Thursday, October 31, 2013

Story Time: Norfolk Wrap Up

I returned to Norfolk six months later, in May. I stayed with Hrisko for about a week before landing my own apartment on the beach with his two brothers. I got a job working for Greg. While I had a pretty good time, it paled in comparison to those earlier days, and let's face it, the sequel is never as good as the original.

I had a few one nighter's before starting a relationship with a Navy girl. That lasted about two months when she found out that one of my "flings" prior to meeting her was with the two girls who lived above me. She had trust issues after that, and left me.

I did meet a girl who managed an up and coming rock band on the verge of signing a record deal. She was looking for some songs so she and I spent a few weeks ...... um ..... going through my song books.

I never even attempted to reach out to Lori while I was there. Nor any of her relatives.

I left Norfolk again in mid August that summer due to my grandfather. He was involved in an auto accident. I went back to Ohio to visit him in the hospital. Just when we thought a few days later he was recovering, he passed away. I was glad to have had at least those final moments with him.

Torn up over his passing, I decided not to return to Norfolk and remained in Chillicothe.

A few months later, Lori contacted me through my parents. She and Bernie came to stay with me. That lasted for about a month before she returned to Norfolk. I drove with her half the way before we got into an argument. She stranded me, more or less, in Richmond, Virginia. I took a bus to Tampa, Florida and spent the next year helping my brother get his business started before returning back to Ohio.

Not a month goes by without me at least reflecting back to something that happened to me in Norfolk that first time around. I pretty much lost touch with everyone eventually until I started posting this story to my blog. In the past few weeks I have either contacted, or been contacted by seven people from that time. Four of them girls.

While they, like myself, have aged, the memories of our younger days lingers on. It's been great catching up with them. One in particular.

"Hrisko" retired from the navy. He married a beautiful lady, has a son and he is now a millionaire. Good for him. Proof that great things do happen to great people. I'll always love that man.

"Torok" is married and is an avid hunter I hear.

"Penix" is a law enforcement officer.

"Karen" and her "sister" are happily married with children. She and "Sanoki" tried to make it, but it never worked out. "Andi" passed away about 6 years after her Norfolk vacation. No word on how she died.

"Julie" married and divorced twice. She has three kids.

"Lori" married twice, divorcing her first husband, who adopted "Bernie". Last I heard, she resides with her second husband in the Norfolk area. Bernie also lives in the area. No word if he is married or not or has any children of his own.

"Waylon Sr." has passed away. No word on Jr.

"Tiff" married and divorced and is now living with her "life mate". She has two kids from her marriage. I guess she still couldn't find a good man. Well, more power to her.

"Greg" now owns multiple motels and apartment complexes. I bet he would still give me a job if I ever showed up at his door. LOL

"Hammy" whereabouts are unknown, however, I heard that he got severely beaten one night after a poker game in Norfolk prior to us pulling out that September. No word on who his attacker(s) were.

I Heard "Neil" returned to Wyoming to resume being a cowboy. Cannonball also retired from the navy.

"Motown" whereabouts are also unknown. I'm still hoping to stumble across his book though.

"Shorty" passed away about six years after I left Norfolk. No word on how he passed away. Hey "Shorty'", remember that time I got my hat back? ... RIP my friend.

For me, I'm now writing stories, E-Books, poetry, songs and blogging. But you already knew that, didn't you?

To all those people who crossed my life path during that amazing time in Norfolk, I love you all. Thank you so much for being in my memories.

To someone special: "We'll always have Triumph"

To the rest of you, this:

"People say, don't ever look behind. Happiness is just a state of mind. Rock and roll lives and breathes in the hearts of the young. So carry on, you're running on borrowed time, trying hard to survive. Keep on running, your time is coming. Keep your dreams alive."

Follow your heart.



Happy Halloween 2013


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Story Time: The Party's Over

I woke up Friday and gathered everything up. After eating and watching some TV, I looked over at the clock. It was going on 1500 hours. I walked out the door with a purpose. I returned the keys to Greg. "You take care of yourself, Carroll." He wished, as we shook hands.

"You too."

I drove to Bonnie's, knowing she would probably be home from work about now. She was. I had a cup of coffee with her and said my final goodbyes. I didn't want to let go of the twins. I have come to love them all so much. "How are you getting to the airport?' She asked me.

"I have it covered." I told her.

"I can give you a ride." She offered.

"That's okay." I said. "Thanks anyway."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure."

Looking back, it was leaving her and the twins that was the hardest thing to do.

The next thing I knew, I was at the airport and checking in my duffel bag. Since I had a couple of hours to spare, I walked to the bar to have a few drinks. Before long, I felt a pair of eyes on me, and those eyes helped themselves in the chair next to me. "Lori?"

She was giving me a hard stare. "You been back for two weeks and didn't even bother to stop by and say hello?'

"I didn't think there was anything to talk about." But then it occurred to me. "How did you know I was here?"

"Here at the airport, or here at the bar?"


"Waylon told me you were back. Bonnie told me when you're plane was leaving. As for the bar, I didn't see you at the terminal so I took a guess." Then she had a question for me. "Where's your car?"

"After leaving Bonnie's, I dropped it off at the dealership." I explained. "I took a cab here."

"You returned the car?"

"I know." I giggled. "But it's just a car. I'll get another one when I get home."

"So you're really leaving?"

I nodded my head. "I miss my family. I want to see my little sister. It's the best thing for me right now."

"It feels so strange." She mumbled. "I can't explain it, but just knowing you were still around .... and now ....."

"Why did you come here, Lori?"

"I'm not sure myself." She answered. "I keep getting the feeling there's more to us than even we might know."

"No there isn't." I quickly thwarted that thought. "I think we are what we were."

There was a slight pause. A quiet that settled in between us. I could tell she was searching for the right words to say. Sometimes, there's no such thing. "What if I don't want it to be over?'

"It's not up to you or me." I made clear. "There's just too much damage that has been done. Too much pain."

She grabbed my arm. "We can do better, Carroll, I know it. Waylon told me what he said to you that night. Let's go home and talk about it. I'll tell you everything."

"I don't want to know everything." I countered. "I know too much as it is. And I am going home. Chillicothe is my home."

"Just when I thought we were friends." She stammered. I quickly rushed to inform her. "We are friends, Lori. Always."

"Why doesn't it feel like it then?"

"Because right now, we're exhausted. Life is changing for both of us. Change is often times hard to accept."

"Bernie misses you." She dangled.

"No." I had to stop that tactic in its tracks. "Don't do that. Don't use Bernie as a pawn." She began to show signs of breaking down, right there in the bar. I reached for her. "You have my parents address. Their phone number. When I get settled, I'll call you. We can talk on the phone, okay? We'll see where it goes from there, but let's face it, things are screwed up right now."

She bowed her head then lifted it up. "Hey, Waylon apologized to me for that night when I was 14."

"Good." I said.

She smiled. "Why do I get the feeling that you had something to do with it?'

"Because that's what you want to believe. He did it on his own."

"Right." She doubted. "Would it matter if I said I was now in counseling?"

"It only matters for you." I told her. "That's a good thing. Come to terms with it, and deal with it. That is good for you."

"But it's not good for us, is it?"

"Maybe. Down the road perhaps. Who knows?" Suddenly, my flight was announced. "That's me." I quipped.

We got to our feet. "Can I walk you to the gate?"


I put my arm around her and off we went. Once we got close, we stopped. She reached up and gave me a hug. "I still love you so much." She whispered.

"I still love you." I whispered back.

She began to straighten up my shirt. "Have a safe flight. It's snowing pretty hard out there. I can only imagine how bad it might be in Ohio."


For one brief moment, I didn't want to leave. I stood there looking in her eyes, but had to shake any thoughts of reconciliation off. Truth is, I think we just reconciled. I turned and made my way to the tunnel and forced myself not to look back. Had I done so, I may have changed my mind. I couldn't risk it.

The party is over. I have gone away.

I found my seat and settled in. Window seat. Moments later, a girl sat down in the aisle seat next to me. The middle seat remained empty. "Hi." She greeted. "My name is Rhonda."

"Carroll." I returned the greeting.

"Nice to meet you, Carroll. What's that in your shirt pocket?"

 "Oh, my little notebook." I told her, taking it out to show. "I write poetry in it. I never know when inspiration is going to strike."

"Oh, so you're a writer? With your haircut, I pegged you for military."

"I was military." I said. "Going home now. For good."

"Who was that with you at the gate?" She asked, then apologized. "Sorry, I'm nosey."

"Don't be sorry. It's quite all right. That was my ex fiancee'."

"Really?" She appeared surprised. "She's very pretty."

"Yes, she is."

 Just then, a flight attendant came strolling by with a cart. "We're going to be delayed due to the weather. Would either of you like a snack or beverage?"

Rhonda declined. "No thanks."

I rushed to be a gentleman. "Nonsense, Rhonda, have a drink with me. I'm buying."

That put a wider smile on her already smiling face. "Thanks Carroll. Hey, do you have anything written in that notebook?"

"I think I have a few in there."

"Can I read them?"

I handed it over to her. "Sure."

It became quiet for about ten minutes when the pilot finally announced our departure. We were slowly heading to the runway. "Finally." Rhonda blurted. She handed the notebook back to me. "Not bad. You're pretty good."

"Thanks, Rhonda. When we get airborne, I'll buy you another drink if you like."

"Are you trying to get me drunk?" She teased.

"Who? Me?" I teased in return.

