Chapter Twenty-five: Sam’s Search Ends at a Dinner Table

He almost lost Tammy when he quit football, but when she found out that he wanted to be a fighter pilot, she agreed to keep on dating him. After all, a fighter pilot was way sexy.

He knew somewhere deep inside that Tammy was not good for him, but she was really hot, and the sex was great. Yes, she put out. He should have waited till they were married, but there was something about a girl with a great body wearing a cheerleader outfit that was just more than any mortal man could resist, and Tammy knew it.

Tammy in her cheerleader outfit.

During his senior year, his father Grandpa Gordon’s military career came to a close. He opted out of having a spectacular celebration when he retired, something Papa Sam could not understand. What was the point of having such a stellar career if you don’t get to enjoy some of the fringe benefits. His father though, never seemed to enjoy being in the limelight even though he flew with the Thunderbirds, he only did so because it was part of his career path. While he did enjoy talking to young adults about flying it was not in an attempt to gain publicity or notoriety or even adulation, he simply loved what he was doing and he wanted others to feel the same way he did. He just never seemed to lose his childlike exuberance and enthusiasm for flying and that was one reason he was so popular.

Finally the day came and Grandpa Gordon retired from the Air Force. Not surprisingly the only thing he wanted was a family get-together at a nice steak house. Papa Sam had to admit the food was pretty good at Ruth Chris Steak House. The clincher was when good old Dad saw the bill. The look he had on his face was priceless.

While his response was fun to watch it was the least important part of the night. The interaction that occurred between his father and him was the real game changer. For the first time in his life, he finally understood how his father felt about him. Papa Sam is not ashamed of his response to his father’s words. His tears actually felt good, it was such a relief to release all that pent-up passion and frustration. And just like that, life was good. He had something he always wanted, the love of his father.

Even though he did not become a professional football player, deep down he knew he had the raw talent to do it. Somehow knowing this made his decision to go in a different direction easier. He kept on telling himself how much his father had accomplished on his own. Even though he was not going to pursue a future in sports, Papa Sam had to admit that he still gained a lot from his six years of sports. First, he was in the best shape of his life. Second, he had a lot of fun participating in them. Third, he made a lot of friends during those years. Fourth, he met Tammy his first love, future wife and mother of his son Peter while playing football. She was a football cheerleader, so there was no way she was going to notice him without his playing football. Lastly, at least in his mind, it brought him closer to his father.

He was now ready to start the next chapter in his life. After thinking long and hard about his future he decided to take the scholarship at the local college. To further facilitate his career path he would also join the Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps).