Tim's December 2011Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Our Falcons' "overwhelming" victory over the Squids in overtime means we are half-way to completing another run at the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Hopefully, the team will provide a little more ripping with a beak and slashing with a claw in November to give us a more robust point spread over Hudson High. BEAT ARMY!

Clark Gerhardt's Back Yard

You may remember my summer column featured Jeff Parrish channeling his "inner doolie" during a mud race with his family. This fall column continues in a similar theme of classmates pitting their senior citizen muscles against the great outdoors as told by Clark "Ranger" Gerhardt in August 2011. Clark writes, "Here's a photo taken on top of one of the peaks in my backyard a few days ago--my own private Idaho. I got started climbing with the USAFA Mountaineering Club (anything to get an off base privilege) and have stuck with it for almost 50 years. Just got elected to the American Alpine Club Board of Directors and am off to Italy next week to climb for two weeks. Maria is going too, so good food and hiking are on the program too. Hope all is well, Ranger."

For those who have accepted a more sedentary existence, I am hoping Ranger's and Jeff Parrish's examples serve to inspire and motivate us to get off the couch and into our all purpose running/walking/climbing/hiking/biking/sky-diving shoes.

Fresh from the annals of "All My Classmates" comes a tale about a pair of prolific grandparents. If you were wondering which member of our class holds the record for most grandchildren, Kathy Barker's letter to me in March 2011 may provide you with a good place to start. Kathy writes, "As you now know, the Barker updates often revolve around announcements concerning the arrival of grandchildren and true to form.... #s 18, 19 & 20 are due anytime, July and September. We accept with deep gratitude our Creator's gifts and cherish them with all our heart.

Oldest son, Ryan, was recently promoted to lieutenant colonel and is still flying with the Alabama ANG, while Claire keeps the home fires burning. Daughter, Shannon, resides in Somerset, England, and works as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the Emergency Department. Son, Kelly, is an Assistant Manager at Sugarloaf TPC course in Atlanta and his wife, Farrar, is a lawyer with Alston and Bird in Atlanta. Megan is a stay-at-home/home-schooling Mom and wed to Chris Rice from the class of '97. Pat is with Eagle SWS and is working the Gulf oil spill to this day, while his wife Tiffany is a stay-at-home Mom. The "grands" are dispersed amongst the five.

Dan works for IAP Worldwide Services and has so much going on, I can't keep up with him. Yours truly can't say no to some of my Mommies who want me to assist them through labor and birth, who am I to refuse."

To Dan and Kathy, we wish you some well-deserved peace and quiet before the holidays begin and send a request to provide your Scribe with a copy of your family photo with all 20 grandchildren for a future column.

NINER's Do Venice: L-R: Ann and Bob Pohlman, Tim and Sharon Ayres, and Rusty and Pat McBride in front of St. Marks Cathedral.

WHICH WAY TO THE GONDOLAS?: In September 2011, I received word from Bob Pohlman about his 2010 cruise to Venice with wife, Anne and his Ninth Squadron compadres Tim and Sharon Ayres and Pat and Rusty McBride. The trip provided long-time friends with a chance to catch up on each others' busy lives. Bob and Anne currently reside in Phoenix, Arizona where Bob works for Snell & Wilmer LLP.

In a brief note from Pat McBride, he contacted Bob to let him know about his Fall 2011 trip to see the Grand Canyon (South Rim at the El Tovar) via the Grand Mesa, Canyonlands, and Lake Powell. On the way home, Pat and Rusty stayed with another fellow NINER Bill & Becky Mazurek, who are now living in Westcliffe, Colorado.

'68er Reunion at USAFA-USNA Game in Annapolis. L-R: Scribe, Brooke Bailey, Tom Zyroll, Steve McPhail, Bob Durham, Pat Hurley, Bob Johnston, and Dan Hites. Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Hites.

MIGHTY FALCONS - 35 -- GNARLY GOATS - 34: Unlike the picture-perfect, blue-sky day two years ago, the weather at Annapolis for the 2011 Air Force and Navy battle featured temperatures in the mid-fifties and low sixties, wind gusts in excess of 20 mph, and a sixty percent chance of rain. A portion of North Carolina's '68 contingent, Brooke and Cathy Bailey and Bob and Thuy Johnston, drove up to my home in Virginia a couple of days before the game to check into Hotel Davidson for the weekend.

On game day, with my cousin Billie from New York, Bob, Thuy, Brooke, Cathy, and I jumped into the Bailey Family van with tailgate-sandwiches, beverages, chips, and cookies in the cooler and headed for Maryland's capital city. After slogging through the traffic in Annapolis outside the Navy-Marine Stadium, we were fortunate to find the perfect parking spot in a local resident's front yard (for a mere $20) that was situated directly across the street from the USAFA tailgate tent and very near the gate where our seats were located.

When we arrived at the tent, we ran into Tom and Kathy Zyroll, Bob and Cathy Durham, Steve and Judi McPhail, Dan and Wendy Hites, Pat and Nancy Hurley, and Bruce Gerrity. After the obligatory photos* were snapped we exchanged family updates, consumed our tailgate feast, and proceeded to the stadium. (*Scribe Manual, Rule #1: If photos are not taken of a classmate event, the event is not considered to have occurred.)

Seated a little shy of the 50-yard line (i.e., the West End Zone) and somewhat higher than where birds fly, we began to check for other familiar faces. Sitting a few rows below us with the Durham's and Zyroll's, we saw Jim DeFazio. A few minutes later we were nearly overrun by Jim and Pat Seevers as they brought their party of nine up the stadium steps just a few rows away.

During our half-time break, we ran into Dave and Alex Prevost at the refreshment stand and after the one-point, overtime victory we rendezvoused at Mike's Crab House in Riva, Maryland with everyone mentioned above, except the Seevers. When we got to Mike's, Bob and Sue Pauli and Charlie and Polly Seifert were already seated. Then--in staggered fashion--others arrived--including Jim DeFazio's wife Sherry and Sherry's sister. All told, we had dinner for 30 and a great time. Photos of the day will be posted on our class website.

THAT'S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep 'em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. Please go to our Class Website to see photos included in this column in full size by clicking on Scribe's Page. Ciao for now. Tim

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