So there it was. The end of my Norfolk chapter. A part of my life I will never forget. The friends, the girls, the good times, the bad times, the emotions, and let us not forget, the music. I stared out the window watching the snow flurries flail about in the cold wind. I was going home. I can't even begin to describe how I was feeling inside. I was leaving so much behind.

It's funny though, when you consider the two tiny organs in your body, the heart and the brain, how much they can carry. Feelings, thoughts, emotions and memories. So much to hold in such tiny compartments.

Maybe this party was over, the past put to bed, but perhaps another party lies in waiting. The future. Nervous as I was about what that future might hold, it did make me feel alive. I place my trust in the universe. If I remain true to it, it will never let me down. This I believed as the plane began to shoot into the night sky.

And maybe I thought I would find myself in a strange town like Norfolk when in hindsight, I left myself back in Ohio. One thing was for certain, I had a feeling that the wild and crazy events that the universe threw my way, was bound to cease. Normalcy would be welcomed back into my life again. I couldn't wait.

I sat there observing the night lights below. It was like when you move out from a house you grew up in, you can't help but reflect to your time there. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend. I nodded with quiet satisfaction.

Good bye old friend. Goodbye to the best damn party ever!

Suddenly, I was brought back to reality.

"Hey Carroll?" Rhonda killed the silence. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, Rhonda, ask me anything you like."

She leaned across the empty seat and in a low tone. "Have you ever heard of the mile high club?"


Okay, so maybe this party isn't quite over yet.



Story Time: Too Late

Before I knew it, I was standing there at disbursing being handed my final check. Four of them actually. One for the past two weeks, and one for the two weeks before that. One was a back pay check as after researching my pay grade change, I was short changed a couple of checks. That was a bonus, and one for unused leave time I incurred. I was then told to wait for my ticket. However, I requested a departure date two weeks from that day. They accommodated me. Now I was set.

I swung by the PX and cashed my checks.

I drove straight to the motel next to the Silver Saddle, and next to my old beach apartment. I took a room and paid for it up to my date of departure. I stayed in the room that night after picking up some fast food, chips, and some beer. I laid in the bed and watched TV. Something I hardly remember doing really.

Saturday, I drove to Virginia Beach. I just parked and walked around, doing some Christmas shopping for Bonnie and the kids, and for Bernie. I still wasn't sure if I was going to be there by that time or not. I was conflicted. When I finished, I went to see Bonnie.

I simply turned over the gifts to the kids. Since I wasn't sure I would be there on Christmas day, I wanted to give them their presents so I could see their faces when they saw what I got them. That was the point of it anyway, yes? I also gave Bonnie hers. A gold heart necklace, similar to the one I had gotten Lori way back when. She offered me to stay with her for the rest of my time there instead of the motel, but since I already paid two weeks in advance, I declined. Plus, I really wanted to be alone then. I still had a lot of thinking to do.

I also handed over Bernie's gift and asked her to give them to Lori after I left. If I decided to leave. I wanted to watch Bernie open his, but in this case, I would have to settle on imagining his expression. Along with that, I handed over a wrapped gift for her to give to Lori. I'm not going to say what it was. That's my secret.

Monday morning, I stood out on the shore watching the ocean. A cold front was sweeping through so it was a bit chilly. I'm not sure for how long I was there, but I heard someone coming up from behind. "Carroll?"

I turned to the sound of the voice. It was Greg. I approached him and we shook hands. "How you doing?" I greeted.

"What are you doing here? I thought that was your name in the registry. Aren't you supposed to be out at sea right now?"

"My time came up." I said.

We wasted a few minutes with idle talk before he offered me a job. "Hey, are you working anywhere or anything?"

"No." I stated. "Just hanging out for a while, trying to decide my next move."

"I have a room that got trashed a couple weekends ago. Come take a look at it with me."

So I did.

Standing in the doorway, I spoke the obvious. "Looks like someone had a hell of a party."

"I haven't had time to do the repairs yet." Then he turned to me. "I have everything for the job in the storage building. I figure it shouldn't take but maybe a week or so to get it back into shape. What do you say? Want a job?"

"Sure." I figured. "It'll keep me busy while I'm here."

"I'll barter with you." He bargained. "What you already paid for the motel room and your services in exchange for staying in the apartment. No one is staying there for the moment so it's yours if you want it for the rest of the month. Or for when you decide to leave. Which ever comes first."

I turned to look at the place and smiled. I stuck out my hand. "Deal."

"You know," He went on to say, "if you do decide to stay in Norfolk, I could use a man like you. Think about it?"

I nodded my head. "Sure, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks Greg."

And just like that, I was feeling like I was back in business. Nothing like having options in life.

I quickly grabbed my belongings and transported them to the apartment. Walking in, I took a good look around. "Honey, I'm home." I announced. So much for the welcoming committee.

I bought some groceries and settled in. The next day, I went to work. There were some holes in the wall, it needed painting. The carpet needed to be replaced. So did the sink in the bathroom. I could do this.

That night, I became a little restless. I took a chance and decided to skip on over to see Jr. I knew there was a risk that Lori would be home and see me, but I just wanted someone to hang out with other than Bonnie and the kids.

As fate would have it, Lori wasn't home. Perhaps a quick in and out.

Jr. was there with Becky and we got to talk for about an hour. I told them where I was staying and requested they say nothing to Lori about it. I was able to get out of there before she returned from whatever she was doing.

A couple days later, around noon, I was consumed with my work when I felt a presence behind me. I turned to look. It was her. She was standing there in the doorway of the motel room just watching me. "Jr. told me you were back." She said. Yeah, I forgot to ask them not to tell Tiffany. Stupid me. She had completely slipped my mind.

"Tiff, what are you doing here?"

"I thought I would drop by and say hello."

She appeared a bit apprehensive. I know I was. "Yeah," I countered. "I thought I would try on my handyman shoes for a while." I walked closer to her. "What's up?"

"I don't know." She floundered. "I missed you."

I quickly began to realize the purpose of her visit. I lowered my head. "Look, Tiff, it's not going to work."

"Why?" She somewhat sighed, taking in a deep breath. "I thought ...." And she left it hanging.

"What?" I snapped back. "What did you think? That I am the man of your dreams?" I smiled, trying to lighten the mood. "Look at me. I'm a bum. You can do so much better. Trust me."

She fidgeted a little when I approached her and lifted her chin with a finger. I leaned in and kissed her on the lips. "Did you honestly think we were going to get married and I to be the father of your children?" I grinned. "I'm a whore. At least, that's been the way of it since I arrived here. I don't like it either, but that seems to be what I am."

"No you're not." She tried to assure me. I kept to my guns. "I used you, Tiffany." I confessed. "I used you to get back at Lori. For that, I am so sorry. I apologize. You're a beautiful girl, and oh, so sexy to boot. You're also sweet as hell. But I'm not the guy for you. You know this is true, don't you? Come on," I pushed playfully, "you know it, don't you?"

She began to smile. "Can't blame a girl for trying."

I chuckled and gave her a hug. "No, I can't, but tell me, is it reallly that hard to find a guy these days?"

"You have no idea." She crackled.

I took a quick look around. I figured it was time for a break. "Hey, I'm hungry, have you had lunch yet?"

"No." She answered. I put an arm around her and led her outside. "Come on, let's go grab a bite. My treat."

I find it obscenely fascinating the manner in which the universe likes to toy with me sometimes. I'll never understand its sick humor. Then again, maybe I'm not supposed to understand it, just accept it. Who knows?

Jr. and Becky came by to spend the weekend with me. Tiffany did not accompany them. It was just us three. We ate a lot of pizza and drank a lot of beer. They would retreat into the other bedroom and screw each others brains out while I would take walks on the midnight beach. I was still trying to decide if I wanted to go see Lori or not. I knew time was ticking down. As it always does, eventually, it would run out.

I finished my job that Tuesday. Greg was pleased with the work I did. Sitting at his desk as we gobbled down a couple cheeseburgers and fries, he revisited an earlier conversation. "Have you thought about my offer?"

I carried my eyes to the side to contemplate. "Can I have one more day to consider it?"

He smiled. "Take all the time you want." He said. "Tell you what, if you want a job, just let me know. Okay?"

That night, I took my last walk on the beach. I made up my mind to make my decision before returning to the apartment. Take my flight home, or cash in my ticket? One way or the other, my decision was going to be made. This was my last night to reflect on everything that has occurred since I touched down in this city. It was my last chance to decide who I was going to be for the rest of my life. The fear of the answer was no longer going to hinder that process. Just take a deep breath, Carroll, and make a choice.

I think I was scared that it was too late. Did I over stay my proverbial welcome? Am I just fading into the background? Or have I become part of this town? Did the town now become a part of me? Is this why I was struggling so hard with what I wanted to do with my future? And how was my writing involved with this decision? Just how much did I truly desire for that? Then I started thinking about my family. My little sister. God, how I missed them so much. Perhaps the answer was there all along. But like a light that suddenly turned on, I soon realized what I wanted to do. I need to make a change. A serious one at that. Oh yes, now I know what I wanted to do. What I needed to do.

I looked up at the stars above. "You win." I whispered.

The universe always does get the last word.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jailhouse Rock / Roustabout DVD Review


After serving time for manslaughter, young Vince Everett becomes a teenage rock star.

