Monday had been quite quiet, in South West Arkansas and as it was nearing the time for a visiting dignitary to arrive, I stopped into city hall to advise that I would be at the Landing zone.
While talking to the city clerk, the telephone rang and she answered. A strange look came over her face as she handed the phone to me, saying, “I think it’s for you, it sounds like a helicopter”.
The conversation was to the point and somewhat cryptic in nature. It went like this:
This is Larry.
Larry, this is Don. What size pants do you wear ?
Now, this is a guy that I had flown with quite a bit and there was a bond of trust. I didn’t hesitate. I told him immediately. His response was:
Do you have a pair of blue dress pants ?
Yes, I am wearing a pair now.
To make a long story short, within minutes I was meeting the heilo, wearing a tactical jump suit, with my carefully folded uniform pants in a brown paper bag, under my arm.
As the heilo sat down and the rotors started to unwind, my friend, the pilot, pointed at me, standing in front of my patrol unit. Meeting Huckabee in mid LZ, I handed him the pants in the bag as I shook his right hand. We walked to the reception line that was waiting for him and as he went down the front of the line I paced him down the back side of it.
At the end he said quietly, “I guess the next stop is a bathroom where I can change?” “Yes, second door on the right”, I said. He changed and continued with his visiting, before lifting off for his next stop, where the newspaper article picks up the story.
But why did he need your pants, you might ask ? Yeh, logical question. The answer is quite simple. While exiting the heilo, he had slipped on the heilo’s skid step, ripping out the crotch of his pants.
Yes sir, Mike Huckabee needed a pair of pants about as bad as any one I ever knew ! There was a crowd waiting at the airport in Mena and the news media was there with camera’s at the ready.
The next day’s news paper photo was the last time I ever saw my pants !