Ian Pike noon, Dec. 8
In 1979, we became shipmates.
GM & Bops dropped me off with you
while you were "top kick" at Lemoore Naval Hospital.
You had to play papa-and-mama for me--
a 10th-grader with issues and dreams.
Until 1983, the Central Valley was home.
The small-town life suited me just fine,
and Alverez Housing became our home port.
Living on base was a real experience.
We ate shrimp together at the CPO Club,
and you watched me slowly leave my shell.
You taught me, nurtured me, protected me--
yet landed on me as I needed to have it done.
Football games and dances at the high school
led to my maturing from boy to young man.
When I graduated in 1982, your pride showed
like a rainbow after a heavy summer shower.
You gave me advice on how to handle dating,
and Playboy became an approved info source.
When I started dating Karen, you were there
to ensure that no shotgun weddings took place.
Now I am nearly 50, no son of my own--that's OK.
You have some graddaughters to deal with from Jeri.
I'll always be grateful for your loving guidance,
as father, mother, sailor, Corpsman, veteran of 'Nam.
So I raise a glass of iced tea to toast you, Dad.
And I thank you for all your love and guidance.
May God see fit to grant us both another year--
the Master Chief and La Placa Rifa--
father-and-son shipmates since 1963.