It's Elvis at his absolute best! Not only are the songs in this movie awesome, but the dance scene to the song of the same title, Jailhouse Rock, showcases just how well Elvis could dance with choreography. I think this film also better demonstrates the acting potential that Elvis had, but was never reached because of the films his manager got for him. It is no secret that Elvis wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. He was even devastated when Kris Kristofferson got the part in the Barbara Streisand movie, "A Star Is Born". Elvis wanted that part so much. It may have been what helped to lead him to his death. Depression is a killer. 

Still, if you haven't seen an Elvis movie and you want to give one a try, go with this one first. You will love it, I promise. And with that, I give it a solid 9 stars. Perhaps the best Elvis performance of all his films. 



Charlie Rogers (Elvis Presley) is a coffeehouse singer who joins a financially troubled carnival in Roustabout. He is hired by owner Maggie Morgan (Barbara Stanwyck) and soon catches the eye of his pretty female co-worker Cathy Lean (Joan Freeman). Cathy's irate father Joe (Leif Erickson) clashes with Charlie when he tries to romance his daughter, but Charlie's singing helps bring in the much-needed money for the failing carnival and keeps the wolves from the big tent show. A disagreement has Charlie joining another carnival before things are smoothed out. Watch for Raquel Welch and Terry Garr in bit parts. Presley delivers 11 songs, the highlight being the Mike Leiber/Jerry Stoller tune"Little Egypt".

I love this one most in part because of Barbara Stanwyck, a legendary actress in her own right. Also known in her later years as Miss Victoria Barkley on the hit 60's Western, "The Big Valley".

I also like all the songs in this one too. Not his best acting performance but I just like the vibe of it or something. It's a fun flick to watch.

I give it a solid 6 and a half stars. I watch this movie about two or three times a year. 


Monday, October 28, 2013

Story Time: Girl Can't Help It

I stayed close to the ship for the rest of that weekend and for the better part, that week. When our last weekend in port arrived, I ended up staying with Hrisko. I spent the whole weekend with him at his parents house in their guest room. He and I spent Saturday doing our favorite thing, cruising Virginia Beach while getting wasted. I let him drive. That particular weekend I just wanted to erase the words Waylon spoke to me the weekend before.

On Sunday, we hung out in his garage playing guitars with his brother John. I had no intentions of ever going to Lori's side of town ever again. I did get to swing by to Bonnie and the kids for a couple of hours. That was nice. Sunday night, Hrisko's mother drove us to the ship. We were pulling out in the morning. I left my car parked at Hrisko's house, covered up. There would be no dramatic send off this time around. I was fine with that.

I was also reassigned to the ship laundry. I was now in charge of the press decks. I had three people working under me. We were one kick ass team too. It was a skate job really. I was working the night shift, 8PM to 8AM. We had our work done in the first three to four hours. The rest of the shift was finding places to hide. Or helping out others in the laundry. Since Hrisko was working the wash deck, and Cannonball was still operating the dry cleaning area, I would often pitch in to help or otherwise, just hang out and chit chat.

By the next weekend, we once again hit port in Fort Lauderdale. The place wasn't jumping as much as it was the first time we hit, but it also wasn't as dead as the second time we hit it on our last cruise. It was a tweener of the two.

Also missing was the enthusiasm from the first time I was here. At this point, I just wanted to hang with my friends. Things were changing, and my mind was almost constantly on my reenlistment date. Stay or leave? That was the million dolllar question.

It could have been because Torok was no longer around. I never did learn his fate after his unexpected departure that morning in the apartment. There was still no word on Sanoki either. My first full day in port, I was accompanied by Shorty and Glen. We came to shore Friday night, got a hotel room and went to The Candy Store and got sloppy drunk. No chicks. On Saturday, we all three sat at  the same table by the pool where Shorty and I sat the previous two times. We also sat there drinking those banana daiquiri's all day too, just like the previous times. Once again, it was Shorty that would break the silence with another one of his keen observations. "Remember that time you got your hat back?"

It was still funny. I started laughing. Glen looked at us both. "What?"

"Never mind." I said. "Inside joke."

Shorty turned his head to me. "You never did tell me how that fine young ass was."

I kept my eyes towards the strip and nodded my head. "It was a bit of okay." I smiled.

Glen was remained at a loss. "What? What fine young ass? You two are weird. I'll see you later." And off he went.

"Now look at what you did."Shorty mumbled. The waitress was walking by. Shorty finished the last off his drink and waved her down. "Two more.".

Heading to the Virgin Islands, it would be my last port before I would have to decide my fate. Either way I choose, I would be leaving the ship. I would be leaving S-3 Supply Division. I would be leaving my friends.

Much of my time was spent hiding in storage places with Hrisko and sometimes his brother, playing guitars and drinking what we snuck on board.My thoughts though, were almost always on Lori and the story Waylon told to me. I began to wonder if maybe I should have gone back to talk to her about it. Too many times I found it easier to just walk away rather than stand and face the fire, so to speak.

My heart was going out to her, but what Waylon told me was just too much for my mind to handle and deal with. It was a bad situation.

Virgin Islands came and went in a whisper. I was just biding my time. I had one week left after we pulled out. Well, one week before being flown back to Norfolk for either to be processed out of the military, or reporting to barber school as an instructor. The day after the pull out, Burke came to my rack in the berthing area as I was preparing to report to the laundry. "Hey Carroll, are you ready to sign the papers? Your orders to Norfolk is still waiting."

I turned to him as I buttoned up my shirt. "Yeah," I began, "about that, I'm going home."

Burke kept up his smile despite his eyes revealing disappointment. He reached over and patted me on the shoulder. "Is that what you really want?"

Hrisko was sitting in a chair and reading the bible. He looked up at me and I looked down at him. I nodded my head to Burke. "Yeah, that's what I want."

Just like that, I made my decision.

The ship laundry was shut down on Sunday. I was leaving at ten hundred hours Monday morning. Hrisko would be asleep at that time so we said our goodbyes in the laundry area, on the wash deck while we each did our own laundry on that day. It was a somber mood. We killed time playing guitars, but anyone could see that there was a painful atmosphere engulfing us. It was like two conjoined twins being separated. After one of our songs, Hrisko broke the ice. "Things aren't going to be the same without you." He spilled. "I'm going to miss you dude."

"I'm going to miss you too." I told him. Both of us fighting the tears. "You know," I continued, "I don't think I could have made it through all of this without your friendship. You're like a brother to me."

He grinned that grin of his and shook his head. "Hell man, you are my brother."

We set the guitars down and stood up. Instinctively, we came together for a hug. "I love you, man." I whispered in his ear. He whispered back. "I love you too."

We separated to regain our composure. I started to smile. He became curious. "What?" He asked me.

I nodded my head towards the back room. "Nobody is around." I told him. "Let's go back there and I'll rip you apart!" I now joked with him. I started to move in. "Come here you big lug, I'll ride you like a stallion, yeah!" I was giving him the crazy look.

He backed away before turning around and heading to the stairs. "Fuck that!" He laughed. "I'm grabbing some grub."

I nagged him along the way. "Come on, one kiss? Just one kiss? Lip lock me, baby."

What did you expect? I had to joke it up. It prevented me from crying about it. And trust me, I really wanted to cry too. My heart was breaking inside. I had no idea if I would ever see him again.

The next morning, I had my duffel bag packed. I stood next to my rack to take in the final view. It looked as it did the day I first arrived. Empty. I picked up my gear and started to make my way when Hrisko opened up his curtain. I caught this. We stared at each other for a moment. I winked and blew him a kiss. He smiled and started giggling.

Then I was gone.

I sat on the cargo plane all strapped in. There was a few others flying out with me that day from other departments and divisions. I was probably the only one who didn't really want to go. And the only one who really didn't want to stay.

That's lonely in a nutshell.

They flew us to Italy. We spent the night in some barracks on the base there. The next afternoon we were driven to an airport and boarded our flight back to the states. It took about 12 hours. Once we landed, we were shuttled to the base and dropped off at another building with barracks. It was a Wednesday night. I was told we could hang out there or whatever until that Monday, when our processing would begin. Just like on the ship, I would have to go through another debriefing, then take another quick physical and blah, blah, blah. At the end of that week, I would get my final pay and a plane ticket back to Ohio. Needless to say, I didn't hang around for long. On Thursday morning, I took a cab to Hrisko's house to reclaim my car. I left a note for his parents so they wouldn't think it was stolen. Then I drove around for a while. Bonnie was working but I didn't want to go to the bar. I knew Lori would be working too. I still didn't want to see her.

That evening, I showed up at Bonnie's house and stayed with her until Sunday night. I spent some more quality time with the kids. She and I talked everyday. I made her promise not to tell Lori I was back.

I returned to the base Sunday night and slept in the barracks. The next day, my processing began. I made the choice to stay on base for the remainder of the week. It was a boring process too. Time dragged forever. I took a few drives over to the dock where my ship was last spotted before we pulled out. I relived in my mind the first time we deployed and stood on the spot where Lori and I had hugged that morning. I was being very nostalgic about it all. I was caught in an inner struggle with myself to decide if I really did want to leave Norfolk at t he end of the week. Sure, I didn't want to stay in the Navy, but did I want to really leave this town after everything I have been through?

This is when my thoughts on Lori surfaced like a monsoon. A Tsunami of emotions swarmed my entire being. With so much of the past few months spent deciding my military fate, I now knew I had to decide my Norfolk fate. Stay or leave? Maybe a part of me did want to try and give Lori and I another shot. Maybe I did want to see her at least one more time. What the hell?

