Memorable People

I met a guy once and his name was George.  On a trip to Fort Sill, he picked up the nickname "Qua nah" after that Indian Qua nah Parker.  It wasn't that he looked like an Indian, just that he needed a nick name. 

George was my first boss in the full time force for the Guard.  I was a Battery Commander in another Guard unit and drove to Ottawa for a visit.  I met the full timers there and applied for a training officer position.  For some reason, George hired me but reduced the pay grade to GS-8.  Not sure why but heck, with Barb's planning and money skills, it all worked out.

George had many qualities that made him stand out.  He could tell jokes for hours on end.  One day he told me that telling stories was a matter of remembering the punch line and being able to make up a funny story to fit the punch line.  Heck, most of the people I knew in the Military couldn't remember more than a couple of funny stories but he could remember the War Stories by the hour.  George had never been to war so he just told funny stories.  

Did I mention that George was the cheapest human being I had ever met.  On our trips to Fort Riley, George was known to like the whiskey of the two Warrant Officers.  I preferred beer to whiskey and I was a little on the cheap side too.  One weekend after getting the housekeeping duties done to accept the arrival of the battalion, CW4 John Hummerickhouse took us to the Class VI (6 as in roman numerals) store.    In case you didn't know, all supplies in the Army were by class of supply and booze was Class VI. In defense of George, I know that money was tight in our house so I should not expect it to be much the other way in his.  It wasn't until we moved to Topeka and Barbara started teaching school that we had enough to have money left at the end of the month rather than the other way around.

John turned to George and told him that for once, it was George's turn to buy.  None of that cheap rot gut stuff either.  It was one of those Black Label bottles they expected to see.  George went in mumbling about how much it would cost and how he hoped there would be enough left to get him through the week in a dry county.  He did break down and bought a fifth of the good stuff. When we got back to the barracks for the night, the bottle was put out on a foot locker to share.  John picked up the bottle and unscrewed the cap.  He walked over to the door and threw that cap out into the night.  George hollered that he needed  the cap to get the bottle home.  He was told that after drinking all the free booze he had consumed over the last couple of years, that bottle wasn't going home but would be drank right then and there.  I laughed at the joke but noticed the hurt look on George's face.  Danged if they didn't drink that bottle dry. 
George had one more memorable talent that I always found noteworthy.  George had been a musician most of his life but played mostly by ear.  He sat down one day and picked out the theme to the movie the Sting and embellished it until it sounded like Scott Joplin was playing it himself.  George would go to a party, sit down and play that song and everyone loved it.  At the end of the song, they wanted George to play another.  George would tell them, that he didn't play the piano and that was the only song he knew.  he was so good that no one believed him but I knew he couldn't play chopsticks except for that one song "The Maple Leaf Rag."  


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