One of the best things about growing up the son of a Air Force member was having access to the Air Force Bases. Even after my dad retired, we still had the ability to get on base and use the base parks, lakes and trails.

After my parent’s divorce, my dad remarried, and the resulting collection of stepbrothers and stepsister was nothing like the Brady Bunch. Oh I’ve got stories to tell about those days… A few years later that marriage also ended, leading to another pack of step siblings… More stories there too…

Anyway, one summer weekend with the new stepfamily we were somewhat bored. So my stepbrother of about the same age and his oldest brother (also my stepbrother) decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go on base to go fishing at a lake that was relatively unused.

So we piled into the oldest stepbrother’s white pontiac and headed off to the “reservation” which is what we called the area of the base “reserved” for recreational purposes. Getting there was a 30 minute drive around the airport and past a “secret” inner base where the “secret” nuclear bombs were “secretly” kept. Eventually you reached the end of the pavement and could picnic, canoe or fish in one of three or four reservoirs kept for the base’s water supply.

On the way we stopped and bought some soda and some bags of popcorn.

Once we got to the dirt roads, it seemed the most natural thing in the world for me and the younger stepbrother to ride on top of the pontiac, munching popcorn and enjoying the fresh air.

Once we got on top of the car it seemed the most natural thing in the world for the oldest stepbrother to try to fling us off the car by jerking the wheel back and forth. Which he did with a wild, joyous abandon. But young teenage boys can be somewhat tenacious, and so we clung furiously to the roof as the car kicked up a tornado sized dust cloud and the tires sqealed under the stress of the gyrations inflicted upon it by it’s malevolent driver.

Soon we came upon a pedestrian, an old man in casual clothes with a fishing rod on his shoulder, walking on the side of the road. This at least slowed down the oldest stepbrother so that we no longer needed fingers and toes to cling to the roof. In fact we were soon sitting comfortbly on the roof with our popcorn as we passed the old man.

You’d have done the same thing. Of course you would. Anyone would.

Soon we were again squealing away in a cloud of dust, leaving an old man shouting and cursing from within the remains of the popcorn assault.

We failed to consider that colonels could read license plates.

So the next day, when my dad came back from the base with the story of how he and his entire family had almost been permanently banned from the base for assaulting the base lieutenant commander with popcorn while driving dangerously and breaking all sorts of vehicle laws, I didn’t think that would eventually be a funny story.