Then I started to reflect on our hot and cold relationship. Ever since Waylon's story, I began to see why Lori acted the way she did. I think her head was just messed up from all she had been through. Most of which I knew she couldn't help. I guess when you have gone through what she has as a child, maybe the girl just couldn't help it. But did I want to take that task on? You know what I'm talking about, the task of trying to repair the damage to her psyche. This was now the new million dollar question.

This was the bulk of my thoughts leading up to my last day as a US Navy serviceman.


Story Time: Shocking Revelation

I was antsy that Friday. After work, I wanted nothing more than to get off the ship for the weekend. The only problem was, where to go? I thought about going to Bonnie's, but sometimes I feel like I am imposing. I'm sure that wasn't the case, but I was in a 'tear up the town' kind of mood. The only other place I could come with was go hang out with Jr. The problem with that, he lived in the house across the parking lot from Lori. Oh well, to hell with it.

Now when I say Jr. lived in Waylon Sr.'s house, that's not exactly accurate. Jr. lived in the remodeled basement. It had it's own private entrance. It ran the entire length of the house. And the house was pretty big.

When you go down the steps and enter, you walk right into the living room. To the left is where the hallway ran all the way to the back bedroom. Along the way you have a door to your right that goes into the mini kitchen, then another down you have a closet. After that, you have the bathroom door and then a few feet down you enter the bedroom. It was fully carpeted and the back bedroom wall separated the rest of the basement which could only be accessed through the upper portion of the house. That side was where the water heaters were and the washer / dryer. Waylon did the remodeling himself. There was even a drop ceiling. Like I said, it was a big house.

As I mentioned in the early part of this story, Waylon was about a month or so shy of turning 18. He dropped out of high school midway through his junior year. He worked part time with his father. It would be full time however, there were days when Jr. couldn't deal with his fathers temper.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed Lori's house looked abandoned. No lights were on. When I asked Jr. about it, he said, "She fired Tiffany, and found a new sitter for Bernie. The sitter only sits at her house." Add the fact that Friday's was her double shift day, and that would explain the absence of any presence there.

Jr. decided to call Becky and have her and a friend to come over. By the time they arrived, he and I had picked up a few pizza's, a deck of cards and a lot of beer. I was a little shocked at who Becky brought along. "Tiff?"

She walked up to me with a pointed finger. "I lost my job because of you." Then she grinned when she got close enough to grab me and give me a kiss. Eh, I went with it.

The game was strip poker. Every time you lost a hand, you lost a piece of clothing and you had to do a shot whiskey, to go with the beer we were already drinking. By the time we were all near nudity, our hormones got the better of us. By four in the morning, Becky and Tiff were going to leave. Jr. stayed back in bed while I walked them to Becky's car. This is when I noticed Lori's car. Next to hers, another car. She had company. The lights were still out. I got a strange pain in my stomach and heart. I reached for Tiff. "Don't go. Stay. I'll take you back home tomorrow if you like?"

She looked at Becky. Becky motioned to get into the car. "It's up to you. I'm swinging by around noon after work. I have to work a half day."

Tiff shrugged her shoulders. "I'm staying."

We watched Becky pull out before heading back. We slept on the couch together.

We didn't get up until about noon. Jr. was already up and outside in the yard. Tiff and I took a shower together. By the time we got outside, Becky had just pulled up and Lori and her new boy friend came out from her house. talk about an awkward moment. I looked over at Jr. "Didn't take her long, did it?"

He shook his head. "Didn't take you long either."

Okay, he made a good point. Still, Lori and I locked onto each other. Neither of us was smiling. She grabbed the guys hand at which point, I reached for and pulled Tiffany into me gave her a good old fashion lip lock loaded with tongue. We stayed like that until I heard the mans car start up and pull out. When I took a glance over at the yard, Lori was standing there watching, shaking her head before turning around and walking back into the house.

God, I wanted to follow her so bad.

This is when Tiff got a bright idea. "Let's go to the beach!"

That Monday, I was called into the sales office again. Mr. Booty had me sit down. "What's up?" I inquired.

"Carroll, your reenlistment is coming up soon. Have you thought about what you're going to do?"

I scratched my head, figuratively. "I don't know. I haven't decided yet. Why you ask?"

He picked up a piece of paper and handed it to me. "This is orders for you to become an instructor at the barber school. If you decide to reenlist, this is where the Navy would like to station you for the next two years."

I was shocked. "But, how? Why?"

"It would appear you made one hell of an impression on someone at the school." He alluded to. I could only think of Mr. Riekley. "I will place this in your file until November. If you stay in, you can go there if you like."

"That sounds great." I heard myself utter. Mr. Booty wasn't finished.

"There is one more thing." He said. I looked on with my full attention. "If you decide to stay in the Navy and if you sign your reenlistment papers between now and 4PM Friday, we can process those orders ASAP. Meaning, we can have you assigned to the school before we pull out for our tour."

"You mean, I wouldn't have to leave port?"

"Nope." He stated. "Don't worry though, if you do decide later to reenlist in September or as late as November 15th, you'll still get the orders to be an instructor at the school. We'll fly you off in the middle of the ocean on a mail plane, maybe a cargo plane, but if you decide this week, you won't have to go back out to sea. It's your choice."

"That's certainly something to think about for sure, isn't it sir?"

Mr. Booty smiled. "Burke is waiting in his office whenever you're ready."

Wow. Imagine that. If this was a few weeks earlier, I would probably have been all over that deal. Now, I wasn't even sure I wanted to be in Norfolk anymore. I didn't even know if I wanted to do one more tour of duty. But if I do decide to reenlist, I think I'd rather go anyplace but back to Norfolk. The farther away from Lori, the better.

I left the Sales Office with a lot to think about. At lunch, sitting with Hrisko, he got a little kick out of it. "This is how they keep you in." He whistled. "They know you're not a lifer, so they dangle the instructor orders over your head. Shore duty."

"You're really enjoying this, aren't you?"

"Hey," he rationalized, "maybe the universe wants to punish you by keeping you here near Lori."

Oh yeah, he was enjoying this. If the school was in California or something, who knows, maybe I would have jumped on it. As it were, I still had to decide if I wanted to stay two more years in Norfolk. There was no way I could decide this before Friday, so it looked like I was pulling out with the ship come September 1st. But it still gave me something to think about by mid November.

When that Friday rolled around, I was stuck on board with fire watch duty so I didn't get to leave the ship until 8AM Saturday morning. When I did, I went to see Bonnie. I wanted to discuss this situation with her. She was all for it. "Well, minus the being around Lori part." She surmised. "Or maybe if you do come back to be an instructor, who knows, perhaps you two will get back together."

I rolled my eyes at her on that one. "Just a thought." She concluded.

By evening, dark had fallen. I considered going out to the bar and getting sloppy ass drunk. Maybe see if I could get lucky and take my luck to a nearby motel for the night, but something pulled me back to Lori's parking lot. I sat there in the car for about thirty minutes contemplating knocking on the door. It appeared as if she was home and no strange cars were parked this far back. This is when Waylon pulled in from his long day of work. I got out of my car and walked over to him as he was getting out of his. "Jr. isn't here." He informed me. "Becky picked him up at the work site. They're spending the weekend together at her parents home."

"I didn't really come over to see him." I said. "I just ..... I don't know why I came here." I confessed.

He studied me for a moment. "You miss her, don't you?'

"Yes, Waylon, I do. I probably always will though."

He nodded his head while pulling out a smoke. "There's something you need to know." He told me. "Come with me. I'll buy you a beer."

We sat down at the bar and after our beers arrived, he started in. "How much do you know about Lori's history?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm talking about her parents, Bernie's father."

I thought for a moment. "Well, her father died in some kind of accident, I think she said. Her mother dumped her off at an orphanage and left without a trace. Bernie's father is an ex-squid who couldn't find work and took back home to Oklahoma. That's about it I suppose."

"Uh-huh." He half grunted. "I figured she wouldn't tell you the truth."

I glanced over at him. "What is the truth, Waylon? Why don't you enlighten me?"

He started in on the bowl of beer nuts. "You don't want to know, son. The truth can be a cake covered in icing, or a bomb waiting to explode and take off half your face." Then he glanced over at me. "This is no cake and there damn sure aint no icing."

"Tell me the truth, Waylon." I spoke with a little more determination.

He studied me carefully one more time before obliging me. "Her father didn't die from no accident." He began. "He was murdered."

"Murdered?" I snapped back.

Waylon nodded his head, and took a drink of his beer. "You see, Lori's mother found out one day that her husband had a slice of pussy on the side. He'd been seeing another woman for many years. She also found out that this other woman had a son from him. That son was the same age as Lori. A few days later, Lori told her mother what daddy was doing to her when she wasn't around."

My heart started skipping beats. 'You mean?"

"That's exactly what it means. Lori was "daddy's" little girl." I sighed silently. He went on. "This sent Lori's mother over the edge. While he was at work, she gathered up Lori's things and took her to the orphanage. She already knew what she was going to do about it all. Later that night, when Lori's father, my brother, returned home, she was waiting for him in the living room with a double barrel shotgun, and pointing it right at him when he entered the house." He paused momentarily. "She emptied both barrels in his ass."

"Son of a bitch." I gasped.

"Pretty soon, the law arrived and arrested her on the spot. She was convicted and thrown into jail for the rest of her life."

"That's fucked up." I mumbled in total and complete shock.

"You're damn right it's fucked up." He concurred. "She's rotting away in an Oklahoma prison where she belongs."

"Wait a minute." I interrupted. "Oklahoma? Lori is from Oklahoma?"

