Shortly after arriving on the base I was promoted to Master Sergeant and that is one of the very few good things to come out of Moody AFB. Our kids all hated Valdosta. Our neighbors on one side were Jehovah Witnesses whose idea of a good time was to come over for a revival meeting and on the other side were Southern Baptist. Directly across the street was a Southern Baptist Church. Once we were diagnosed as being Catholics we were given the cold shoulder. Additionally I didn't really like my job, I was the NCO in charge of the Wing Tactical Air Command Flying Training Management System (TAFTRAMS). The only thing that made it interesting was when Hq TAC at Langley AFB, Virginia decided to revamp the program and I went TDY to Langley several times. Langley is a great base and it would have been a pleasure being stationed there.
ON BASE FISHING
Moody had a real nice golf course plus an adjacent fishing lake. Sometimes in my case it seemed like you were doing both at once. My golf balls ended up in that lake more often than not. At least the clubs never ended up there although there were some golfers who couldn't say that.
This one girl that worked for me had never been fishing in her life so during lunch hour one day we took a couple of fishing poles and headed for the lake. Of course she baited her own hook (right). Anyway on the very first cast she hooked a fish. Turned out to be about an eight inch sunfish. She was so proud that when we got back to the office she took it in to the Colonel's office to show him. Luckily he wasn't in as our uniforms were pretty messy by then.
Valdosta was a beautiful town and the house we bought while living there was gorgeous but our kids hated it. We were Catholic and Georgia is definitely Southern Baptist and our family was definitely ostracized because of our religion. We made some great friends in Georgia but if you were to ask our children the place they hated most of everywhere they had been you would get a unanimous vote for Valdosta, Georgia.
JOHNNY BENCH'S CAR
My dad would fly to the Cincinnati Reds spring training camp in Florida with his buddy Schotzie who was the head bartender at Johnny Bench's Home Plate Restaurant in Cincinnati and at the end of spring training they would each drive a player's car back to Cincinnati. This particular year they had Ray Knight's and Johnny Bench's. I remember Bench's was a black Buick but don't remember the make of Knight's. So we had Johnny Bench's car in our driveway.
Schotzie and my dad slept on a hide-a-bed in our entrance room (same room where the grandfather clock was located) and in the morning Schotzie said "I dreamed I was making love to a hairy white woman". Seems our pet rabbit Mr. E had decided to spent the night with him. My dad said "I couldn't sleep very well the damn Baptist were ringing the church bells all night long". We forgot to turn off the chimes on our grandfather clock.
NFL PLACE KICKERS
The Baptist Church across the street had a football field complete with goal posts and Doug and I would occasionally go there and practice field goals. We were bound and determined that we were going to kick a fifty yarder. One time I actually kicked a 50 yarder but it was wide right. (Fifty yards was the distance I had to go to chase it after it stopped rolling). I really did make a 30 yarder once and this was kicking with loafers. Twenty years later the doctors tell me this is probably what caused the injury to my big toe that made it painful to deliver mail the last year and a half. Told you that not much good came out of Georgia.
While we lived in Valdosta we had many visitors since our home was located just a few miles from Interstate 75 a main highway down to Disney World. One of our visitors was Doug Gilson whom we met through collecting QSL cards. Doug was a great sports enthusiast but he was more the water boy type than a place kicker or Super Bowl tight end. He suggested to our son Doug that they go out in the yard and toss the football around. I suspect Doug G. was impersonating a previously unknown wide receiver when he attempted to catch a touchdown pass from Doug M., the only problem being Doug G. caught it with his head and broke his $300.00 glasses (not to mention the shiner). Despite that it was a great visit. We have just recently renewed our friendship with Doug and his marvelous wife Barb because of the wonders of modern day technology. Aren't computers grand?
Other visitors included my brother Ron, his family, his father-in-law and Mr. E the rabbit mentioned in a story above. Mr. E was used in my brother's magic act and the kids persuaded Ron to part with him. I won't go into the story where Doug became the target for another type of projectile, a dart.
OWN FISHING POND
One of the Sergeants from the next office lived on a farm which had a nice size stocked pond and occasionally he would invite me to go fishing with him at lunch time. Usually when he asked me I would go (by this time I was smart enough to keep some fishing clothes or golfing clothes at work as we went golfing on lunch hours once in a while too) and whatever we caught we would release. One Friday he asked me to go fishing but I already had a previous engagement and couldn't go. About two hours later I was back in my office and he comes walking in with blood all over his shirt. I figured that he had kept and cleaned a fish. Turned out his relationship with his wife was very rocky and that day they had a big argument and he decided to commit suicide. He had shot himself in the chest with a hunting rifle. The bullet had missed all the vital spots and he drove back to work like nothing had happened. What a shocker that was.
Thank the Lord we only had to put up with Moody for 2 years.