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Disneyland USA

Neil Hendricks

I only heard about this. I didn't really have anything to do with it. I wasn't there. I didn't do any of the things this story tells about. Any reference to any person living or not, who may resemble someone you know is purely coincidental, really.

On one of our many trips to that one base in a large western state to test that one thing that cost about a million dollars a copy, someone suggested we finagle a blue car from the car pool and make our way to that one city where all the movie stars live. Someone said, "Cool. Let's go."

First things first – who's going. It seems there were about six young men who believed this would be a good thing to do.

Next, transportation. Someone in the group had to have enough foolishness remaining in him to severely embellish the truth about who he was and the purpose for which a "For Official Use Only" transport was needed. Papers were signed, commitments were made, keys were handed over and a carload of GI's headed out of the desert into the big city of angels.

As soon as that American Motors station wagon had the base gate in the rear view mirror, all occupants were subject to serious UCMJ action, but what the heck, it was for a good cause. Someone was almost 32 years old and had looked forward to visiting the land of Disney since he first fell in love with that one dark eyed, dark haired, girl Mouseketeer. This was a birthday present extraordinaire, and all that was done was rationalized to the extreme.

As the crew of highly trained and educated young men made their way into the city, a wonderful thing happened – the ordinary looking two lane highway suddenly became six lanes of crazy people rushing headlong at great speed into the unseen abyss that lay ahead, traffic signs only a blur along the way. And believe it or not, the old station wagon got in on the fun too and began to misfire and sputter dangerously toward stalling as the speedometer was reading 70 plus MPH. The car jerked and heaved in the middle lane like a pogo stick. Someone began praying out loud it seems. Must have been some bad gas or something. After a few moments of lamenting the fact the vehicle was essentially stolen and the occupants were criminals, the motor resumed normal operation and there was a collective sigh of relief as the transport moved back into the traffic flow. Close, so very close, to defeat and sorrow.

That made the sight of the entry to Disneyland all the more sweet, even if it was three in the afternoon. Midweek parking was a breeze as was getting into the park itself. The birthday boy was all aglow for realizing a boyhood dream coming true.

There were rides, a hologram, President Lincoln making a speech in the round, bands, singers, dancing, more rides, high priced food, and finally a light show parade complete with fireworks and music galore. What a day to share with friends, good friends, friends willing to suffer severe consequences to spend the day with a buddy celebrating his birthday. Cool, way cool.

The ride home, like they say, was uneventful, except for the chatter of excitement in rehearsing recent fun and joyful experiences. Each ride was talked about, each event gone over and over again as the faithful American made ride took the ARIA "Crew for the day" back to that one place in the Mojave desert.

The car was turned back in, not too much worse for wear, papers were signed, keys turned back in, and it was back to the ARIA hotel by the golf course for a good night's sleep.

My wife still has the hand painted plaster of Paris Mickey Mouse on the shelf along with all her other mouse ornaments, not that I gave it to her, not that I was the birthday boy, or even on the trip you understand.

Really, honest.

Neil A. Hendricks
HF Operator ARIA 60-0374