It was the summer of 1973 and at the time I was in the army stationed at Ft Benning, Georgia. We lived in a little town called Smith Station, Alabama which was about thirty minutes drive from the base. The road I traveled to get to work brought me in through back side of the military reservation, on the opposite side of the Chattahoochee River from the Lawson Army Airfield.
The airport control tower was my destination on this slightly damp day and I had reached the Alabama side of the base, just across the river from the NW end of the runway. Ahead of me on the two lane road which was lined by Kudzu vines making it tunnel like (but with an open top), was a sedan blocking the road.
I slowed down to a speed which didn’t even register on my speedometer, because ahead of me the car was backing, and pulling forward, then backing again. It was like they were attempting to do a three point turn around, but had omitted the turning part.
When I got closer I could see that it was a military police (MP) vehicle with two soldiers inside of it. At about two car lengths away I came to a complete stop in my travel lane and waited. That is what one does when an official vehicle is blocking the road in front of you on a military base.
The driver finally noticed me sitting there and brought his vehicle into the opposite lane. He sat there with his window up and his face mashed against the glass, looking for all the world like, (and forgive me my police friends) Porky Pig. That nose smashed upward so you could see the nostril openings, his fat pink cheek jowls, and that bus driver style hat pushed back on his head. I had to shake my head to clear the image.
He looked at me and waved me forward, then pointed down at the road next to his car. I crept forward and leaned out of my open window to look, much to the horror of the MP driver who had his window rolled up tight. As I pulled alongside his vehicle I noticed that he even had his door locked. This guy was really scared of something. He kept gesturing and wildly pointing downward. I looked and looked and all I could see was a bicycle inner tube with a red patch on it lying on the center line of the road.
By gesturing like I was operating a window crank, I finally got the frightened MP to roll his window down a couple of inches so I could hear what he was saying.
“SNAKE!” he said, and pointed down, nodding his head “yes” vigorously for emphasis.
I looked again to be sure and then leaned back into my vehicle, struggling hard not to laugh. I made a motion like drawing a pistol out of a shoulder holster and Porky nodded, then turned and spoke to his right seat partner, who pulled his sidearm. I gave the OK sign and saluted. Officer Porky-in-Charge returned my salute with a snap.
Continuing on to work, I looked in my rear view mirror and was not at all surprised to see the MP patrol car continuing to kill that bicycle inner tube snake. They are very dangerous you know; they can leap straight up off the pavement and through car windows if you give them a chance.
I suppose that I should have felt safer, knowing that our Military Police were on the job, but somehow all I could see was Porky Pig killing an inner tube when I closed my eyes.
Again, no disrespect intended towards any police force military or civilian. People have all kinds of very real fears to deal with and I know this first hand. But, when a situation is funny, especially absurdly funny, it is also wrong to not be allowed to laugh at it. So forget the guilt trip, laugh at funny stuff. You will live longer.