By John R Smith


The night the "new guy" had a date with a beauty queen...

You may not believe this, but it the gospel truth!

As a reward for my absolutely stellar academic performance in RM School, your humble scribe (OK, not so humble) was allowed to make my district choice after all other members of my class, to match my standing in the graduating class! In retrospect, this was a blessing in disguise, because that embarrassment caused me to work very hard, and I was the first in my class to achieve the rank of E-5.

After all the ideal billets in the 14th, 7th and 2nd districts had been chosen, those remaining in the other districts were chosen. By the time I had the opportunity to pick, I had two options left, the 17th district or Alaska. Bundle up son, you Uncle gonna send you up North!

With the imagined prospect of freezing to death before the age of 20, I made a concerted effort to absorb all the sunshine possible during my 45 days of leave. Nearly every day was spent on the beach or cruising around in my convertible (with a For Sale sign in the rear window!). During the second week of leave, our neighbors had their nieces from Seattle drop by for a few days. She asked my brother and I to entertain the nieces, aged 15 and 18, for the time they were in Akron. She mentioned they were beautiful girls, and the oldest had just been crowned Miss Seattle. It was a dirty job, but we swallowed our pride and set out to complete the assignment. You know, Semper Paratus and all that!

What the neighbor failed to mention was just how beautiful these two girls really were. These testosterone-overloaded ocular receptors (eyes) thought they were just about the most beautiful creatures ever to occupy two very small bikinis—and the younger sister was even better looking than the one just crowned. Suddenly that nasty Article in the UCMJ began creeping into my memory, so I was a good boy.

If a billet was not immediately available within the 17th district, you were given TAD in Seattle until a spot opened. I was assigned to the CG Station on Lake Washington for about two weeks before receiving my favorite set of orders, to NOJ, in Kodiak.

Before the two sisters left Akron, they gave me their home phone number and said to call when I was in Seattle, and we'd get together for dinner and "whatever". I had arranged a date one Friday evening and decided to go downtown meet the older girl when she left work. Several of the other guys at the station decided to join me for the trip downtown, and asked what I had planned for the evening. With as much bravado as I could possibly muster, said I had a date with Miss Seattle. Obviously, the bus ride to downtown was filled with raucous laughter at the "new guy" who's gonna date Miss Seattle. Right, and we're going to walk to the moon. To add insult to injury, they decided to just go along until this "beauty queen" appeared, knowing full well that I was just spouting bilge.

We walked to the front of the store, and a painting of "Mary -----, Miss Seattle" was in the picture window. The ribbing increased to less-than-subdued level at this time, and I was hoping she would be leaving work fairly soon for my own sake! Not long after we arrived, she walked out of the store, said, "Hi John, are you ready?" A dead silence fell upon my three abusers and their chiding stopped immediately, their jaws hit the pavement with a collective thud. My head inflated so much I could barely get into her new Mustang convertible, one of the awards for being awarded the crown.

Actually, the date wasn't much fun. She turned out to be quite stuffy, but the misery of the date was well worth the whistles and cat-calls when I returned to the barracks later that night, never revealing how boring that date was.

Ah, for the memories of youth!


Courtesy of Don Gardner's anthology entitled, "Coast Guard Stories"  

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