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O'Briens Attend 82nd Fighter Squadron Reunion

Cactus Lapel PinOur recent reunion of our 82nd Fighter Squadron held at Tucson, Arizona was one of the best...with mixed emotions. I am more than somewhat pleased that our daughters do not trust my driving any distance beyond the local city limits and insist on driving us anywhere more distant than Comanche. In all seriousness, Lucille and I both (Lucille especially) were very honored and delighted to have our Nancy drive us to Garland where we spent the night with Christy and her husband, Pat. Christy drove us to the airport the next morning and both the girls went with us on the flight to Tucson.

It was our first visit to that city. A lovely city totally surrounded by mountains and tall cactus. I was just a little concerned about our pilot finding his way into the airport and missing the mountains, but he did, as you knew he did, otherwise I would not be writing this. The advertised highlights of the excursions, some of which we did not participate, was golfing (I don't golf), a tour of the local aircraft museum, and a tour of the lovely city that all enjoyed.

Lucille, the girls and I especially enjoyed a tour of the city by Christy's sister-in-law, Shannon Gagnegain. She drove us to her home, a lovely spacious home where she and her family enjoy a view of the surrounding mountains, a pool with numerous tropical flowers where we could sit nearby and enjoy the view and the delectable brunch she provided.

Later, our entire reunion group met in the banquet hall for a sumptuous meal. We were seated ten to a table and enjoyed the fellowship of friends and buddies we have known mostly for some 60 years. The fellowship and renewing of friends we thoroughly enjoyed but as for the food, I much prefer Lucille's cuisine. As usual the higher priced the food, the colder are the cold storage rolls covered with a napkin to preserve the illusion that the are hot rolls.

I remember a similar banquet served us at Atlanta, Georgia, which as a special treat we were served barbecue. Georgia's version of "barbecue" was boiled beef! But what can you expect for only twenty dollars a plate.

Courtesy of our former Group CO, Ben Mason, each of the ladies present were presented a long stem red rose and after a brief business session, we adjourned to the dance floor. The dance floor as usual, was about the size of a postage stamp, figuratively speaking, but still adequate for our age and the size of the group. The music provided by a local band was very good although not quite as good to my jaundiced ear as our local band, but everybody or nearly everybody enjoyed it. I enjoyed a waltz with Lucille and doing the jitterbug with each of the Medley twins, Nancy and Nannette, the O'Brien sisters, Nancy and Christy, and Ben Mason's girlfriend of sixty years past, Aida Reinertz. 

Aida, a French/Canadian lady who speaks seven different languages fluently, is in her mid-eighties. Ben first met Aida briefly in Cairo, Egypt nearly 60 years ago. Both were happily married for 50 years to someone else but now have been left alone and have renewed their acquaintance. Ben lives in Houston, Aida in Grandview and Ben's son, Bill Mason, lives in Colorado. Now, Bill, a tall and handsome lad in his sixties, still feels a certain responsibility for his ninety-year-old dad and his 85-year-old girlfriend. How nice! Well, Nancy and Christy look after Lucille and I and we are all grateful. It was a great reunion and we hope to make the next one at Sacramento, CA. (I hope Lucille and I and Ben Mason will each have someone to go with us.)

(My idea of graceful "jitterbugging" is to be able to hold my partner's hand while she gracefully circles me, all the while keeping from tripping over my two left feet and sprawling on the dance floor.)

 
Printed in the Comanche Chief newspaper, January 10, 2002