Thursday, September 12, 2013
That's Joy on the left.
She's a little bitty thing with a huge heart.
Hangar 2 is located on Barksdale Air Force Base and is where many a "GI" has been fed, mothered, and whipped into shape by a feisty Thai lady with a heart of gold. It doesn't matter what branch of service you were in, how long, or of what rank, you were "GI." Oh, the ranking officers were certainly shown proper respect and decorum, but Joy taught all the younger ones the ropes.
Steve and I used to go to Hangar 2 nearly every Wednesday and/or Friday night; Wednesday was steak night and Joy would make her famous Thai beef salad -- if you didn't overcook your steak.
If you didn't order your salad "spicy," Joy felt some pity for you. One regular ordered hers "mild" every week and Joy would say, "She can't handle the hot...poor thing!"
Friday nights were always crowded and often filled with good music from Larry the DJ, dancing, and good times. We would often sit outside the back door with Joy and some other regulars while Joy would smoke and have a shot of something. We'd listen to the kids yelling from the pool next door, hear the big B52s roaring overhead, and talk, just shooting the breeze, laughing, joking, and feeling fine. Good times.
Hangar 2 sponsors Joy's Mug Club where you can buy your own large beer mug, have it engraved with the design of your choice at the Hobby Shop on base, and hang it at the bar. I can promise you, up to her final days, Joy could tell you where your mug was hanging. There are hundreds of mugs hanging in that place, and she knew exactly where yours was. Always. No matter where you were from, how long you had been gone, or how many times you had been to the bar, she knew where your mug was. You were special. You were home.
A couple of years ago Joy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Steve and I went in the Hangar
Steve and I sat up there many nights with her, trying to help out, insisting that she sit down, bucking her stubborn streak to try and lift kegs or bags of trash. Her friends stepped in to help; Tay took over helping on steak night. Rose organized visits and dinners to Joy's house to keep her spirits up. Steve vacuumed that bar I don't know HOW many nights so Joy could leave and go home earlier.
Once there was a litter of stray kittens under the deck at the Hangar. There were some who were determined to call the pound, trap the cats, and get rid of them, but not Joy. Joy slipped bowls of food under the deck and bowls of water for them. The cats were feral and wouldn't let anyone near them, but they eventually let Joy take care of them.
Just like the airmen.
And the naysayers caved; nobody wanted to cross Joy. The cats stayed.
She was a nurturing soul.
Heart of gold.
Heaven got a new angel last night. Her wings and halo were waiting on her; she'd already earned
If you knew Joy, her funeral service will be at 2:00, Saturday, at Hillcrest. No flowers; her husband request all donations will go to St. Jude Children's Hospital.