He turned to look at me. "Why you think it took a few days before I found out about it and to go get her? I had to drive all the way across the damn country."

I kind of rolled that off my shoulders. "That's where Bernie's father is from." I noted. "Oklahoma."

Waylon took another drink of his beer and looked me dead in the eyes. "Who do you think Bernie's father is?"

I stared back at him. It took a few minutes for this blonde to figure it out, but once I did, my eyes lit up like a one hundred foot tall Christmas tree. "No way!"

Waylon turned back to his beer. I stumbled to my feet. I couldn't believe it. "What's the matter, son, you look a little pale."

I started walking towards the back door. My mind completely blown away, and getting more dizzy by the second. "You're crazy." I shouted out to him. Waylon got to his feet and faced me. "I thought you wanted to know the truth?" He laughed out, taking another swig from the bottle.

I stopped and turned around. I took a few steps towards him. I recomposed myself before unequivocally stating, "You're fucked up. Your whole family is fucked up. Her half brother? I'm out of here."

"You wanted the truth!" He kept laughing out loud.

I got halfway across the parking lot when I noticed Lori standing in the middle of the yard with her arms folded. She must have seen my car and came out to investigate. We practically met up at my car where I was desperately digging for my keys to unlock my door and get the hell out of there. "Carroll?" She called out.

"Don't worry," I went to put her at ease, "I'm leaving. You'll never see or hear from me again. I promise."

"It's okay." She replied. "If you came to talk, I just put on a pot of coffee."

"I don't want to talk." I told her, opening my door to slide in. "Waylon and I have talked enough already."

She glanced at the bar real quick then back at me. I closed the door and rolled down my window as I started it. "Waylon? Did he say something to you?" She wanted to know.

"He said plenty." I answered, backing out and pulling away. She chased me halfway across the lot. "Carroll, what did he say? What did Waylon tell you? Carroll!?" She screamed. I ignored her completely and got onto the road and floored the pedal.

That was some fucked up shit right there.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Story Time: Wedding Day Blues

I was in bed and showered when Lori returned home from work. Poor Tiff, she was scared out of her mind. She took off when Lori walked through the door. She came upstairs and into the room acting all lovey dovey. I was steaming mad, but hid it. For some reason, I wanted to get back at her even more than what I already did. So I acted casual about everything. She "woke" me up, asking me to take a shower with her. So I did. She kept saying she had a surprise for me later that day. (It was 3AM) I played along.

By the time we got up, we were both tired as hell. Only a few hours sleep at best. With Tiff gone, we had to tend to Bernie. Lori called Tiff and asked her why she left. "I need you here to distract dumb-shit while I go pick up the you know what."

Yeah, I was sitting right there in the kitchen feeding the baby. Like I couldn't hear. Dumb-shit you say?

Tiff returned, looking as broken down and tired as we probably were. She continued to be a little nervous. When she arrived, Lori was quick to grab her purse. "Be back in a couple hours." And off she went. As far as I was concerned, it was a couple hours of make out time with the sitter.

Tiff had just got done helping me to put on my clothes when she returned. Tiff ran downstairs while remained behind. Minutes later, I was called down. Jr. and his girlfriend, along with Tiff and Lori were gathered in the kitchen. She had bought a cake with a sexy brunette doll laying across it in a see through gown. It was quite erotic. For a cake. And a doll. Just saying.

She had two candles, a 2 and a 1, so I got to blow them out. Oh, and make my wish. Then she handed a few gifts over for me. Oh joy.

A couple new shirts. A new belt buckle. (I like the one I already have.) A couple new journals to write my poetry in. And a "anything goes" card for the bedroom. Who was she trying to fool? Anything was already going on.

Jr. and Becky stayed for some cake and ice cream before leaving. Tiff took off the first chance she got. Once Lori and I was alone, and Bernie in his play pen, I had a little surprise for her. You see, while she was out, I packed my bag. I had it stashed under the bed. I also took a Polaroid picture of Tiff naked. Of course, I gave my word to her I would show it to no one. Gullible girl. The world writes songs about women scorned, well, never underestimate a scorned man.

I took my new presents upstairs and placed them on the center of the bed while Lori did some dishes. I took the picture and placed them right on top of the journals. I went back downstairs to help her. When we finished, I turned to her. "Are you going upstairs?" I asked her.

"I might gather the dirty clothes." She considered.

"When you do, bring me one of my new shirts down. I want to try it on."

"I'll do it now." She whistled, and up the stairs she scooted.

I slowly followed, stopping at the top, waiting for my cue. "What in the hell?" And that was my cue.

"Find something you like?" I moseyed on through the doorway. She turned to me with extreme confusion coming from her eyes. "My cousin?"

"What's the matter, Lori? You look devastated. Kind of the way I looked last night, wouldn't you say?"

She stood there like she was trying to piece it together. "My cousin?"

"Oh, we had ourselves a good time last night. And this morning. A real good time."

Her head turned to me. Her eyes spitting fire and death. "You bastard." She softly hissed. "My cousin!" And up went the volume. She began to lose it. She started flailing her arms wildly. All the while, letting me know what she thought of me. I took a few minor blows before I was able to catch them and control her, pushing her up against the wall.

"Who the hell are you to curse me?" I mildly shouted. I didn't want to scare Bernie downstairs. "You and your new play-toy." She suddenly halted resistance and stared at me. "Yeah," I continued, "I know all about it. Paul is his name?"

Her incessant breathing began to calm down a little. Still with that death stare, "I hate you."

I was satisfied with that response. "At least we got to the truth now, didn't we?" She spat on my face. Right on my lower lip and chin. I used my tongue to lick it up. "That's it, give me your poison. Kill me some more. I'm already dead." I released her and quickly bent down to pull out my bag. I threw it around my shoulder and turned to her. "Good news for you, there's a ready made wedding taking place tomorrow, you get to take your pick of any man who will have you." Then with a hearty salute, "Have a great honeymoon."

I got downstairs and took one look at Bernie playing in his pen and for a moment, I froze dead in my tracks. I shook it off, that numbing trance, and headed to the back door for my escape. "I love you Bernie." I mumbled.

Lori must have finally caught herself, no sooner did I start my turn around the corner to go to my car, she came exploding out the back. Something hit my shoulder. "Damn it!" I yelled. "That hurt, Lori."  It was a glass ashtray.

I turned around to face her. She lifted up her dukes. "Come on, bad ass. What you going to do? Hit me back? Well here I am!"

I shook my head at her. Her eyes had a crazy look in them. It actually frightened me. She glanced at her fists and saw the ring. Her eyes opened wide. She looked towards the river. Before I knew it, she darted to the edge of the pier, removing the ring and tossing it. "That's what I think of you, Carroll!"

I nodded. I have seen everything I needed to see. "At least it was cheaper than the one I was going to put on you tomorrow." And off I went. A few moments later, halfway to my car, she downshifted into psychopathic mode. "Wait! Carroll! I'm sorry. Don't go." She high tailed it straight towards me. I kicked it into another gear and quickly got into my car. "Carroll, wait!" She cried out, then dropping straight to her knees in the middle of the yard where she buried her face into her hands, sobbing.

I didn't even look behind me.

I quickly realized I had no place to go, except to the ship. I didn't feel like going there. I was homeless otherwise. I decided to go see Bonnie. The kids were with their grandparents that weekend so she and I had privacy to talk. We sat out on the front porch, her in her swing and me on a chair. After I told her what happened, she asked the obvious. "What are you going to do now?"

"I don't know." I honestly had no clue. "I guess I should call Hrisko up and let him know the show is over."

"I just bought your wedding gift yesterday too." She said, trying to cheer me up I guess. I smiled. "I'll reimburse you."

"Eh, I got the receipt."

Out of curiosity, I asked her. "What was it?"

"It was a gold plated toilet seat for the couple who had everything."

I started to laugh. "It wasn't real gold, was it?"

"Nope." She laughed back.

This is when I figured it out. "You're not going to tell me, are you?"

Still laughing. "Nope."

Man, I just love that lady.

I rushed to make the calls to everyone on my side of the party. I caught my parents just in time before they were to head out the door to the airport. They were sad to hear about the breakup. So was Hrisko.

Bonnie was gracious enough to let me crash there for the night. And Sunday night too. I got to see the kids when they showed up and I got to do my favorite thing, tuck them in and read them a story. Man, I loved those kids too.

I showed up Monday morning in time to stow my gear and make muster. I guess from here on, I would be living on the ship again. Just as well, we only had a few weeks left before deployment anyway and we had a lot of supplies for the stores coming in. We worked until the late hours humping it all into the holes. (That sounded gutter) Everyone in the division had to participate in the activity. (That sounded gutter too)

The only thing I had to look forward to was the upcoming weekend. And I wasn't even looking forward to it at that. I really felt bad about it all. I really was missing her and Bernie. I wasn't even sure if I felt that it was really over. This was bad. Real bad. I was starting to double think my behavior. Did I do the wrong thing? Should I have just asked her about it? Maybe the guy was just trying to ..... no, Carroll, stop it! She cheated on you. Just go with that. When it comes to trusting a girl, and her word, go with the the way that works best for you. Walk away. What I didn't know then, was that would become my best response. The road to my future was indeed being paved. It was being done so in every way possible too. Welcome to the winds of change.


Story Time: One Big Lie

I stepped outside one afternoon and saw Waylon under his work truck. Looking around, Jr. was nowhere to be seen. As I approached, I could hear him mumbling obscenities left and right. I bent down the opposite side. "Whatcha doing?"

