Hey man, I was sick of driving all the way from RI every day anyway, so maybe I should have crashed that car a long time ago! Yeah, I’m sure that was the spirit of the spin I put on the whole pitiful affair, while I was regurgitating the story to my new best friend, Tony. We were on the same crew in the shipyard, Tony and me, and we became close friends, fast and true. Our crew foreman was Bob Lefebre, and we were like the Bad News Bears of pipe hanging in the shipyard. Bob was a really nice guy (maybe too nice) and he put up with a lot of malarkey from Tony and the other workers on our crew. I always did a great job and never gave Bob any trouble, except for all the times I came to work drunk and he told me to go hide until the shift was over. And then there were the times that I went and hid until the shift was over just because I was tired. And then there were the times when I would climb up into the box girder that spanned the width of the enormous Trident submarine and smoke out with a bunch of my fellow crew members, and you guessed it, hide there until the shift was over. There were a few times that I overslept in those hiding places and then I would have to walk in shame past all the first shift guys starting up their day, so I could get to the time clock and punch out. Late. Bob was like a little French teddy bear though, he was always smiling and talking about the awesome work we would do tomorrow. It sure seemed as though the upper management was simply transferring every misfit and cretin who stumbled into the shipyard on the night shift, over to Bob’s crew. Just outside the front gate, where 24,000 employees would file in and out of the shipyard each day, there were three bars where the beer was cheap and you could get a lot for your money too! We even coaxed Bob into visiting one of those bars with our whole crew at 7:00 AM, after our shift one sunny morn. We almost closed that beer joint down at high noon that day. Not true. Those bars never closed, as far as I can remember. One of the few things I do remember about that particular morning, was that I had just moved in to Tony’s apartment a couple days prior. And, that was the one time we got Bob drunk. Bob was hilarious! He certainly earned our drunkards respect getting hammered that festive morning. He bought pitcher after pitcher on his own birthday, to my knowledge, so we were all impressed. I also remember drinking way too much myself and staggering the full mile and a half home to my new apartment in Groton, Connecticut.
Tony and me watched out for each other as best we could during those crazy years. He was the Best Man at our wedding five years later, and we still maintain our friendship to this day. I love Tony like a Brother, for sure. He’s not in the photo above, but that was skinny me, just after the Groton years.