Bernie Goldbach in Cashel | Worst memory from Germany
ON A WARM SUNDAY afternoon in August 1988, I watched little kids and big dads marvel as flight after flight of aerobatic planes smoked and roared overhead. Spectators got to see maneuvers that would not be approved over a crowd in the States because NATO airshow rules were in effect.
I was helping to run an ice cream and hot dog stand just off the main taxiway at Ramstein Air Base. The airshow's maneuvering line ran straight down the runway, giving spectators a close-up view of modified fighter aircraft roaring by at 350 miles per hour. You could feel the effect and smell the roar of JP4. I didn't get that close to an eight ship of acrobatic jets even when flying the Lockheed C-141 for the 3000 flying hours I had logged with the US Air Force.
My watch told me we were one nation away from finishing for the day. The Italian Frecce Tricolori were well into their routine and the UK's Red Arrows were in the holding pattern ready to rock the crowd and finish Flugtag 88 with a bang.
I knew we had at least five unopened gallons of ice cream in our refrigerated can so I started giving double helpings to the kids who loved the generosity. "I'm getting two more tubs of chocolate," I told the guys under our marquee. "Be right back."
As I cradled the thawing ice cream containers in my arms in frosty conditions, I heard a bang on the van so I shouted to the guys, "Hey! I'm coming!" They were always messing around and had locked me inside the van earlier. It was kinda morbid because the van was used as a temporary morgue during practice war games.
And when I walked outside the refrigerated van that momentous day, it looked like it would be called to action right away.
I think about the 72 people who died within 400 meters of our ice cream van every time I pass the simple stone monument erected for a different commemoration in Cashel, County Tipperary. The erect stones remind me of gravestones flying in formation, with an independent spirit of a young tree captured in the visual intersection of the vertical plinths. This Irish visual art represents for me a frozen ice cream memory.
Posted via the Typepad iOS app while on the N24 in County Tipperary, Ireland. It's part of an unpublished journal.