1st Halloween
1983- He has always been a Star Wars fan.

Today is my son’s birthday. As his grandmother would say, “Pigs don’t get to be this old”. Yeah, it’s an old German farmer’s complement. It means they get to be breakfast before they get this old.

To pay the bills he went from busboy to manager at the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Then he crushed  Nursing School.
The smartest thing he has ever done was marry Abby Rae Brinkley.

Did I say “Bri”.  His mother named him. She wanted a name that had no nickname. He was two days old when his Godmother Cindy Mabry dubbed him “Bri”.

“SHHHHH….don’t tell his friends.”


Technically, the story starts two days before.  His due date was my Mom’s birthday the 7th. We had a $20 bet going that he would be born on her birthday. Well, Mom was betting on it. I took the over or under.

On the afternoon of the 6th Brian’s Mom had a backache that no amount of massage could make go away.  We were stationed at George AFB, California and I was all suited up for Swing Shift. Off to the ER.  After a brief exam, the doctor said, “You need to change, you’re going to be a Daddy.

Oh shit!

She was admitted and we timed contractions (back labor) all night. Promptly at midnight, she developed a fever and labor shut down.  Doc said I should go home and get some rest.  Since we were in base housing, it was a block away. In the morning, they kept her in the hospital for observation.  I spent the day furiously cleaning the house and waiting for the call.


Promptly at midnight of the 7th, labor cranked up again.  At 7am I got the call that if I wanted to be in on it I’d better get my ass to the hospital. I was there in a flash and we were back to timing contractions. Then the doctors, two of them began to be concerned.  Bri seemed to be too small for a full term delivery. We had been trying to tell them that for weeks. You see, I was under orders to Korea in May and they thought I was trying to get out of my orders. Yes, I was. But we weren’t lying about it.

Around 10am, it was decided to move her to Loma Linda University. I couldn’t ride with her in the ambulance.


As she zoomed off, I had to pull cash out of the bank (no ATM’s back then) and gas up the car.  It was 48.2 miles to Loma Linda and they had a 20 minute head start by the time I got on the freeway.

When I got there, I ran into the ER. Two crusty R.N’s were behind the counter.

“WHERE IS MY WIFE???”, I yelled.

“What is wrong with her?” asked Nurse Number One.

“SHE”S HAVING A BABY!! I blurted out, panting as I tried to catch my breath.

“Is she in your car?’, asked Nurse Number Two.


“Was she in the house when you left?”–Nurse Number Two.


“When was the last time you saw her?””—Nurse Number One.

“In the ambulance. She’s in an Air Force Ambulance”.

At this point the ambulance pulled up.

“THAT ONE!!!!”

After that it was smooth sailing. He was born happy and healthy. Well…maybe not all so smooth. I got to change his first diaper. The Nuclear one that all parents remember.  All cleaned up and changed, I picked him up from the changing table and took him back to his crib, basket, clear thing that the hospital puts new borns in…whatever. As I got him to about an inch from the cushion he wiggled.

I went “EWWW!” and jerked away. I dropped him. He opened his eyes and looked at me for the first time with that “What the Hell?” look he still gives to this day.

I always appreciated that he took the 7th off so I could win my bet.





  1. I can’t believe I didn’t notice I passed them at 100mph. They took the bumpy road to the freeway and I went direct. Go figure. The crew did mention seeing me flash by.

  2. The day my first Grandson Clark was born, Brian and Abby found themselves barreling down the highway at 100mph. Apparently this has become a family tradition.

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