When I was in basic training, our training instructor (Drill Sargent) told us, “Today, gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. First, the good news. Airman Vanhowser will be setting the pace on our morning run”. We were really happy because Vanhowser was overweight and really slow. Then the TI finished his statement: “Now for the bad news. Vanhowser will be driving a truck”.


It has been really humid lately, and that makes me crazy. My clothes feel like they’re sticking to my skin all day long. I just hate it. I complain until I remember basic training. I went from the cool weather of Eureka, California to the extremely hot and humid San Antonio, Texas.


We arrived at 12:30 am, and were immediately hit with a stunning, very high temperature, along with awful humidity. Yes, it was about 100° at 12:30! I know! We got to bed about 3 o’clock and had to get up at 5 am. Ugh.


We then had a horrible breakfast, consisting of powdered eggs, mushy sausage links, burned hash browns and dry toast. The only time I saw that exact same breakfast was in France. It was my first time there and I had no idea what to eat. Then I saw a sign in the hotel restaurant that read, “American Breakfast”.


Sweet!, I thought. But as I inspected the food, I immediately had a flashback to San Antonio. There was no way I was going to pay for that kind of food. I decided I would see what the French people were eating and discovered wonderful cheese and baguettes. I was hooked.


I went there five times in a year and a half, and each time, had the same wonderful breakfast. Forget about the fact that the baguettes would cut your mouth like a cheese grater, it was so good that I didn’t care.


Have you ever eaten food that you knew was actually going to inflict physical pain, but it was so good that you ate it anyway? I not only did that in France, but also in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Heather and I went there on vacation three consecutive years. Each time, we had the most wonderful green chili – everything.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner, we ate food smothered in very spicy green chili. We paid the price each time, but it didn’t matter. It was so delicious, we couldn’t help ourselves.


There was also a time when I managed an Automatic Transmission shop in Whittier, California. I was only 21 and hadn’t eaten anything really spicy. My staff went to a Mexican restaurant every day and got burritos.


One day, I asked them to bring me one. They all told me that there was no way I was going to be able to eat one. I insisted. So I ate one. I couldn’t feel my face and tears were pouring out of my eyes. My sinus cavity was no longer functioning properly either.


When I was able to see again, the guys were laughing so hard. I never had one again. I pretty much stuck to burgers after that. I guess I can’t handle hot weather or food anymore. I officially declare that I have become a wuss.

See you tomorrow.

Facebook: Jerry Mabbott
Twitter: @jmabbott

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