Halfway through basic training, the men could have their parents come visit them for a day. They were allowed to go outside the main gate and eat at the restaurant there.
Johnny Cash and a young lady came into my shop and he introduced her to me as Mary. He wanted to take her to the mess hall and show her where we ate.
I told him that civilians were not allowed in the mess hall. He said, “Everett, I’ve seen you get things done on this base that no one else could do. I know you can get us in the mess hall with your printers.”
I called the mess sergeant and told him that Johnny Cash wanted to bring his lady friend to the mess hall and have lunch with me and my printers. He said for me to come over, that he would love to meet them.
When we walked into the mess hall, I think some of these young men almost chocked on the food they were eating. The mess sergeant had a large table set up for all of us to sit together, and he came and ate with us.
After we ate my men and I had to get back to our shop and let the rest of the printers come to eat. I could tell Johnny was very happy, and Mary hugged all my printers and myself. She said she would never forget us, or that day.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)