— By LARRY M. JONES
For years, I’ve heard that bad things come in threes. This prediction of 3X doom and gloom was especially prevalent in the world of Naval aviation. While obviously a mere superstition, I have indeed seen mishaps or aircraft accidents happen in sets of three.
Although so out of touch with today’s “no smoking mindset,” I recall another similar superstition about lighting three cigarettes with a single match, or with a lighter without re-striking the flame. I personally know it was a true and valid concern, because I saw it happen in a Korean War era comic book. Third cigarette lit on a single match, and GI Joe took a direct hit from a Chicom sniper.
As you are quietly reading this highly acclaimed and award-winning local “fish wrapper,” my wife Helen and I are madly scurrying to board a plane heading for Fort Meyers, Fla., to test the theory of “bad times three.” While I can count the number of vacations I’ve had in the past two decades on one hand, we will be attempting to enjoy a little of the good life that the far south Gulf Coast of Florida has to offer in January.
We will be doing this despite the fact that two previous attempts for a quiet vacation have been destroyed by hurricanes. In 2008, Hurricane Ike dashed our plans and sent us fleeing with our travel trailer from the beach in Corpus Christi. In 2012 we were relaxing on the beach of Destin when, again, we were forced to evacuate because of Hurricane Isaac. With hurricane season officially running from June 1 through Nov. 30, no way can a lousy hurricane get us again with more than four months before the season’s start.
About a month ago, while sitting in front of our huge flat-screen television channel surfing through the hundreds of worthless, offensive, irritating viewing choices, my phone rang – not a common thing when it’s just before 9 p.m. It was an old Navy buddy with whom I had gone through flight training in Pensacola in 1967. Like a bolt out of the blue, he said, “Jones,” he always called me Jones, “You and Helen get on a plane and meet Susann and me in Bonita Springs, Florida, for four days of goofing off.”
He had reservations for a free time-share condo, and he said that he had thought up a whole bunch of new lies that he needed to tell me.
What we’ll do in South Florida for four days, I have no idea. Perhaps a visit to the Everglades, fishing, golf, or merely basking in the sun can fill our days. In addition, I see a great deal of seafood in my near future as well. Whatever we decide on, just to visit with such an old friend from long ago would be more than enough to make the trip worthwhile.
I cannot imagine what tragedy of hurricane proportions could possibly disrupt our vacation for a third time. We have choices throughout life, and at this time I choose to believe that our time in the sun will not be marred by a third calamity, but instead, events will unfold as being – “Third time’s a charm.”
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.