Don Hill

This story is not about family but it is a story that I like and don’t want it to be lost.  It probably won’t matter to anyone else but me, but since this is my blog, I’m going to tell it. 

 Don Hill was a fellow technician/instructor in the DMSP satellite surveillance program at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi in the late 60’s.  He was the same rank as me at that time, Tsgt, and was recruited because he was a tireless worker and a good technician.  He was married and lived in Ocean Springs, just across the bridge from Biloxi to the east, with his wife and mother-in-law.  When Don went home at night, his day was only half over because he had a mobile home park that he and his wife owned and managed and he was always busy fixing something.  He was fun to work with and had a good sense of humor.  He was also a good bridge player, though not as good as me, and that was the source of any conflict we ever had.  We played bridge almost every lunch hour when we didn’t have students in the Transportable Terminal that we taught, a satellite command and control van that acquired and downloaded the Block IV satellites on polar orbits that, even now, are spying on every square inch of the earth’s surface.

  Don was prior service like me but, where I was prior Navy, he was prior Marine. I guess it’s no secret that Navy and Marines don’t get along, probably because Marines are usually running the brigs or are gate guards and they think their shit doesn’t stink.  Ooops, there’s that animosity coming back.  That really wasn’t a problem between Don and me even though he was a typical marine.  He was strong as a bull and short and stocky and very gung-ho about military protocol.  He was a Georgia boy and came from a farm family that I believe was all boys and that is the point of this story. 

 Don told several stories about his childhood and growing up on the farm but the one I liked best was about his brothers and the parachute.  His brothers got ahold of a silk parachute and had the brilliant idea to try parasailing before it was ever invented.  They decided that one of them would strap on the parachute and they would tie the harness to a pickup truck with his wife at the wheel.  The other brothers would hold the parachute open while running across the field and the lucky brother would soar into the air and have the ride of his life.  The brother in harness, we’ll call him ‘Lucky’, told his wife to increase the speed when he nodded his head as they transversed the 40 acre field.  Well, they took off and soon were at a pretty good clip across the field and the faster they went, the longer Lucky’s strides were.  Pretty soon the strides were so long that every time he hit his head would jar and his wife, seeing this, would pick up the pace.  It wasn’t long before he was taking giant steps and things were completely out of control and probably the only thing that saved him was they had come to the end of the 40 acres and his wife had to stop; which she did abruptly and he ended up underneath the pick-up truck.  When Don told this story we roared with laughter and could picture Don and his brothers pulling a stunt like this. 

He told another story about his brothers that wasn’t so funny but gave a very good idea of rural Georgia life in the 60’s.  One of his brothers and some friends were out stealing copper wire off telephone poles when his brother came in contact with a high-voltage wire.  He was at the top of the pole, maybe 40’ in the air, when he hit it.  There was an explosion and it knocked him unconscious but his arm was hooked over the wire so he didn’t fall.  His friends on the ground figured he was dead and, knowing they’d end up in jail if they went for help, ran away and left him there.  He wasn’t dead and he woke up with a cooked arm and still hanging from the pole.  He managed to climb down from the pole and crawl over half a mile to a house.  On the way, as he was trying to crawl, his thumb was sticking up from his totally useless arm so he broke it off and kept crawling. 

When he reached the house the woman that was home freaked out to see him crawling across her yard and called the police and they eventually got him an ambulance and to the hospital.  He lost his arm and was in great pain so they started him on morphine.  Well, he never got off the morphine and he eventually became an addict and after years of drug abuse and the many problems he had, he finally O.D.’d.  I guess the reason for telling that about Don’s brother is to further illustrate who Don was and where he came from.   

 Patty and I partied a lot in those days and Don was frequently there.  He would dance constantly with great energy and effort and would usually go through three or four partners before taking a break.  His face would be red and sweat streaming off him but he would ‘Keep on Chuggin”.  He was one of Patty’s favorites as she loved to dance. 

 I don’t know where Don is now but I doubt that he’s still alive since I worried about him having a heart attack when we were near our ‘30s.  He would surely love to see the New Orleans Saints on top of the NFC as I remember him coming back from a Saints game completely without his voice.  That was about the time Tom Dempsey kicked the 62 yard field goal for the Saints. 


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One Comment on “Don Hill”

  1. […] Don Hill  November 6, […]

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