time, Chuck was a little stout, or was sorta chunky but not fat. Well, he had a little weight on him anyways, I was the skinnier of the two of us. So, this kid has Chuck in some sort of hold from behind, then, Chuck flips him! Chuck flipped the kid literally over his head and he landed on the ground hard! Chuck, leaned down, although I am sure he was astonished like the rest of us at what had just happened, and put his knee on the guys chest. He told him to , “Get outta here, and don’t come back”! Wow!
That was the first time I was both amazed at my brother and proud at the same time. Everyone in the bedroom was astonished, and mom clapped and said Yay Chucky! Dad, quieted us all down and said, Shhh! Act like nothing happened! Don’t let him know that we watched. Chuck, came in, got a drink of water, and he said to me, you ready to go down to the golf course? And that was that. There was no mention of his heroic beat down of a local trouble maker. But, I was proud of my brother.
When we left though, there were those peculiar clouds of smoke that seemed to hang in our house like clouds do and a windless day. We didn’t think that much of this. But by this time the Surgeon General had come out with a warning about cigarette smoking that I had heard. I remember many times asking both my mom and dad to quit smoking because of this. I could not help remember that a few years earlier, our family was over at friends, and the dad in that family, with his wife sitting right there, told us that his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He told us this while every one was truly puffing away on Pall Malls at the time. We all thought it was very sad. It was like there was nothing that really could be done. It was hopeless. And yet, the waves of smoke clouds built in the house.
Really in the 60’s and before, people didn’t have that much air conditioning. Most of the cooling at that time was done with fans. So, smoke would build up in houses, and really linger a long time. I can really see this as causing lots of second hand cancer.
Story continued here
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