Several of us in the bible study were in the Army Reserves or National Guard. Then there were a few active duty guys stationed at Fort Knox who came up to Louisville and hung out with the group. Tom Turner was one of the active duty guys and his army billet at Fort Knox was supply sergeant of a battalion there.
Tom could regal our bible study group with more stories about what should have been boring day to day work. We would roll in the floor with some of his stories. He really had a way of spinning an anecdote into a side splitter. Tom and I called each other “Sergeant.” Of course, I was out of the active duty army by then but was still making weekend drills and my own active duty service was still pretty fresh. Tom and I had met through the Saturday night evangelism program for soldiers. He had gotten involved in it somehow even though the soldiers bussed to Louisville from Fort Knox were mainly basic trainees.
Tom’s wife Cindy was knock down, drag out, good looking. She didn’t seem to be as interested in spiritual discussions as some of the others in our group but bring up Churchill Downs and she was ready to go put money on the horses, at least that’s what the other girls said. Tom’s civilian life had been in advertising on Madison Avenue in New York. I don’t know what Cindy did in real life besides being married to Tom, maybe that was all. Tom was finally discharged from his active duty at Fort Knox and his and Cindy’s move back to New Jersey meant the end of weekend trips to Louisville to hang out with us. we all hated to see them go. A few years later after transferring to Birmingham, one day I was in New York at an AT&T meeting and got called out of our conference. When I got to the phone, I heard a familiar voice. I don’t know how Tom discovered I was in New York but that evening I found myself being entertained at dinner by Cindy and him in their home over in New Jersey.
It was my last contact with Sergeant Turner but I can still hear his voice, “Sergeant Shoemaker…”