Three Day Pass to Paris
.
While stationed in Mainz, Germany with the 505th, I got a
three day pass over New Years Eve 1959, and decided that I
was going to see Paris.  I could not find anyone else that
wanted to go or who could get a pass so I went alone.  While
I was waiting to catch my train in the Mainz Bahnhoff, I
noticed some small bottles of booze that were for sale in
the Bahnhoff newspaper stand.  It was several different
kinds of liqueur and I bought a couple of bottles of each
flavor and put them into my AWOL bag.  After all, they were
tiny bottles and how drunk could I possible get on that
little bit of booze, thought I.

In order to reach Paris, I had to change trains in
Frankfurt.  Eventually, I found my Paris train and there
were very few people on it.  Finally, I found one guy
sitting by himself in one car and he invited me to sit with
him, which I did.  He spoke very good English and told me
that his name was Willie Weilinger and he worked for his
fatherís newspaper in Frankenthal, which was just outside
Frankfurt.  After I opened a bottle of my liqueur, I shared
it with Willie.  It was very sweet and tasted like Peaches
and I didnít much care for the taste.  Willie was headed to
Innsbruck, Austria on a skiing trip.  He invited me to join
him and I told him that my three day pass and my train
ticket were for Paris.  He insisted and I opened another
bottle of liqueur.  This one tasted better.

Willie continued trying to persuade me to join him skiing in
Austria until the train was pulling into the Mannheim
Bahnhoff and I finally relented and agreed to join him.  He
and three bottles of liqueur had convinced me that he could
pull it off okay so we changed trains and headed for
Austria.  By the time the conductor found us and asked for
tickets, we were both feeling no pain.  Somehow Willie
convinced the conductor to let me stay on the train.  Itís a
little fuzzy, but I remember the train stopping at the
Austrian border and Willie and I getting off with a border
guard and stumbling through the deep snow to the small
Bahnhoff and Border Guard Post.  There was a Gasthaus in the
Bahnhoff and it was full of border guards.  After I bought
them a round of beer and wished one and all a Happy New
Year, they escorted us back to the train.

The only thing I can remember about arriving in Innsbrucke
is slipping on the ice in the street and falling and busting
my butt.  But I was as limber as a wet dish rag and it didní
t injure me.  There is something good to be said for being
inebriated, I guess.  However, if I had been sober I
probably wouldnít have fallen in the first place.  Then
again, if I had been sober, I would have been in Paris,
France not skating across the streets of Innsbrucke, Austria
on my ass.

I awoke the next morning with a terrible hangover.  My head
hurt me something terrible and somebody was squealing and
that didnít help a bit.  It was like when I was a kid at
Mama Valentines in the winter because I was under about two
feet of quilts.  In the bed next to me, there was a total
stranger [Willie] and a beautiful dark-haired Austrian girl.
She wasnít undressed and in bed with him, she was just lying
ontop of the covers pestering him.  At first, I had no idea
where we were or who the hell they were.  The girl didnít
speak a word of English and left shortly after I awoke.
After I got up, I walked to one of the windows and there
were icicles, each three or four foot long, hanging from the
eaves.  Everywhere I looked I saw snow.  It shocked me fully
awake.  I thought, ďThis canít be Paris.  Where the hell am
I and who is that guy in the other bed?Ē  Then I started
remembering bits and pieces about the night before and
slowly remembered where I was and how I had gotten there.

Wearing a winter sport coat, turtle neck sweater and slacks
with no gloves, no winter underwear, no winter footgear and
no hat of any kind, I was dressed for Paris in the winter,
not Austria.  That wasnít my worst problem, if I did
anything to anger Willie, I would probably end up in the
stockade because without his help, I would have a serious pr
oblem getting out of Austria without proper papers.  So
legally, I guess that I was AWOL or something.  About that
time Willie asked me, if I was hungry.  To the best of my
knowledge, East Tennessee boys either have just eaten, are
about to eat or are eating.  We headed out to find something
to eat.  Then Willie and his girlfriend got their ski
equipment and we all headed by train for a ski resort.  As I
recall, it was the highest ski slope in that area.  It seems
like it was an hour or two by train, but it may not have
been that long.

Willie bought tickets at the resort and went up the lift to
the top of the mountain and ski back down.  His girl friend
decided not to ski; she stayed with me.  That cute little
gal was all heart.  Maybe she knew a lost puppy when she saw
one.  We all went up the ski lift to the top of the mountain
together.

When we got to the top, Willie tried to get me to put on the
skis and try skiing, but I refused.  That slope looked
straight down to me and I was wearing street shoes and
street clothes and never had skied in my life.  Willie
almost talked me into it because I really did want to learn
to ski, but his girl friend begged me not to do it so I didn
ít.  She probably did me a great favor because I probably
would have killed my fool self.  His girlfriend and I rode
the lift back down and spent the rest of the time in the
Gasthaus eating and drinking while we waited for Willie to
have all of the fun on the slopes that he could handle.
Then we returned by train to Innsbrucke.

That evening we went to downtown and I thought that
Innsbrucke was beautiful.  Maybe it seemed so beautiful to
me because everything was covered with snow or maybe it was
because of the architectural style of the buildings or maybe
it was the booze, regardless, it was beautiful.  We drove
around town and then we parked and walked through the
streets.  Walking through Innsbrucke made me feel like I was
in a live cartoon or a Grimmís Fairy Tale because of the
snow and the architecture of the buildings.

The next day we started for home, but I doubted that Willie
could get me back the way we came unless I was drunk; so I
bought some more liquer and drank just enough to smell of
alcohol and pretended to be drunk.  We made it all the way
back to Mannheim, Germany without any problems.  The
conductors and border guards looked at me a little weird,
but we made it.  From Mannheim to Mainz, my original
round-trip ticket was good.  Willie and I parted at the
Frankfurt train station and I havenít seen or heard from him
since.

I never drank liqueur again.
Don "Val"  Valentine

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