Along the Autobahn, the Silk Road, and the Inca Trail: A Sort-of-a Memoir by Hubert Gordon Green by Hubert Gordon Green - Read Online

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Along the Autobahn, the Silk Road, and the Inca Trail - Hubert Gordon Green

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ALONG THE AUTOBAHN, THE SILK ROAD, AND THE INCA TRAIL

A SORT-OF-A MEMOIR

HUBERT GORDON GREEN

AMBER SAND PRESS

DALLAS

Copyright © 2016 Hubert Gordon Green.

Cover photo by David Gresham

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means---whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic---without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

ISBN: 978-1-4951-8221-1 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-4620-2 (e)

Amber Sand Press

13218 Spring Grove, Dallas, TX 75240

972-783-7535

Amber Sand Press rev. date: 3/24/2016

CONTENTS

Part I - Wayward Yoot / Higher, Ed!

Collich Pranks

Cutting a Rug

One Man's Arnie

The Glove

Scotch and Avocado

Part II - ESSEX Tales

USS ESSEX: Barracuda Beach, Cuba

USS ESSEX: Foreign Intrigue

USS ESSEX: Storm In The North Atlantic

Part III - Extensive Care Unit

Bayside Baptism

Mr. Hodges's Thumb

Torticollis

An Unusual Case

Part IV - Eclecticity

Elmo and the Dragon

Dell Comics Were Good Comics!

A Television Pioneer: KTVE, Channel 32

Big Green Van

Part V - Notes from Around the Compass Rose

Personal Notes from NORTH AMERICA

Personal Notes from CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

Personal Notes from AFRICA

Personal Notes from WESTERN EUROPE

Personal Notes from CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

Personal Notes from the MIDDLE EAST

Personal Notes from ASIA

DEDICATION

This book is for my wife (the love of my life), my children and their significant others (my pride and joy), and my grandchildren (oh, my!).

INTRODUCTION

Most of the stories are personal, and some are even true. With the exception of family members, I have changed many names because I am more comfortable doing it that way.

PART I

Wayward Yoot / Higher, Ed!

COLLICH PRANKS

Can you remember your college dormitory? How it looked, smelled, sounded? Can you remember the feelings you had about your own room? Your dorm friends? Your enemies?

The words college dormitory summon up a flood of memories, both good and bad, for many. It was more than just a place to sleep. It was a place to live, to experience what life itself offers up to people living in community.

Now you take Bob Wilson. He seemed like a pretty cheerful, normal guy. Maybe a little bit cleaner than most, as he averaged three showers per day. But pleasant enough, and as friendly as a new puppy.

Bob wasn't accustomed to adulthood. This parents had protected him from the real world. So when he arrived at Smallish Bigtime College, he began his explorations.

Bob found alcohol at SBC just off campus. And alcohol found Bob, in a big way. They became constant companions. Bob's roommate, Walter Infante, tried to counsel him, but Walter couldn't break the new bonds that held Bob and booze together on a 24/7 basis.

Bob and Walter shared a room on the second floor of the dorm. The door to their room opened onto a small balcony passageway. One night, after a round of the local watering holes, Bob miscalculated the location of the door to his room, and he plunged from the balcony to the sidewalk below. Luckily, in his anesthetized state, he was mostly unhurt. But he slept the rest of the night with his head on the sidewalk and his feet on the grassy lawn.

More often, Bob would make it into his room, accompanied by some noise and commotion, and simply fall into his bed, unconscious before hitting the pillow.

Bob and Walter had a couple of friends. Todd (Toad) Donihoo and William (Dub) Mitchell lived just two doors down from Bob and Walter. Sometimes Bob in a drunken stupor would mistakenly enter the wrong room, so Toad and Dub occasionally had the dubious honor of helping him find his way home. After the third occasion of midnight interruption, Toad had had enough. It was time to teach Bob Wilson a lesson.

Do you know what a short-sheeted bed is? It's when the sheets of a bed are folded from the foot of the bed towards the head and tucked tightly in, forming a pocket only half-a-bed long. The would-be sleeper can't seem to get his legs to straighten out to the foot of the bed... a very frustrating situation, especially if the would-be sleeper is drunk.

As it turned out, Toad had received his nickname for each of three very good reasons. First, his first name was Todd, so the nickname was a very logical permutation, at least to college pals. Second, he was short and stocky, with very little neck, and his eyes seemed large behind his thick glasses, giving him something of the appearance of a frog or toad. Third, he was a biology major, intending to go to medical school. Toad excelled in his biology laboratory course, in which frog dissection played a prominent role in the curriculum.

So when Toad and Dub had their fill of Bob's noisy late-night entries, they decided to teach him a lesson in biology. They short-sheeted his bed. Then they placed, deep within the pocket formed by the shorted sheet, the remains of a half-dozen frog dissection laboratory exercises... body parts, skin, limbs, guts, and a splendid array of bloody, messy frog bits.

Late at night, Bob returned from another evening of self-medication. He let himself into his room. He fell into bed fully clothed, thrust his feet as far into the bedclothes as he could, and was asleep instantly.

It was well into the next day, after many students had wandered off to class, when Bob awoke. No one was present with him in the room when he reached a full state of consciousness, but his heart-rending scream was heard in many locations around the Smallish Bigtime College campus.

Neighbors Toad and Dub rushed from two doors down the passageway. Walter had conveniently left the door to the room unlocked. The two men burst onto the scene to find Bob sitting bolt-upright in his bed, screaming, covered head to toe with a bloody, slimy mess of frog parts.