He looked over at me for a quick moment before returning his sights back on the task at hand. "I'm sprinkling fairy dust all over the land of wishes and dreams. What the hell does it look like I'm doing?" I grinned. He was one crusty old fart. I slid underneath to join him. He stopped for a moment. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" He asked all grizzled like.

"Figured I'd help you sprinkle that fairy dust."

"I got it." He quickly lashed out.

"Yeah, that's what it looks like from my end." I joked.

He studied me for a moment. "You're one stubborn son of a bitch, aren't you?"

"Don't worry," I replied, "you still have me beat by a mile. Now, what are we doing here?"

We spent hours under that thing. When it was all said and done, he finally got in and turned the key. The truck fired right up. I was pleased with my efforts. I started to head back to the house to clean up. "Hey," he shouted over at me, buy you a beer?"

I guess that was the way he said thanks. Worked for me. Although the last time, it didn't go over so well. This time, I just sat there listening to him bitch about the world with what few people were in the pub that night.

By the time I walked back to the house, Lori was wrapping up some cleaning. "If you're going to spend all day with your new friend, the least you can do is inform me. Your dinner is on the stove. Wash up first. I don't need grease all over my china."

I did as she wished then I walked over to get it and sat down at the table. "You don't like me being friends with him?" I gathered.

"I don't know yet." She replied. "What if I don't?"

 "He lives across the parking lot, Lori. Not to mention, he's our landlord, and your uncle. I don't think it would kill us to be sociable."

"It might not kill you." She hinted.

I could tell she was still in about a month long mood. I finally had enough. "What is up your ass lately?"

"Nothing is up my ass." She cracked back. Then she smiled.

"Well," I asserted, "something is up your ass."

She walked over to me and sat down on my lap. "Then why don't you just hold an inspection tonight and see if you can find anything up there?"

Was she being naughty? By Joe, I do believe she is. That is a rarity. I snuggled her closer. "Maybe I will." I said, then took a bite of my dinner, staring at her grinning.

The fourth of July finally rolled around. Lori, Bernie and I joined forces with Tiffany, Jr., his girlfriend Becky along with the rest of Waylon's family, minus Waylon himself,  to watch fireworks at a park. Also in attendance that evening was Tiffany's mother and younger brother. Bonnie and the twins also tagged along. Since there was a food hut nearby, we didn't bother bringing any of our own. We just made a lot of trips to the hut. They were serving mostly hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, chips, hot dogs, stuff like that. Shortly before the fireworks began, Lori asked me to go get her a drink. Pretty soon, a few others placed an order with me too. No sooner did I start heading off did Tiffany volunteer to help me carry the items back. As we waited for the food, Tiffany asked me a favor. "Buy me some fries. I'm broke."

"You're broke? We just paid you."

"I spent it already."

"Fine." I caved in.

"Oh, a soda too?" She asked. "A large one?"

I rolled my eyes. "Fine."

When we had everything tallied up, I picked one of the trays, leaving the other one for her. But before she grabbed it, she leaned over and planted me a kiss right smack on my lips. "Thanks." She issued, then took the tray and scampered off towards the others.

I stood there momentarily. It wasn't just the fact that she kissed me on lips, it was because she swiped her tongue across them in the process. I took in a deep breath. I knew I was going to have to have a talk with her about her behavior of late. Goofing around and what not is one thing, but she was testing the limits more and more. However, that talk would have to wait.

No sooner did we finally make it back home when I looked over at the pub. When we got out of the car, Lori had a sleeping boy in her arms. I walked with her to the front door to open it for her. "I'll take Bernie to bed." She whispered.

"I'm going to go have a beer with Waylon." As I had a hunch he was probably in there. Lori sighed. "Carroll?"

"Just one." I promised, much to her chagrin.

I ended up sitting down next to him. When glanced at me, he called out to the bartender. "Ralph, get my friend a beer."

"Oh, so we're friends now?" I humored.

"Only until you piss me off." He humored in return.

"Then I better guzzle this bottle down fast." I said. He turned his head at me.

"Oh shit, what now?"

"Nothing." I uttered, grinning like a fox. "But since you brought it up."

"I didn't bring up shit." He stated.

"Whatever. So, why didn't you come with us to watch the fireworks?"

He grunted. "Already seen them." Then he took on the appearance of reflection. "I think around 1975 was the last time."

"Come on, we've all seen fireworks." I floundered. "It's not about that. It's about spending time with your family."

"You hearing this Ralph? The boy here is preaching family to me." Ralph waved him off. Waylon turned to me. "Now listen here, don't go getting cocky with me lad, I provide for my family. And FYI, you're starting to piss me off again."

"That seems to be my trademark." I half whispered. 'I'm not syaing you don't provide for your family, but providing is more than just paying the bills. It's spending time with them too."

"Boy, if you weren't so big, I'd knock you right off that stool."

I started laughing. I don't know why. "You're right." I gave up. "It's none of my business. Forget I mentioned anything."

"Listen here," he mumbled, "I had to finish a job today that should have been finished two days ago. I don't get days off."

"I understand." I tried to end it there, but with no such luck.

"I don't think you do." He flat out told me. "You think just because you're engaged with a made to order family that you know a thing or two about being a family man? Son, you need to grow a few more hairs on your nut-sack before you come crawling to me about family, you here what I'm saying to you?"

"Yeah," I was put in my place. "I hear ya. Loud and clear."

He nodded his head in satisfaction. "Good. Besides, you have no idea what you've gotten yourself into. But you will." He started laughing. "You will."

"I admit," I told him, "this marriage stuff is new to me."

"Marriage?" He laughed some more. "Boy, I'm not talking about marriage. I'm talking about ...." He paused. He stared off to the side for a moment. "You'll find out soon enough I reckon."

"Find out about what?" My curiosity started roaming wild.

He gave me what I perceived as an evil-ish glare. "Never no mind. Ralph, set us up another one."

I waved it off. "No more for me. I'm going back home."

"Suit yourself, family man." And I left him sitting there on that stool laughing. But was he laughing at me? And if so, why?

I kept feeling inside that something was amiss. I still couldn't place my finger on it, but something wasn't feeling right. I started to think that there was something left for me to uncover. But what was it? Or maybe I was just freaking out over this upcoming wedding. Lori had sent out the invitations and everything was falling into place. It wasn't going to be big, just mostly her family. I contacted my parents and informed them about it and they were planning on attending. So was Bonnie and the kids and a few of my navy buddies. Hrisko was all prepared to be my best man. Oh yes, everything was in place. So why was I so jittery about it?

Before I knew it, we were finally out of dry docks and we were preparing for a quick three day test cruise. After which, we would return to load up supplies for another Mediterranean deployment. To this point, I was chalking up all my fears and worries to wedding jitters. And no, I hadn't gotten around to that talk with Tiffany yet either. Oh, well.

Lori drove me to the pier that morning. Tiff was at home with Bernie. There was no major emotional display this time around. It was only for a few days then we would be back. No biggie.

I shared some of my concerns with Hrisko during this time, but on the second day, a fire alarm went off. You see, we have these fire drills and everyone is assigned a section of the ship in which they man during these drills. The only thing is, this wasn't a drill. This was a real fire. And the fire was in my section. When they announced it over the PA system, my heart froze. I turned to the guys in the shop. "That's my section."

"Get your ass going then." Shorty advised.

I raced as fast as I could. My section was up by the communication rooms. It turned out there was an electrical fire coming from one of them. I was the fourth man on my hose. As we entered through the hatch, with all our gear on, smoke started pouring out of the place thicker than cardboard. It was an unbelievable sight. The first man went down fast. He actually caught fire. My heart was racing. I turned to the man behind me. "Take my spot, I'm getting him out of here!" I yelled.

I rushed in on my knees basically and grabbed the guy, pulling him while someone else distinguished the fire on his person. This is when I heard the second hose man yelling. I crawled back in to get him while everyone else moved up the hose. Fear was in all of our eyes. Other men from sections next to ours arrived and were backing us up. I pulled out the second guy. He didn't appear as bad as the first guy and then the third guy went down. I went back to get him. He was simply overcome with smoke inhalation. So was I after that move. All four of us were quickly taken to the ship hospital.

I was fortunate. So was the third guy. The first two suffered some serious burns. There were supposed to be a couple people who were supposed to pull the guys out, but due to the thickness of the smoke, they never saw them. Because I was right there, I did the honors. Even though technically, I wasn't supposed to. Regardless, this is what the higher ups called improvising. I was given some accolades for my actions. I took it all in stride. I remained in the hospital until we pulled back into port. No sooner than was I instructed by Burke that I could leave the ship to go home if I liked. Everyone else, for the most part, would remain until normal hours. I accepted.

When I showed up at 10AM, Lori was surprised to say the least. I quickly explained to her what had happened and while she offered to call in from work, I wouldn't hear of it. This was Friday, her double-shift day. So off she went. Tiffany remained as I just wanted to lay down for a while. By the time I woke up, it was going on 6PM. Our wedding was to be on that Sunday. While I was getting more nervous by the hour, I think I was kept in check by my experience. For some reason, the whole thing appeared to calm me down more than anything. I was just grateful to have come out of it without any burns, much less, my life. I don't know why, but I took it as some kind of sign. A good sign.

After eating, I decided to get all dressed up and go have a couple of drinks at the bar and spend a little time with my bride to be. When I got there, some of the guys from the ship were present. The next thing I know, I was being bought a few drinks in celebration of my birthday. Since I was going to be getting married that day, the guys celebrated with me that night. I sat with them for about an hour and finally worked my way to the bar where I sat next to this guy who quickly started talking to me. "So, today is your birthday?" He asked.

