…bad day for a pump jockey; the beginning of the fall from grace and everything else…
By Thomas E. Krawford Jr.
It was Sunday evening, December 20, 2020. The Custodian, Our Custodian; the same one we have come to know well enough across the preceding installments of this overall narrative experiment; was watching Van Ryan’s Express on Apple T.V. For our Custodian, that is not what is significant here. Nor is it of any importance that this motion picture was one of his recently deceased Father’s favorite films, recent in the sense that his estranged father had died on or about Labor Day of the past year before writing this text. What is significant is that Our Custodian did not remember buying this film!
Not at all. Did he wake up in the middle of the night, walking in his sleep as it were, but instead of going anywhere, open his iPhone, pay for, then download to the cloud, Van Ryan’s Express?
To this day, he has no recollection of buying the film, and yet, there it was; sometime in late September or early October when he discovered it; improbable, unlikely, and nevertheless, undeniably Van Ryan’s Express; one of his late Father’s favorite movies. It was on his Apple Id account of recent purchases, and he had no idea of how it got there.
To be brief, the movie, starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard, tells the World War Two adventure of how a captured U.S. Army Air Force colonel led a daring escape from an Italian prisoner of war camp; moving through German-occupied Italy at the time; with four hundred men in tow; having to at some point, take control of a train that, otherwise would’ve taken them to their most probable collective deaths; only to ultimately sacrifice his own life so that the men he led, could be free; or at the very least, have a chance at freedom.
In retrospect; considering how Our Custodian’s father was also a prisoner of war in the Korean Conflict; it may be easy to understand, from our perspective here in 2020 Ann Arbor, how this motion picture could’ve easily been one of his Father’s favorites; but what does all this have to do with a bad day for a pump jockey; an incident that happened, for our protagonist, many, many years before the writing of this narrative; as well as many years after his father escaped a POW camp somewhere in the…