In my later years I have learned to accept myself with a grain of salty humor and to appreciate my continuing good fortune. I was delivered by a midwife, in a sharecropper's house in Chuckatuck, VA. Chuckatuck was, and still is, a wide spot in the road between Smithfield, VA and Suffolk, VA. My earliest recollections include hunting for rabbits and squirrels, picking wild asparagus in wooded areas near my birthplace, and fishing for croaker from a rowboat in a James River tributary for food. By my first year in public school my father supported his then family of five on a $20.00 a week wage. My father, a man with a four year formal education, was my role model and mentor. One of his postulations was to expand one's horizons at each available opportunity. Whereas I did not need shoes in Chuckatuck, I had to wear them to go to school in Newport News. Fast forward to completion of high school. The U. S. Army, the nation's first equal opportunity employer beckoned. By my 21st birthday I had been stationed in Japan for three years, was a fairly accomplished jazz musician, and had been promoted to the rank of corporal five times in the preceding two years. After the fifth promotion to corporal I began to grow up, joined an airborne infantry division as a sergeant, and parachuted from troop carrier airplanes 32 times. It was always an exhilarating relief to see my parachute fully opened above me as I floated a thousand feet or so down to the earth. Graduation from Officer Candidate School and an act of Congress made me an officer and a gentleman. By the time I retired from the U.S. Army I had been a U. S. Army Ranger, a licensed sky diver, executive officer of an assault helicopter company, commander of a reconnaissance airplane company, survived three combat tours, and had been a legitimate widow maker and baby killer.
Next came an undergraduate degree in accounting, a graduate degree in taxes, a CPA license and a second career and retirement from the U. S. Treasury Department (retarded is possibly a more appropriate euphemism). I have had a wide exposure to many ethnic groups, cultures and personal value systems. Current interests include publicly traded securities markets and an automotive vehicle repair venture. I do some physical exercise daily.