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(Updated August 245, 2002)
e-mail from Dan McGraw to Ed Railsback:
Doug Jeansonne and I arrived in Columbus on Thursday afternoon. Dick Routt picked us up at the airport and drove us to The German Village Inn where we stayed. The three of us had dinner and a few beers at the Easy Street Cafe and then returned to our Motel. Dick visited us for a while and drove home for the night. He returned the next day (Friday) around 11am and we went to the Best Western Clarmont Inn where Phil was to stay. Doug was up to his usual mischief and had the clerk there thoroughly confused. Dick got tickled and headed for the door laughing to himself and sinking closer to the floor with each step. The clerk thought he was sick...you had to be there. It was hilarious. We hung around until nearly 12:30 and decided to go to lunch and check back. We had lunch at the Thurman Cafe. One heck of a burger. I had not touched the top half of the bun after four bites. I gave up and picked up the knife and fork. We headed back to Phil's stopping at our Motel enroute and found Jerry Davis and scooped him up. We went on to Phil's and found him in the pool with his daughter poolside. We spent the afternoon beside the pool telling lies and then headed over to Schmidt's Sausage House around 4:30. We passed a good time there over beer and dinner for around two hours. Doug Jeansonne told many stories and jokes all of which were embellished somewhat I am sure. Some of the other patrons didn't seem to share our enthusiastic storytelling and the related guffaws. We were actually reasonably subdued and certainly not up to Gasthaus speed but alas in true ASA tradition were presented with the check and requested to leave. I was behind Doug and last on the way out. I saw the manager hovering a table away from ours and glaring in our direction. All in all an enjoyable affair, we were just prematurely excused. We had expected Russ Jolley to join us but he never arrived. We adjourned to Phil's Motel by the pool and Doug struck a deal with the bartender. He agreed to look the other way and Doug and Phil ducked across the street and returned with a twelve pack. Phil stayed with us until 10pm or so and retired to his room. We continued until midnight when once again it was requested that we move along. We went back to our Motel where I excused myself to my room and Doug, Dick and Jerry headed to a local bar for another hour or so. The next morning (Saturday) I was first up and out to McDonalds followed by Dick and then Doug. We headed back to the motel around 11am and found that Jerry had checked out and gone. Dick, Doug and I checked out at noon and killed some time at the downtown mall and then Dick took us to the airport for our afternoon flights out.
I think a good time was had by all. I am certainly glad I went. It's sad so many years have gone by without enjoying the company of old friends in this fashion more often. I assume you are aware that Dick Routt has entered a second bout with cancer. Doug Jeansonne was mindful of this and was up to nonstop mischief and storytelling in an effort to lighten Dick's spirits. I am happy to report he was an unbridled success. Dick has a positive attitude and is intent on whipping this disease. I am thankful Doug and I arrived on Thursday and enjoyed the extra evening with him. Saying our goodbyes at the airport was difficult for all. I slipped into a melancholy mood on the flight home.
Until we hoist our mugs/steins again.
Phil's additional comments:
Well, Dan has it right. It was a really wonderful experience. Good to get back together after all these many years. At first glance I only immediately recognized Jerry Davis and Dick Routt. Dan McGraw came to me next and even though I knew Doug Jeansonne would be with them I just drew a blank as to which one he was ..... must have been the teeth! After about 10 minutes it was just like old times and everyone just looked "normal". Dan forgot to mention Doug came up with a new nick name for Dick - "Squint Eyes". Doug told many stories especially about weed tricks - someone needs to start a scrapbook about those tricks so we least not forget - World War III, the "eyeball" and "your cold war German radio femme fatale/Tokyo Rose asking you to come over to the other side" being broadcast over AFN. I was convinced if Dan could just get us all to send him our surplus electronic equipment he could put together an RRCV-IV to outperform the "junk" he was asked to use for intercept work during the cold war. Once again Dick reminded all that we could quote him as a "buck sgt." at Det J saying - "there is a time to work and a time to play". Dick also warned us to be weary of oncologists with white shoes ..... it's a long story, but I don't want to go there! Jerry lamented his old black 4-door Mercedes .... I could see him riding in that wunderbar auto today! For some reason I just keep imagining Jerry as Snoopy the World War II pilot chasing the Red Baron in that old Mercedes. I, of course, related the history of the infamous "green weenie" and how I sold it for $2,000 in Monterey CA in the early 70s. At check out time Saturday morning the hotel clerk wanted to make sure Dick was OK as he sure seemed sick and that one guy who hit his head on the door going out to the parking lot ...... boy I hope he is OK. All in all it was great!
