|To celebrate my last return trip from Indiana, I took Mom back to Grafton with me, hoping she'd like it so much she'd keep my house there and I could have hers in Indiana. It didn't work. We left early on September 21, and drove out to Knoxville, Tennessee for some more reconnaissance of what was to be my future home. We got a swell motel in Sevierville, Tennessee and then the next morning we drove up to Clingman's Dome, 6643 feet above sea level. It was the first time either of us had been there in 32 years and a first for Gizmo. Back in 1972 it was foggy and cold but this time it was perfect. Gizmo was along too. He paid no attention to the scenery... he just wanted me to finish shooting the picture so he could have Daddy back.|
Then we drove back to Grafton and Mom met my roomate, Ken. Ken, a co-worker who'd retired from the Air Force after 22 years, came back shortly after September 11, 2001 to serve another two years. I referred to him as Spock because he'd retired and come back again. He worked opposite my partition and was a scheduler for the weather field. I'd pick his brain about weather and he was the person who suggested I move to Asheville, North Carolina because of the great weather. It's how I ended up with Knoxville on my mind...it was close. We spent almost every lunch together, usually bringing Ken's friends from the weather squadron and sometimes my friends from Intelligence. It was always fun. We had many good times together just being guys. Occasionally a female co-worker would come along and we'd ignore each other. Typical.
Ken always complained about the place he lived in...too small, too expensive to rent, and he hated it. I needed extra cash before I retired and it just so happened Ken was scheduled to re-retire the same month I was. So I charge him half what he was paying and he moved in during August. It was a win-win situation. I got $250 extra a month, Ken saved $250, and we carpooled so we saved gas. Gizmo loved him.
I was in my 'I hate Hampton Roads' attitude so Mom and I didn't do anything while she was there. She hated it.