This past week I had contact with my Irish pal, Jay Moore, King DJ of the Chippewa Valley, by e mail, telling me that he had a "token of his esteem" for my birthday, April 15. I told him I would catch up with him at the weekly coffee klatch at the Chippewa Family Restaurant on saturday, which is of course, today.
When I arrive, Jay has saved a seat of honor at the start of the table right next to him and Sherry. After opening pleasantries, Jay hands me a birthday card and a very large birthday present. He tells me to unwrap it right now - I do and am stunned to find it is a rendering of one of the Tuskegee Airmen shooting down the second of three ME 109's that day.
I am totally floored! What a wonderful and gracious gift. Jay has been out to my office and has seen my collection of WWII aircraft and tracked vehicles and knew I would really appreciate this great drawing.
The first time Jay walked into my office and saw all the militaria he looked around and said: "By God, yer a warlike little fella, ain't ya?"
Presentation being finished, we all dug into our breakfasts. After breakfast I excused myself for a trip to the men's room. I am just hitching up my pants when I hear a large group singing the Happy Birthday Song, and I'm thinking: Oh! It's somebody else's birthday this weekend too! I open the door to the stall and standing by the sink is the waiter with about four of the guys from the group all gathered in the john, holding a birthday cake with way too much illumination -- and I open the door just as they are singing "dear Larry" and I feel my face flush.
So I am explaining that I know all about the Tuskegee Airmen and that I have a "Red Tail" in my collection. (see photo).
That was how bomber crews knew who was flying cover for them. The red tails meant only one thing: the Tuskegee Airmen are flying cover for you today. They were so good that bomber crews began asking for them by name.
So thank you Jay and Sherry for a very nice birthday gift. It was nice to share some time with good folks this morning.