Friday, October 17, 2008

McChord Air Show 1997; or, how I met Lloyd and my life was never the same again. Ever.

In the comments in one of my recent posts, my longtime friend Lisajoy made an airshow/pancake joke. Here's the story to go with it:

In the summer of 1997, I had just moved from Seattle to Steilacoom because I was working at McChord Air Force Base doing military construction inspection for the Corps of Engineers. All my friends lived in Seattle, which is about an hour from McChord, sometimes more if the traffic is bad. I decided I needed to make some new, local, friends, and maybe meet a cute pilot, or two, or three, while I was at it. I saw a blurb in the base newspaper that said volunteers were needed for the Airshow. That seemed like a good way to meet people (and cute pilots!), but I wasn't much of a volunteer, and I ended up shoving the paper in my desk drawer. Because I was, and remain, supremely disorganized, some days that drawer held my lunch, sometimes whatever I was working on, and sometimes my gym clothes. Therefore, I frequently had the opportunity to see the paper and was repeatedly reminded I intended to sign up. I really felt like I was being 'pushed' to do it, and so one day I finally went down and told the air boss I wanted to volunteer. Surprisingly, and as it turns out, foolishly, they were pleased to have me. Lloyd was also on the staff.

They assigned me the pancake breakfast, a longstanding tradition that I believe was discontinued the very next year. The idea was to provide the visiting flight crews, about 300 people, a pancake breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning, prior to the show. How hard could that be, right? I rounded up some single friends. It was pretty easy: 'We can drink beer all weekend and it will be crawling with cute pilots! All we have to do is get up early and make pancakes!' You can see where this is going, right? I couldn't.

On Friday night, eager to get to the cute pilots and beer part of the weekend, we neglected to test our cooking apparatus (electric griddles), defrost the orange juice, or prepare the pancake mix. In fact, our preparation for the weekend was limited to application of perfume and mascara. Yes, even me.

When Saturday morning rolled around, we stumbled, unshowered and bleary-eyed, to 'Hangar 13', the squadron bar where the breakfast was to be held. We plugged in our griddles and got to work. The aircrews started lining up. The pancake mix was flying, the OJ and coffee was splashing. The griddles started popping the circuits. The extremely long pancake line rapidly turned surly and the smart pilots headed to Burger King, but we didn't especially want the smart ones anyway. Finally, everyone was either fed or fed up. Either way, they were gone and we could get back to the beer and cute pilots! Just not the ones that wanted breakfast. Sunday was a little better; we figured out a way to keep the outlets powered and most of the crews had learned that they would be better off licking the lint out of their pockets.

Fortunately, Lloyd was otherwise occupied with his airshow duties and missed out on the pancake debacle, and the rest, as they say, is history.

1 comment:

Helen, Robert, Jack, and Emma said...

Wow, I don't know whose story is more romantic, yours or Lauren's. Tough call.