Friday, April 10, 2009

Candy Man

As those of you who have read this blog for a while may have gathered by now, I do a fair amount of flying. It's actually much more than most of the other Officers I know who work where I do. In fact, the crew at the HLZ (helicopter landing zone) near us kid us a lot about what a bummer it is that we don't get 'frequent flyer miles' for our missions.

When it was really, really hot out, I got in the habit of taking four frozen one-liter bottles of water to give to the two pilots and the two gunners. For some reason, if SFC McG and I are able to sit 'up front' near the gunners, I usually wind up on the right side of the aircraft. (I think SFC McG arranges it that way....) This means that I'm waterboarded by rotorwash amplified by the already-stifling air.

Think "convection oven."

It doesn't take long for the completely frozen water to have melted.

During the same time, I've par-boiled, it seems.

For the last few months as it's been downright cold, chilly, or temperate (and quite lovely, actually), I've been bringing M&Ms (plain, peanut, dark chocolate, DC & peanut) to the crew. They've been very appreciative.

So am I!

Lately, my friend Robin in Ohio (whom I've not yet met, but who found my blog on New Years Eve, and wrote me on New Years Day for the first time) has been sending along pallets (it seems!) of Skittles. To be honest, I've not been a big fan of them, but boy, do some Soldiers like them!

In fact, SFC McG and I seem to have been adopted by a "career PFC" as SFC McG likes to call him (to his face), who sidles out to our trailer for a "Skittles 'fix'" with great regularity. My ability to bring Skittles to the air crews is indirectly proportional to the number of PFC F's visits. However, given that so many friends have sent M&Ms during the cool weather, I'm not hurting for candies to hand out on the flight line.

I'm pretty certain this largesse is one of the reasons SFC McG and I get to sit in the front of the aircraft, rather than in the rear, which can get amazingly crowded. One time we were back there and along with the eight personnel buckled in, we had gear piled from our laps to the ceiling of the aircraft. Tight squeeze, I've got to say!

So the other day, SFC McG and I were on our way somewhere, and as is my wont, as we were walking from the flight line to the aircraft, I slipped some Skittles to the crew chief and yelled (over the noise of the rotors and engines) that one package was for him, and the other for his buddy. What little of his face I could see (because of the Darth Vader helmets they wear) lit up.

He encouraged SFC McG and me to sit in the front.

He clearly liked the Skittles, because he tore into the package at the first opportunity. (If you click on the photo, you might be able to see the reflection of my gray body armor, and especially the first aid and candy pouches I wear on the front of it. Those with really good eyesight might be able to make out the camera lens, too.)

On behalf of SGT G (pictured above) and the others on the aircraft that fly us around: Thanks, Robin! Thanks, too, to all who've sent candy -- and especially the kind that comes in 'snack pack' sizes. Those are the easiest to distribute on the flight line.

Your generosity humbles me.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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Mary Coady said...

Do Skittles melt? I don't want another Jolly Rancher episode!!!


Robin in Ohio said...

Hey, Fr. Tim! I'm glad to know my last shipment of Skittles and M&M's made it to you. :-) Thanks for your kind words! I read your blog entry aloud to my teenage son and husband just now. They thought it was pretty funny since they saw the "pallets" (ha,ha!) of Skittles and M&M's strewn about the dining room table when I was preparing the packages.

Blessings to you and SFC McG as you do your work! May your Easter season be joyous. He is risen! (Well, He will be know what I mean. smile)

Mary Coady said...

Seriously. Do Skittles melt? I was going to replace the darned Jolly Ranchers w/ Skittles, but it seemed to me that may have an even lower melting point. What do you think, CptdrfrTim?


cptdrfrtim said...


I don't know enough about Skittles to be able to say, except that about the time they showed up (in individual 'snack packs') the boxes with the melted Jolly Ranchers appeared. The Skittles were just fine, whereas the JRs -- 'roaming free' -- had stickified everything else in their boxes.

I suspect that even if the Skittles in the individual 'snack packs' melted, since they're packaged (and therefore easy to give out on the Flight Line), it wouldn't be a problem....

Thanks for your sweet generosity!

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