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BASE Jumping: Articles: Stories: Steve Morrell Stories: Wild Things

Steve Morrell Stories: Wild Things new

by Melissa Blanton and Bob Morrell
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Steve himself was not the only wild creature in his biography. To be fair, his pets were not exactly wild in the true sense of the word, but a couple of them were certainly unusual.

Somehow we both had saltwater aquariums at the same time. Great minds think alike, I guess. Mine held nothing more threatening than a ribbon eel, which immediately committed suicide as soon as I put him in the tank. Steve, on the other hand, purchased a moray eel, possibly one of the ugliest denizens of the deep and certainly carnivorous. The eel had to be fed live goldfish, which I complained about incessantly--those poor goldfish, swimming around, minding their own business, then suddenly dumped into saltwater and gobbled by that hideous eel.

One day, Steve got an idea of how the goldfish must have felt. For some reason he had his hand in the aquarium, and he forgot that he had on his Citadel class ring, which, of course, was gold. The moray eel, with about two functioning brain cells, did not differentiate between the ring and a goldfish. I'm not sure what happened next-Steve was deliberately vague on that point-but I fear the eel did not fare very well once Steve got its teeth out of his finger.

Steve's next pet was Otis, the Vietnamese pot bellied pig. Otis was a baby pig when Steve acquired him, and Steve housetrained him just as one would a dog. He really loved that pig. A pig, however, is one of the most intelligent animals in the world, maybe smarter than Steve. Otis learned to open the refrigerator door his snout, and Steve came home to a huge mess. Otis had pulled all the shelves out of the refrigerator and eaten everything. He also used his snout to push windows out. By this time, Steve had also acquired his golden retriever, Alex, and Alex escaped through the open window. Intelligent Otis was probably trying to eliminate the competition.

Otis's intellectual once got the better of him. Steve had him outside one autumn day when Otis discovered a jack-o-lantern on the neighbor's front steps. Ever curious, Otis examined this foreign object a little too closely and got his head stuck inside. He ran all over the place with the pumpkin stuck on his head.

Finally, Otis got to be too much for Steve to handle along with the dog, so he took Otis to his parents. (Not the pig's parents. Steve's parents.) When he ate a hole in the Morrells' floor, Otis had to go. They sent him to what they term a "pig palace" with others of his kind. Steve went along for the sad farewell, and onlookers claim they might actually have seen tears Steve's eyes. Otis ended up weighing around 300 pounds and growing tusks. Steve's mother was glad that Steve never saw Otis in that state and that his memories were of a cute little pig. Otis died when he was nine, still living at the "pig palace."

Finally, there is Alex, the Golden Retriever. Steve adored Alex. He took him everywhere, including hiking and camping trips. He also considered Alex to be a babe magnet. Steve was walking down the beach one day, trolling for women with Alex in tow, and two bikini clad girls came over to lavish attention on the dog and, by association, Steve. Things were going well until Alex began to show some signs of distress, and one of the girls asked, "What is that white stuff coming out of your dog?" Steve looked at the poor canine's rear, and something alien was indeed coming out of Alex's, uh, rectum. Steve tried to be cool about it and gently tugged at the white material while still trying to keep the girls from escaping. But the mysterious material was not budging. Finally, Steve had to turn his full attention to poor Alex, only to discover that Alex had apparently ingested a pair of sweat socks. Relieving the situation required quite a bit of tugging and downright pulling before the sweat socks were finally freed. When Steve looked up, naturally the girls were nowhere to be seen.

Alex accompanied Steve on hiking and camping trips, as already stated. Unfortunately, during the last trip, Alex began to show symptoms of some major health problems. Shortly after that, Steve was killed and Alex went to live with Robert and Carroll, Steve's parents. Alex is still with us and doing fine, despite getting along in years. I love to rub him and pet him whenever I visit the Morrells. He's one of the few links we have to Steve. When the inevitable happens and Alex joins Steve in heaven, the Morrells plan to have him cremated and to scatter his ashes over Steve's grave. That will be a very appropriate best friends.

{Major Stephen A. Morrell (USAF) was a pioneer in many area's of skydiving, including CRW and BASE jumping. 1956-1996}

Stephen A. Morrell Memorial Site & Foundation


Submitted by Melissa Blanton and Bob Morrell on 2009-09-23

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 wallet55
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 2009-09-23
Sadly, since this was written, Al is no longer with us. We scattered his ashes over Steve's grave. He was a good dog.

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