Toad and Dub had prepared for this occasion by wearing their oldest, grubbiest clothes. They grabbed Bob under his arms on each side and lifted him, legs still cramped from the short sheet, from his bed. They carried him, still fully clothed and covered with frog guts, into his shower. They deposited him on its floor and turned the water on, full force. Then they left to return to their own room, carefully closing the door to Bob's (and Walter's) room behind them.

Did that cure Bob's problem? You probably know the answer to that question. But Bob did, upon reflection, determine who had been responsible for his being marinated in froggy bits. Bob requested a transfer of room and roommate, to a new room on the third floor of the dormitory.

Unfortunately his reputation preceded him to his new neighborhood. So when he continued his late arrivals in his customary noisy state of intoxication, his new roommate, named Billy Sam Wherry, was none too pleased with the situation.

Billy Sam was planning to major in mechanical engineering, so his approach to the problem of teaching Bob a lesson was somewhat different. Billy Sam knew, with a high degree of confidence, that Bob would return to their room in a drunken state on any given Friday night. Or, more precisely, early on a Saturday morning. So Billy Sam arranged for Bob to get something of a surprise, perhaps enough to cause him to change his self-destructive ways.

In the early evening on one particular Friday, after Bob had departed for his pub rounds, Billy Sam took Bob's metal single twin-sized bed and tied the mattress, sheets, and bedspread firmly onto the supporting springs and slats. Then he up-ended the bed and, with some difficulty maneuvered the bed, still made up, to the window on the opposite side of the room from the door. Tying a strong manila rope onto the iron footpiece of the bed, he then lowered the entire bed, head first, out of the window.

The metal bed, of course, was quite heavy. Gravity wanted to take that bed to the ground, three floors below.

But Billy Sam wasn't quite ready for that just yet. He held firmly on to the rope, allowing the bed to dangle above the level of the second floor. He then took the free end of the rope, pulled it to the other side of the room, and tied it securely to the doorknob of the room's entry door.

Making certain that the door was locked, Billy Sam then proceeded very carefully to take the pins from each of the three hinges of the door. This left the lock as the only mechanism holding the door (and the suspended bed) in place.

Billy Sam let himself out through the bathroom to the adjoining room where he joined its regular residents, Geoff Finley and Freddy Stine, to await Bob's later return. Billy Sam rather gleefully informed his suitemates of his plan.

Hours passed.

Finally, early on Saturday morning, Bob staggered up the passageway to the entrance to his (and Billy Sam's) room. He fumbled noisily for his room key, muttering in some unknown language. Finally the proper key was produced, and he thrust it confidently into the lock. Then he turned the key.

Instantly, with a great WHOOSH! sound, the entire door receded rapidly away from Bob, pulling the key briskly from his hand as it accelerated across the room, propelled by the heavy weight of the falling bed. Then WHOMP! the still-upright door hit the window frame, top and bottom, and was held firmly in place by the still-dangling weight of the bed.

Bob's blood alcohol measurement at that moment was unknown, but if surprise and astonishment could make a man sober in a matter of a few seconds, Bob was as sober as a judge. His labored breathing, or gasping, suggested that he didn't grasp the simple mechanics behind this situation, nor did he understand what had happened to him.

Slowly, slowly he walked into the room, staring at the door which now seemed firmly fixed in its new location on the far side of the room against the window frame. It took several minutes for Bob to confirm the fact that his bed now hung vertically in mid-air somewhere down below; and that retrieving it would require a modicum of work at any hour of the day. He shook his head in wonder at the enormity of the project. Finally, seemingly overcome by the challenges presented, he turned around, lay slowly down on Billy Sam's bed, and went to sleep. The recovery of Bob's bed could wait until morning.

The result of this episode was predictable: this time, it was Billy Sam who requested that Bob be moved to another room, and another roommate.

Well, no other individual was prepared to step up to the plate for this one. Luckily for Bob, a single room with space for only one occupant had become available down on the ground floor. No balcony, no tricky steps to climb, no third-floor from which to dangle a bed above the ground, and no roommate to become dissatisfied with circumstances. So Bob Wilson moved again, this time to the single room on the first floor.

But Bob's would-be teachers weren't ready to give up on their efforts to instruct him in dormitory etiquette. Toad, Dub, and Billy Sam conspired to prevent Bob's noisy late-night returns to the dorm.

The three young men met after dinner, along with Geoff and Freddy, one warm evening in Billy Sam's room (formerly also the room of Bob Wilson) on the second floor. Bob had already left for his Friday evening rounds.

Dub groused, He just doesn't seem to get the message. Nothing's going to make him stop storming in at night!

Billy Sam replied, So, maybe we need to find a way to keep him from ever leaving his room. We need to lock him in! He pointed out the window at the courtyard onto which the rooms opened, and he smiled. There in the dusk, in all its yellow splendor, sat a medium-sized Caterpillar bulldozer. It had most recently been used by College groundskeepers to pile up a small earthen berm between two dormitory buildings. In fact, the excess dirt was still in a heap in the center of the courtyard. Ah, fate. Destiny, maybe.

Billy Sam led Dub, Toad, Geoff, and Freddy down the stairs and out to the patiently-waiting bulldozer. They walked around the yellow machine at a respectful distance at first, then circled for a closer inspection.

And fate smiled upon them, for the groundskeepers had left the ignition key in the lock! (This event occurred in a more innocent time; of