The mini-reunion in Columbus was terrific. I had a great time. Here are some of my recollections from the weekend. The ride from Maryland was a long one -- 440 miles and between 8 and 9 hours. At the three-quarters point late on Friday morning, I was crossing into Ohio and my cell phone rang. It was Dick. He was calling from the hotel and reported that he was with Doug and Danny. I told him I was a bit over 100 miles east of Columbus and that I expected to get to the hotel sometime after 1 p.m. The final miles passed swiftly as I looked forward to the reunion.
It was around 1:45 when I checked into the hotel in Columbus. I didn't even get my bags out of the car or check out the room at that time because Dick, Dan, and Doug pulled into the parking lot as I exited the hotel office. Dick gave me a big hug. Doug didn't recognize me or remember me at first; Dan vaguely recalled me at first and then memories came back as the day proceeded. I think that I remembered everyone more vividly because I had never really left the business we engaged in at Schneeberg (the official business, not the monkey business) and because I have been in touch with other Herzo and Schneeberg guys continuously ever since I left Schneeberg in 1968.
Anyway, we climbed into Dick's car and drove a few blocks to the hotel where Phil and his daughter were going to be staying. The guys had looked for Phil earlier, but he had not arrived yet. However, he was in the hotel pool when we got there, and his daughter was sitting at a poolside table.
Anyway, we hung out at Phil's hotel for a couple hours telling stories and getting reacquainted. Then we went to a German restaurant several blocks away for beer and dinner. I had schnitzel (barely edible -- definitely not a Bozniak!), and I think the other guys had wurst platters. We must have been in the restaurant for at least 3 hours. We were having a good time, but the manager told the waiter to tell us that we had to leave, even though we had spent over $150 so far. We may have been a bit loud and possibly somewhat vulgar, but I think they just wanted to give someone else our table since there were people waiting outside to come in. Nothing like holding up the ASA tradition of being kicked out of bars and restaurants. We were sorry that Russell couldn't join us.
From the restaurant we went back to Phil's hotel and drank a fair amount of beer at poolside, probably until at least 11 p.m. (Things start getting a little fuzzy in my memory from there on.) Phil called it a night and went to his room because he had his 40th high school reunion the next day, but Doug, Dick, Dan and I went back to our hotel and to a bar next door where we had a few more. By then I was feeling no pain whatever. My memory drops off at that point, but I know we had a great time and that our friendship and brotherhood were renewed and strengthened.
I awoke in my room the next morning and thought it was around 0630. But when I checked my watch, it was 1030 -- only 30 minutes until check-out time. I took a quick shower and got dressed, packed up and threw my stuff in my car. I checked out and left a note on Dick's car.
Although I had my cell phone turned on from the time I left my motel, it didn't ring until I entered PA more than 4 hours after leaving Columbus. My phone beeped and showed that I had voice mail. The call was from Dick, who had gone out to get breakfast for us and was surprised to find that I had left. Ex-A/Sgt Routt ordered me back to the motel, but I was too far down the road to obey that order.
I arrived home between 7 and 7:30 p.m., just over 8 hours after I left Columbus. I has hungry and exhausted from the journey and soon fell into bed.
It was a very enjoyable visit with old comrades. I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to see you guys again after all these years. To me, the most amazing thing about the reunion was how quickly we became comfortable with one another after 30-something years of absence. One of the guys (Dan?) compared it to a reunion of relatives. Well, I guess he was right -- it was a reunion of brothers.