"No, Sunday is, but I'm getting married that day so ...." I wavered.

"No shit?" He seemed surprised. "Getting married on your birthday? That calls for a drink. Allow me." Then he called Lori over. "A round for me and my friend, sugar."

Lori nodded but had a strange look in her eyes. In fact, I would describe it as almost a frightening look. When she turned around to make them, the guy elbowed me. "You see that fine looking thing?" He asked. "I tapped that last night in the parking lot."

My heart sunk into my stomach. I couldn't believe my ears. "What?" I recoiled. "Her? The bartender?"

"I sure did." He gloated. "Man, she has one tight pussy, you know?"

My head started spinning. I was having a hard time processing his words. I pointed at her. "Her. Right there. You had sex with her last night in the parking lot?"

"Yes." He kept on gloating. "In the back seat of my car. You can still smell her scent."

Lori brought the drinks over and gave me a smile before turning around and continuing to work. She kept glancing over in our direction. A concerned or nervous look still in her eyes. I finished my drink in one quick swallow. I slammed the glass down. "Thanks for the drink."

"Paul" He said, sticking out his hand. "My name is Paul."

"Thanks for the drink, Paul. I got to run."

I shook his hand and left without even saying goodbye to Lori. I didn't even look her way. I had no idea if she was looking my way, or if she even noticed I left. I didn't really care. I was so pissed off. A part of me wanted to confront her with it, but I didn't want to make a scene in front of the guys or in front of Ward. I was embarrassed enough, and humiliated. I didn't want the others to find out. I don't know. I jumped into my car and raced over to see Bonnie.

"I don't know what to say, Carroll." Was her response after I told her everything. "She wasn't working that night, she works days now, but she did come in and had a few drinks and she was talking to some guy at the bar. They left together, but as to whether or not they did anything, I don't know. I thought about saying something to you but with the wedding coming up and all, I didn't know if I should or not."

"I can't believe it." I heard myself thinking.

"Maybe he was just saying that. You know, being macho and everything. Maybe nothing really happened. Talk to her about when she gets off tonight or tomorrow. You're going to have to sooner or later and later will be too late. The wedding is Sunday. See what she says."

"I know what she'll say." I told her. "She didn't do anything. She'll deny it."

"If she does, will you believe her?"

I looked at her eye to eye. "No." I found myself saying. "I wouldn't."

"Then you have a major problem on your hands."

She was right. I did have a major problem on my hands. How was I going to deal with it? The first thing was, swing by a store and by some more beer. Which I did. The second thing, go back home and walk around the back to the dock, sit down and start drinking that beer. Which I did. A few minutes later, Tiffany emerged from the back door. "Carroll, is that you?"

I looked her way. "Yeah, it's just me." I said. She walked down to greet me, taking a chair opposite. "Bernie is sound asleep." She informed me. I put down the last of the beer I had in my hand and reached for another. "Want one?" I offered.

"No thanks." She said. I shrugged it off and pulled the tab, taking another good long swallow. "Are you okay?" She asked. I turned to her. "Did you watch Bernie last night?"

She squirmed a bit. "What?"

"Did you watch Bernie last night?" She froze in the warm evening air. That was enough answer for me. "It's okay." I told her. "I already know that you did."

"For a few hours." She finally confessed. "Lori wanted to go order your cake and everything. She's planned a surprise birthday party for you tomorrow."

"What time did she leave?' I asked her.

"Around six or seven I guess, why?"

"When did she get back?" I asked. She didn't answer right off, so I repeated the question. "What time did she get back, Tiffany?"

"I don't know. About midnight. Maybe later."

I finished my beer and stood up. She stood up too, facing me. We stared at each other for a few moments before I suddenly grabbed her and pulled her into me, planting a kiss. She backed out at first. "I don't think we should do this."

"Oh bullshit." My soured dialogue spilled. "You been hitting on me ever since we met."

"I know, but, now you're getting married." She reasoned.

I started shaking my head. "No I'm not."


"You heard me." I said. Staring at her, I laid it on the line. "It's now or never."

She consumed a few moments to think it over. Once she made her decision, she reached behind my neck and kissed me. I guess she chose now.

It was all just one big lie.

And here I thought I was going to be the weak link in this relationship.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Patsy Cline : Legend

Virginia Patterson Hensley (September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963), known professionally as Patsy Cline, was an American country music singer. Part of the early 1960s Nashville sound, Cline successfully "crossed over" to pop music. She died at age 30 at the height of her career in a private plane crash. She was one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century.

Cline was best known for her rich tone, emotionally expressive and bold contralto voice and her role as a country music industry pioneer. Along with Kitty Wells, she helped pave the way for women as headline performers in the genre. Cline was cited as an inspiration by singers in several genres. Books, movies, documentaries, articles and stage plays document her life and career.

Millions of her records have sold since her death. She won awards and accolades, leading some fans to view her as an icon at the level of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Ten years after her death, in 1973, she became the first female solo artist inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1999, she was voted number 11 on VH1's special, The 100 Greatest Women in Rock and Roll, by members and artists of the rock industry. In 2002, country music artists and industry members voted her Number One on CMT's The 40 Greatest Women of Country Music and ranked 46th in the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" issue of Rolling Stone magazine. According to her 1973 Country Music Hall of Fame plaque, "Her heritage of timeless recordings is testimony to her artistic capacity."

Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley in 1932, in Winchester, Virginia, to Hilda Patterson Hensley, a 16-year-old seamstress, and Sam Hensley, a 43-year-old blacksmith. Patsy soon had a younger brother and sister, Samuel and Sylvia; the siblings were called Ginny, John, and Sis. The family moved often before settling in Winchester when Patsy was 8. She grew up "on the wrong side of the tracks". Sam deserted his family in 1947, but the Hensley home was reportedly quite happy.

Cline was introduced to music at an early age, singing in church with her mother. She admired stars such as Kay Starr, Jo Stafford, Hank Williams, Judy Garland, and Shirley Temple. She had perfect pitch. She was self-taught and could not read music.

When she was thirteen, she was hospitalized with a throat infection and rheumatic fever. "The fever affected my throat and when I recovered I had this booming voice like Kate Smith"

To help support her family after her father abandoned them, she dropped out of high school and worked various jobs, often performing as a soda jerk and waitress by day at The Triangle Diner across the street from her school, John Handley High.

After several weeks of watching performers through the window at her local radio station, she asked WINC-AM disc jockey and talent co-ordinator Jimmy McCoy if she could sing on his show. Her first performance on radio in 1947 was so well received that she was asked back.
This led to performances at local nightclubs, wearing fringed Western stage outfits that her mother made from Patsy's designs.

Cline performed in variety and talent showcases in and around the Winchester and Tri-State areas. Coupled with increasing appearances on local radio, she attracted a large following. In 1954 Jimmy Dean, a young country star in his own right, learned of her and she became a regular with Dean on Connie B. Gay's Town and Country Jamboree radio show, airing weekday afternoons live on WARL-AM in Arlington, Virginia.

She married contractor Gerald Cline on September 19, 1953 and divorced him on July 4, 1957. The dissolution of that marriage was blamed on their considerable age difference and on the conflict between her desire to sing professionally and his desire that she adopt the conventional role of a housewife. This marriage produced no children.

Bill Peer, her second manager, gave her the name Patsy, from her middle name and her mother's maiden name, Patterson. In 1955 he got her a contract at Four Star Records, the label with which he was then affiliated. Four Star was under contract to the Coral subsidiary of Decca Records. Patsy signed with Decca at her first opportunity three years later.

Her first contract allowed her to record compositions only by Four Star writers, which Cline found limiting. Later, she expressed regret over signing with the label, but thinking that nobody else would have her, she took the deal. Her first record for Four Star was "A Church, A Courtroom & Then Good-Bye", which attracted little attention, although it led to appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. As these performances were not "records" per se, they were not governed by her contract, and she could sing what she wanted, within reason. This somewhat eased her "stifled" feeling.

Between 1955 and 1957, Cline recorded honky tonk material, with songs like "Fingerprints", "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down", "Don't Ever Leave Me Again", and "A Stranger In My Arms". Cline cowrote the latter two. None of these songs gained notable success. She experimented with rockabilly.

According to Decca Records producer Owen Bradley, the Four Star compositions only hinted at Patsy's potential. Bradley thought that her voice was best-suited for pop music, but Cline sided with Peer and the other Four Star producers, insisting that she could only record country songs, as her contract also stated. Every time Bradley tried to get her to sing the torch songs that would become her signature, she would panic, missing her familiar banjo and steel guitar. She recorded 51 songs with Four Star.

In 1959 Cline met Randy Hughes, a session guitarist and promotion man. Hughes became her manager and helped her change labels. When her Four Star contract expired in 1960, she signed with Decca Records-Nashville, directly under the direction of legendary female-singer country music producer Owen Bradley. He was responsible for much of Cline's success and positively influenced the careers of both Brenda Lee and Loretta Lynn.

Even though she was still scared of the lush Nashville Sound arrangements, Bradley considered Cline's voice best-suited for country pop-crossover songs. Bradley's direction and arrangements helped smooth her voice into the silky, torch song style for which she won fame.

