ROADMAPPING VICTORY - Power of Associations

In retrospect it served as a great learning experience, although at the time I viewed it as anything but educational. When I received my DD 214 indicating I was no longer a soldier, I decided I would find fame and fortune in San Francisco.

In looking at the map, I determined  historic Route 66 was the way to go. To shorten the story, in parts unknown I needed some rest. I figured I’d pull out my sleeping bag and catch some ZZZ’s. Off the road I saw a gate that lead into a field. It said No Trespassing.

I’m a law abiding citizen but weariness made me rationalize I wouldn’t be trespassing I would just be visiting for a couple hours.

Within moments of entering the property, I detected something wasn’t right. The night radiated a cold, damp blackness…and my tires were spinning in the mud. I immediately turned off the engine and got out of my car to see what had transpired. I pulled out a flashlight, and realize my German buddy had just dug the Erie Canal in some farmer’s cornfield. We were stuck!

After going through my alphabet of epithets, I decided I would confront my predicament in the morning. I pulled out my sleeping bag and crawled in.

I guess I fell asleep immediately, because I don’t remember anything until excruciating pain brought me to consciousness. My ribs felt like they had exploded. This is a dream, I thought. The next blow to my buttocks assured me it wasn’t.

Four letter words seemed to be coming from all directions. Dazed, I climbed out of my bag and stood up. The light shone in my eyes blinded me and an object was immediately pressed against my cheek. “Move and I’ll blow your f…ng head off.” Over the next few minutes, they called me a variety of derogatory names. Both gentlemen were working themselves into a frenzy.

At that point the individual with the gun against my face stated, “We shoot trespassers around here.” I hoped he said that for effect.

 

As I stood wondering where the situation was headed, the second gentleman searched my car. Immediately, he saw my uniform hanging in the back window. “Are you in the army?” he inquired. I quickly evaluated my choices for a response and lied, “Yes, I’m on my way to Fort Sill.” Immediately something caught his interest. “Are you airborne?” he asked. He knew the answer the moment he saw the parachutist badge on my uniform. “Yes,” I said. “I was airborne,” he stated. “I spent two years in the 82nd.”

Immediately silence blanketed us. You could feel him processing my input. “I’ll be back when it’s light to pull you out,” he said.

As quickly as it began, the encounter ended. They were gone within moments. At daybreak, he showed up and pulled my car out. Virtually no words were exchanged. No apology was given.

I suspect he didn’t like me much more than the night before, but because we were members of the same club “paratrooper,” he felt an obligation to assist me. Periodically, I reflect back on the experience and wonder what would have happened had I put my uniform in the trunk.

Associations are a great catalyst to get Acceleration started. Everyone is looking for common ground. It helps with the communication process. It allows you to interface in an area where you both have knowledge. The concept is pretty simple to understand: A friend of a friend is a friend. But it can also lead to Deceleration; associating with enemies creates enemies.