When America got into World War II on December 8, 1941, my dad was married and my mother was expecting her first born, my brother Bill. Bill came into the world July 16, 1942. Because dad was married, he was exempt from the draft. He waited one year until my brother celebrated his first birthday, took him to a local bar and ordered two beers. He wanted to be able to say he got to have a drink with his son in case he died. You see, he had that beer and then joined the Army Air Corp where he became a pilot and flew a C47 transporting troops to battles in the Pacific.
He got out of the service after the war and started one of the first drive-in ice cream parlors in the country. I came along about that time. I guess I got the ice cream sundae as my treat from my dad. The Korean War got dad back in the service and he did his twenty years.
During the later years dad was in the service and many years afterwards, he and my brother would have a drink or two together. As for me, dad created a drink that he thought I would like being the girl in the family. He called it a “Bartini.” It consists of a chilled martini glass, crushed ice, a jigger of good gin, three green taillight olives, and a splash of olive juice.
Along with the “Bartini,” dad gave me a sense of humor, a sense of history, and some great memories which led to the writing of three spy novels with dad as one of the main characters. Some of his exploits were legendary. You do know that the Air Force always acts as the wings of the CIA, don’t you? What a legacy. And what a guy. Major Ralph M. Bartos is buried in the National Cemetery in Memphis Tennessee.