Cline's first release for Decca was the country pop ballad "I Fall to Pieces" (1961), written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard. The song was promoted and won success on both country and pop music stations. On the country charts, the song slowly climbed to the top, garnering her first Number One ranking. In a major feat for country singers at the time, the song hit No. 12 on the pop and No. 6 on the adult contemporary charts, making her a household name and demonstrating that women could achieve as much crossover success as men. 

In 1960, Cline realized a lifelong dream when the Grand Ole Opry accepted her request to join the cast, making her the only person to achieve membership in such a fashion. She became one of the Opry's biggest stars.

Even before that time, believing that there was "room enough for everybody", and confident of her abilities and appeal, Cline befriended and encouraged women starting out in the country music field at that time, including Loretta Lynn, Dottie West, Jan Howard, sixteen-year-old Brenda Lee and a thirteen-year-old steel-guitar player named Barbara Mandrell with whom Cline once toured, all of whom cited her as a major influence.

According to both Lynn and West, Cline always gave herself to friends, buying them groceries and furniture and even hiring them as wardrobe assistants. On occasion, she paid their rent, enabling them to stay in Nashville and continue pursuing their dreams. Honky-tonk pianist and Opry star Del Wood said, "Even when she didn't have it, she'd spend it—and not always on herself. She'd give anyone the skirt off her backside if they needed it."

She cultivated a brash and gruff exterior that allowed her to be considered "one of the boys". This allowed her to befriend male artists as well, including Roger Miller, Hank Cochran, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Harlan Howard and Carl Perkins all of whom she socialized with at famed Nashville establishment Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, next door to the Opry. In the 1986 documentary The Real Patsy Cline, singer George Riddle said of her, "It wasn't unusual for her to sit down and have a beer and tell a joke, and she'd never be offended at the guys' jokes either, because most of the time she'd tell a joke dirtier than you! Patsy was full of life, as I remember."

Cline used the term of endearment "Hoss" to refer to her friends, both male as well as female, and referred to herself as "The Cline". Patsy met Elvis Presley in 1962 at a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and they exchanged phone numbers. Having seen him perform during a rare Grand Ole Opry appearance, she admired his music, called him The Big Hoss, and often recorded with his backup group, The Jordanaires.

By this time, Cline controlled her own career, making it clear to all involved that she could stand up to any man, verbally and professionally, and was ready to challenge their rules if they interfered with her. In a time when concert promoters often cheated stars by promising to pay them after the show but skipping out with the money before the concert ended, Cline demanded her money before she took the stage by proclaiming: "No dough, no show", a practice that became the rule.

According to friend Roy Drusky in the The Real Patsy Cline: "Before one concert, we hadn't been paid. And we were talking about who was going to tell the audience that we couldn't perform without pay. Patsy said, 'I'll tell 'em!' And she did!" Friend Dottie West stated in amazement some 25 years later in an interview that "It was common knowledge around town that you didn't mess with 'The Cline!'"

Cline bore a son, Randy in 1961. On June 14, she and her brother Sam were involved in a head-on collision on Old Hickory Boulevard in Nashville, the second and more serious of two crashes during her lifetime. The impact threw Cline into the windshield, nearly killing her. Upon arriving at the scene, Dottie West picked glass from Cline's hair, and went with her in the ambulance.
When help arrived, Cline insisted that the other car's driver be treated first. (West witnessed this, and the impression left upon her may have contributed to an unfortunate decision she made some three decades later. In 1991, West was seriously injured in a car accident, and like Cline, she too insisted that her driver be treated first. West died from her injuries, possibly because she had declined to be treated immediately.) Cline later stated that she saw the female driver of the other car die before her eyes. Cline spent a month in the hospital, suffering from a jagged cut across her forehead that required stitches, a broken wrist and a dislocated hip. Both Nassour and friend Billy Walker (who died in a vehicle accident in 2006) reported that Cline rededicated her life to Christianity while in the hospital, where she received thousands of cards and flowers from fans. When she left the hospital, her forehead was visibly scarred. For the remainder of her career, she wore wigs and makeup to hide the scars, along with headbands to relieve the forehead pressure that caused headaches if left unattended. Six weeks later, she returned to the road on crutches with a new appreciation for life.

A series of recordings titled Patsy Cline: Live at the Cimarron Ballroom from her first concert after the crash were released in 1997 and feature dialogue of Cline interacting with the audience, reviewing her live performances. Recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a sound check, these archives were found in the attic by a later owner of one of Cline's residences and were given to the family.

Cline was the first female country music star to headline her own show and receive billing above the male stars with whom she toured.

Cline was the first woman in country music to perform at New York's Carnegie Hall, sharing the bill with fellow Opry members. The performance garnered sharp disapproval from gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen in the process - at whom Cline eloquently fired back. She headlined the famous Hollywood Bowl with Cash. Later in 1962, she became the first woman in country music to headline her own show in Las Vegas at the Mint Casino, the sign from which can still be seen at its new home on Pico Boulevard near La Brea in Los Angeles. 

With this new demand for Cline came higher earnings. Reportedly she was paid at least $1000 for appearances towards the end of her life - a then an unheard-of sum for country music women, whose average fee was less than $200. Her penultimate concert, held in Birmingham, Alabama, grossed $3000.

Friends Dottie West, June Carter Cash, and Loretta Lynn recalled Cline telling them during 1962–1963 that she felt a sense of impending doom and did not expect to live much longer. Cline, known for her generosity, had begun giving away personal items to friends, writing her will on Delta Air Lines stationery and asking close friends to care for her children should anything happen to her. She told The Jordanaires' bass singer Ray Walker as she exited the Grand Ole Opry the week before her death: "Honey, I've had two bad ones (accidents). The third one will either be a charm or it'll kill me."

On March 3, 1963 Cline performed at a benefit at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas for the family of disc jockey "Cactus" Jack Call. He had died in an automobile crash a little over a month earlier. Call was a longtime DJ for KCKN, but had switched to KCMK a week before his death in January 25, 1963 at the age of 39. Also performing on the show were George Jones, George Riddle and The Jones Boys, Billy Walker, Dottie West, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, George McCormick, the Clinch Mountain Boys as well as Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

Reports vary as to whether Cline, ill with the flu, gave two or three performances. Some sources say the shows were at 2 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., but other sources say an 8 p.m. show was added due to popular demand. The shows were standing-room only. For the 2 p.m. show, she wore a sky-blue tulle-laden dress, for the 5:15 show a red shocker, and for the closing show at 8 p.m., Cline wore white chiffon and closed the show to a thunderous ovation. Her final song was the last she had recorded the previous month, "I'll Sail My Ship Alone".

Cline, who had spent the night at the Town House Motor Hotel, was unable to fly out the day after the concert because Fairfax Airport was fogged in. West asked Patsy to ride in the car with her and husband, Bill, back to Nashville (approximately a 16 hour drive), but Cline refused, saying, "Don't worry about me, Hoss. When it's my time to go, it's my time." On March 5, she called her mother from the motel and checked out at 12:30 p.m. to go the short distance to the airport to board the Piper PA-24 Comanche plane, aircraft registration number N-7000P. The plane stopped once in Missouri to refuel and subsequently landed at Dyersburg Municipal Airport in Dyersburg, Tennessee at 5 p.m.

Hughes was the pilot, but was not trained in instrument flying. Hawkins had accepted Billy Walker's offer after Walker left on a commercial flight to take care of a stricken family member. The Dyersburg, Tennessee airfield manager suggested that they stay the night after advising of high winds and inclement weather, and even offered them free rooms and meals, but Hughes responded, "I've already come this far. We'll be there before you know it." The plane took off at 6:07 p.m. (Hughes' flight instructor had also trained Jim Reeves, whose plane crashed the following year. Neither pilot was instrument-rated and both attempted using visual flight rules known as VFR—impossible in the driving rain faced by both flights.)

Cline's flight encountered inclement weather and crashed on the evening of March 5, 1963. Her recovered wristwatch had stopped at approximately 6:20 p.m. The plane wreckage was located approximately 90 miles (140 km) from its Nashville destination in a forest outside Camden, Tennessee. Forensic examinations concluded that everyone aboard had been killed instantaneously from their injuries and did not suffer. Until the wreckage was discovered the following dawn and reported on the radio, friends and family had not given up hope. Endless repetitions of calls such as "Did you hear anything?" "No, did you?" tied up the local telephone exchanges to such a degree that other emergencies occurring over the same period had trouble getting through. The lights at the destination Cornelia Fort Airpark were kept on throughout the night as reports of the missing plane were broadcast on radio and TV.

Early the following morning, Roger Miller and his friend went searching for survivors: "As fast as I could, I ran through the woods screaming their names through the brush and the trees, and I came up over this little rise, oh, my God, there they were. It was ghastly. The plane had crashed nose down" Shortly after the bodies were removed, looters scavenged the area. Some of the items which were recovered were eventually donated to The Country Music Hall of Fame. Included in those donations were Cline's wrist watch, Confederate flag cigarette lighter, studded belt and three pairs of gold lamé slippers. Cline's fee and attire from that last performance were never recovered.

As per her wishes, Cline was brought home for her memorial service, which thousands attended. She was buried at Shenandoah Memorial Park in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia. Her grave is marked with a bronze plaque, which reads: "Virginia H (Patsy) Cline 'Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies: Love'". With the help of Lynn and West, a bell tower was erected at the cemetery in her memory, which plays hymns daily at 6:00 p.m., the hour of her death. Another memorial marks the exact place off Fire Tower Road in Fatty Bottom, Tennessee, where the plane crashed in the still-remote forest outside of Camden. 

Source: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons