I’m told the food was good, but I didn’t have time to eat it. About the time we sat down the Black Hats were screaming at us to leave. One Friday was seafood night. I got five chilled shrimp and a gigantic orange crab leg. I had the shrimp down before I got to the table. I’m from Mississippi. I had never even seen a crab leg like that before. It looked like some kind of monster.

I beat on that thing for my allotted three minutes or so and couldn’t get anything edible out of it. I later learned there’s a technique to it. The Black Hats started screaming, so I just had to throw it away.

I typically make a point to eschew profanity. I feel that profligate cursing is a sign of poor discipline and weak character. I made an exception my first time out of the airplane.

Of my five training jumps I got to stand in the door twice. I’ve always been kind of lucky that way. The first was out the side of a C130. The light turned green, and the Jumpmaster slapped me hard. They told us not to close our eyes for some reason. I recall seeing those big engines momentarily silhouetted behind my jump boots. I admit that I did then involuntarily let slip something I’d not say in front of my grandmother.