George H Parker II

It is with a sad heart that I read George's Obituary this morning.  He hired me in Ottawa in 1975 and we worked together until I moved to Topeka in 1980.  He was like a brother to me and I can proudly say I loved him the same way.  Back in the day, all of us smoked and while I didn't hear what kind of cancer took his smile away, I am fairly certain that it contributed. 

George was a person that invaded everyone's personal space.  The best description is that he was a leaner.  He would come up to you and lean in and get next to you when he talked to you.  He had several brothers and I can only assume that it was his close association with that group that gave him that particular trait.  After almost 20 years of not seeing him, I met him at Best Buy one day and the first thing he did was come up and lean on me.  I really grew to love that about him.

George was never a rich person and to say he was cheap is an understatement.  We went to Fort Riley one time and George had been drinking the whisky of the two Warrant Officers most of the previous times we went to Fort Riley.  On this one occasion, John Humerickhouse made George buy a fifth of Jack Black.  When we got back over to the barracks to spend the night, John unscrewed the lid and went over to the door.  He threw the cap away and George protested.  John told him that after buying all the whisky over the years, he was going to make sure that there was nothing left in that bottle to take home.  We laughed and drank that fifth.

George finally told me the secret of his joke telling.  He didn't try to remember the entire joke, he would only try to remember the punch lines.  He could make up stories to match the punch lines and tell jokes all night.  During one field problem in the 1-127th FA, he did just that.  He was always the first one to smile when the subject of funny things came up. 

George loved the Scott Joplin song that was the music theme to the movie the Sting.  (Maple Leaf Rag?)  He loved it so much that he sat down at his piano and picked at the song until he could play it with out fail or falter.  When he would finish playing, people would ask him to play another.  He would say he didn't know how to play anything else just that one self taught song.  I know he was a musician so I really don't know if he could not play the piano or if that was just his way to get out of playing more.  He played a saxophone in bands back in his college days.

The really sad thing to me is that in spite of how much love I had for George, no one shared with me that he was ill.  I would have stopped by to see him if I had known. 

I am sure that George is waiting for me at Fiddler's Green and when I get there (Hopefully not for while) he will tell me hundreds of Jokes and I will keep his canteen cup full of whiskey.  God Bless you George.

COL, USA (Ret)

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