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Published: January 5th 2007
My parents, in 1965, drove from Kansas to Ozark Alabama to visit Linda and I. I was in Flight School at Fort Rucker. As they were driving through Selma Alabama, across the Edmond Pettus Bridge they found themselves driving through the historic Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March. The Black marchers surrounded their car and pounded on the fenders. When Dad got to our home in Ozark he was telling me and some neighbors about the incident. Someone said something about the troublemakers and my Dad, after seeing the white only rest rooms and water fountains of the time said: “I would be raising hell too if I had to live like that.” I seldom heard my Dad talk like that and it was revealing to me what he thought.
From Selma we drove to Marion Alabama, through some farm country. The sole purpose was to see if I could find my best Army friend I served with in Korea. His name was Alva Caine. He was not only my best friend in Korea. After Korea, Alva was assigned to Fort Rucker as a flight instructor. I was assigned to Fort Riley Kansas with D Troop 3/5 Cav, 9th Division.
Every pilot in our troop was sent to Fort Rucker for advance gunnery school. This was in the fall of 1966 and I got stuck there during Thanksgiving with no place to go. Alva and his wife took me to Marion to celebrate Thanksgiving with his father-in-law Doctor deRamos.
I remember sitting out on Dr. deRamos porch one evening and an old colored man drove by on an old buckboard pulled by a couple of mules. He yelled out: “Docta Ramos, I bring ya some greens.” That night, Dr. Ramos’s cook presented dinner and it wasn’t the typical Thanksgiving dinner of my Kansas heritage. In the center of the table was this pile of collard greens at least a foot high. If that is unbelievable, what happened during the meal was also unbelievable. I ate a little of those greens but Alva, his wife and Dr. Ramos ate that huge pile of greens.
Dr. deRamos has past on but I found his nurse and she came up with a phone number of Alva. He is an attorney in Birmingham. I haven’t contacted him yet.
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