Change is not something most of us embrace. We get comfortable with things the way they are, and it seldom occurs to us that improvements are available. That’s largely due to the fact that we don’t really take notice when things get better, only when they get worse. So change gets a bad rap.
Ham’s was a little bar just off base, right outside the Bellevue gate (stumbling distance). In a brotherhood of acronyms and abbreviations, Ham’s was called “Building H”. Besides, having the Colonel overhear you saying “meet you at the bar” doesn’t sound quite as professional as “There will be a briefing at 1730 in building H”. Yeah, the old man thought we were working late.
Ham’s closed a few weeks ago, it was a family run place, it’s been thirty years since I was there last and it was old when I arrived. I guess Ralph ran out of patience, or his kids got tired of running the place. It was popular after a night shift, the best one dollar chili dog and a beer special you could find at 0730, but the world is changing. I remain hopeful that the destruction of one icon brings the creation of the next.
I checked on line to see what was said about it. Very little outside the Air Force Alumni community. The reviews were funny, some (obviously civilian) reviewer absolutely hated it, one of his complaints was “bath room big as an air plane bath room”. Well yeah, what more do you need at a bar? He followed that up with “not shure (sic) if i could find the door after one more drink”, as if that was something bad. But as I said, the world is changing. We went to a bar to drink, not to use the toilets.
Ham’s outlasted the Strategic Air Command, no one thought we were needed after we won the cold war. No gratitude required, we were just doing our jobs. Most of my friends from those days have disappeared into the alphabet soup of governmental organizations around the world, when we do run into each other we can’t talk about work, but we can talk about the time Kip almost lost his clearance for drunk driving because he passed the SP on the right. Over the lawn. With the SP’s girlfriend in his car. Took a General to get him out of that one.
I’m sure today the people who do what I did then drink smoothies and bottled water, and eat veggie wraps and hummus chips, and that does not reflect on their mettle in any way. The world is changing.
I do know that even as bearers of the gauntlet filled with lightning bolts, we were searching for peaceful resolutions. Intel is about avoiding conflicts. I’m a little concerned with the new generation’s blood thirst. Those words have been spoken for centuries. The world is always changing, yet it stays the same in many ways.
We keep wishing that we have won, that the conflict is over. The world continues to find idiots who think nuclear weapons make up for their shortcomings. We try to force peace down the throats of people who only know how to hate. We get so very close, then we screw up the end game and have to do it all over again. Perhaps we will finally reach that final reincarnation and stop making mistakes. Until then, the only cushion we can put between our head and the wall is labeled “we did the very best we could with what we had”.
Vishnu is right behind Shiva, isn’t he?