Archive for October, 2019

| posted by Joe Hice |

Jackson Dudley — 2001 to 2019

He was the toughest and most determined little dog I had ever met.  He was the runt of his litter with a deformed front leg and oversized chest.  His tail was almost as long as his body.  He had velvet ears.  He became an instant part of the family.

He was a Wisconsin shelter dog and his bark could scare Babe, the Blue Ox.  It was that big chest the kids said.  He loved the snow and would run, nose buried, the entire block, two girls close behind.

His name was Jackson Dudley, but he answered to Jackie, Jackie J, J Jeru, Jinkus, J-kees co.  You know you’re loved when you have that many nicknames.

His soul mate for 17 years was Rufus, a black and white jellical cat.  They played together, slept together, burrowed under the rug together. Jackson would chase the other cat relentlessly, paws skittering across polished cherry floors.  But Rufus, they were best friends. 

He ate anything.  As a pup, he lapped up shaving cream left on the driveway during a Halloween T-P incident.  He got sick but recovered.  Sandy left a bag of bird seed on the floor and he ate it.  All two or three pounds.  He pooped bird-seed cutlets for a week.  A tasty treat for the birds.  I don’t know. What did the birds think.

He traveled like a pro making the drive from Wisconsin to Florida, From Gainesville to Miami, From Tampa to Atlanta.  Put him in the backseat and he was gone until the next stop. Up and at ‘em. A quick pee and poo and back in the car.  Never a complaint.

As he got older car trips were harder.  His legs and hind quarters didn’t always work the way they should after a long drive.  He’d tremble until he knew he was not going to the vet.  He really didn’t have a problem with the vet and I always thought his “fear” was curious.  They treated him like the beloved elder worshiped by the tribe.

Well into his 17th year he’d have a dog fit now and then when I came home.  Circling the couch with his buddies Hominy and Grits, the Papillons, close behind.  Reversing direction so I wouldn’t catch him.  He was the pup I remembered from all those years ago.

When he turned 18 three months ago things really slowed down.  He had trouble walking and mostly slept.  He lost control from time to time and was embarrassed. He’d go into his kennel, head down.  But offer him a treat or “biscuit,” and he’d be out of that crate lickety split. 

In dog years he had 126 great ones.  In people years a little over 18.  He lit up our lives and never complained.  Despite his stature – a big dog in a little dog body with a tail of epic proportions – a deformed left front leg, soft tissue cancer at 13, a cataract that got so bad he lost his eye, and hearing he lost long ago, it was hard to say goodbye.

But as one of the girls’ favorite childhood friends, Winnie the Poo (misspelled intentionally for Jackson), said; 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard….” 

So goodbye old fella.  We’re going to miss you.

Passion Rules!

He was 18+ and a great dog!

Share

| posted by Joe Hice |

Eulogy for a Hero

Col. Joseph S. Hice, USAF (RET), was born in Cherry Log, GA on February 28, 1928. While times weren’t always easy – growing up in Cherry log could never be easy – he led a good life.

He would proudly tell everyone he met about the family farm and sawmill, the apple orchard and the railroad. If you knew dad for a day you knew he held the record for the 100-yard dash at Ellijay High School and Drove a school bus along North Georgia’s mountain roads when he was just 15.
That was about the time he began to dream of a life in the sky; being a pilot.

Dad joined the Army Air Corp when he was just 17. He tried to join earlier, but Mama Hice found out. That was not about to happen to her little boy.

Even though he wasn’t the youngest of the kids – that claim goes to Uncle Searcy – he was the smallest, but aviation fit him like a glove.

He became an officer candidate a little more than a year after he enlisted and entered flight school, the youngest in his class. And that was a big deal back then. He graduated, at the top of his class…

He also met our Mom, Phil, in Washington, after he completed his combat flight training. A friend had set him up with a blind and when my mom walked into the room – even before he met her – he said he was going to marry THAT girl. They were married for almost 60 years.

When they were dating he used to fly from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to Washington, D. C. on weekends just to see her.
From time to time he was known to do a flyover and Wing Wave down the valley in Cherry Log on his way back.

He went on to fly the T-3, Stearman, P-51 (his favorite), B-25, F-84, F-86, F-100, F-104, KC 135, B-52 and more.

He led the first flight to circumnavigate the globe without landing. 49 hours in the air. Can you even imagine. He retired after a magnificent 21-year career as a Colonel.

Dad was smart and good with people and that’s probably why the Air Force General Staff adopted him. He spent most of his time flying with Generals, Heads of State and other military leaders. He contributed his thoughts and ideas to running the Strategic Air Command.

He helped create the Looking Glass program which put aircraft in the sky 24 hours a day, 365 days a year during the Cold War. He helped keep America safe.

He saw the need for that program during the Cuban Missile Crisis when his squadron of U-2s and other reconnaissance aircraft – SPY PLANES — discovered Soviet missile sites on the island. They were pointed toward Florida.  He briefed President Kennedy about the situation and helped the nation, and the world, avoid World War III.

Following the Air Force he went on to a long career with Eastern Airlines where he was the chief flight instructor. If you flew Eastern during the 70s, 80s or 90s, chances were that dad and his team had trained the flight crew.

He never really retired. After Eastern he tried his hand at Real Estate. He could sell anything and was an active realtor until he was 90.

Speaking of selling anything, after our mom and the kids, he loved automobiles. The house in Miami usually looked like a car lot. In fact, it still does.

He probably owned more than 500 Pontiacs, Fords, Chevrolets, Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes. Then there were the Cadillacs and Corvettes. Boy did he love his Cadillacs and Corvettes. When he died last month he still had two 1984 Corvettes sitting in the garage just waiting for him to find time to restore them.

We are all going to miss Dad. He was an amazing father and role model. An amazing Grandfather and Great Grandfather. An amazing friend and mentor.

He led a wonderful life and we’re all so happy he was with us for so long.

So, after 91 years, it’s time to say goodbye.

So dad, as you used to tell us all, Fly Low and Slow … and keep the doors open.

Mom and a whole bunch of angels are out there who want to hitch a ride and fly with you.

10 – 4, Roger and Out.

Share