Staff Sergeant Donald M. “Possum” Clay was a silver
Eagles crew chief from 1974 until 1976. Possum
was a native of Mississippi and, besides a great work ethic, had a wonderful
sense of humor. He was frequently
involved, either as perpetrator or victim, in the many practical jokes that kept
team members loose.
One of his favorite practical jokes often took place in a
restaurant. Possum would tell the
waitress he did not need a menu and then proceed to order a “stewed okra and
tomato” sandwich on light bread. Usually
the waitress would become flustered and usually went to the kitchen to ask the
cook if there was such a sandwich. That routine produced a lot of laughs.
However, Possum finally met his math.
The team encountered bad weather while traveling from Alabama to
Chillicothe, MO, and ended up spending a night in Walnut Ridge, AR.
Although it was late when we arrived, the motel operator kept the
restaurant open so the team could be fed. Naturally,
Possum gave his order to the waitress, a stewed okra and tomato sandwich on
light bread. The waitress didn’t
even blink. She soon returned to
Possum’s table followed by a man wearing an apron.
The waitress said, “Here is your order, sir,” and placed a plate in
from of Possum. The plate contained
two slices of white bread, thoroughly soaked with a soggy mass of stewed okra
Possum looked up, noticed the man standing there, and said,
“Who is he?”
“I’m the cook,” the man replied. “I just wanted to see how you are going to pick it up.”
The restaurant, full of team members, exploded in laughter.
During his remaining time on the team Possum never again ordered his favorite sandwich.