… “BECAUSE of Y’all I Made It”…Part #2

Part #2 of 5
I’ll begin with the obvious…

#1) Mrs Hall, 1st Grade, Barrett School. I’ll never forget our “Readin’ Groups”. Remember?…Dick, Jane, Sally, & Spot? We had two (2) Readin’ Groups. One had the Average & Accelerated readers in it. In the other Group there was Me & Mrs. Hall. Mrs. Hall & I lacked the ability to properly communicate with each other. I got sent to The Office my very first day, of the first grade, for throwin’ rocks on the playground (& hittin’ someone in the back of the head). I received my very first paddlin’ from a Principal that day. I had conduct issues, accordin’ Mrs. Hall.That reputation followed me all through my academic years…

#2) I stumbled thru the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Grades. Mrs. Howell, 5th Grade Geography, Barrett School. This Lady had my attention from the  very first time I walked into her Class Room. Globes & Maps were every where. Charts & Graphs! Pictures of seasonal progressions! She had me right then! This lady TAUGHT me. “Where we were in the world was a given!”  We learned standin’ out by the double water fountains on the Play Ground “At 12 O’clock Noon Our/My Shadow Points North”! We learned to find our directions. North, East, South, & West! Standin’ out on Division Avenue we learned “Moss Grows on The North Side of The Trees”! Do YOU know why? I’ll give a hint…it had to do with The Sun. I did well that year in Art, Geography, & Music. Maybe it was because of the constant movement & changin’ of focus to keep up. Those three (3) classes were never borin’ to me. I ended up Failin’ the 5th Grade. All of my Core Classes weren’t too good to me…
#3) I had to change Schools because my Mother re-married & we moved. Good Ole “Curry Tech”. There too I stumbled thru the 5th grade (for my 2nd go around) then the 6th. Ahhh…The 7th Grade, Mrs. Davies for Home Room & most of my Core Subjects, Curry School. She was Short, Mean, Grumpy & Old! Needless to say we knocked heads from the get go.  Hey, there was once a Green Snake crawlin’ up out of a sack, inside of her Closet, as she opened it to hang up her Coat. Well let’s just say “I got sent to the Principal’s Office & got the Paddlin’ for that one”! But damn it was funny! A long story short I failed the 7th grade that year & DAMN if I didn’t have her again the followin’ year. Needless to say we didn’t like each other any better & I FAILED her/the 7th Grade a second time. Now keep up…I was about to repeat the 7th Grade again, for a THIRD (3rd) time attempt at it!…

…”the time was well spent”…

Today was a good day. I went with my Bride as she started “The Process” for Medicare! She’s not too far from That Magical #65! We went to the Trussville Social Security Administration Office. We were early for her appointment. We both we thinkin’ (sarcastically) this is goin’ to be an experience! They took us in early. The lady that assisted us was very nice, pleasant, knowledgeable & friendly to deal with. Imagine that! Were we pleased/impressed? YES!
After we completed that mission we split up & went our separate ways for other missions. I was headed to a luncheon I attend on the third (3rd) Tuesday of the month with a bunch of former folks I used to work with who are all retired now. There were former Grease Monkeys, Management Folks, Parts Guys & a couple of Salesmen from various divisions from the company I work for. There were roughly 18 to 20 folks there. As usual there were many interesting conversations to say the least.
On the way to my luncheon I had some time to kill so I stopped into a local (large) Buildin’ Supply Store. While speakin’ with an employee about a product I heard someone behind me say “Billy”? I turned around & it was an Ole Friend I had gone to High School (BHS) with. I recognize him right off. “Hey Roger”! We had had several classes together, we both Ran Track (he also played Football but I didn’t), were both Sprinters, & after High School we both went into The USAF just weeks apart. Between the two different times we ran into each other we had two very good/enjoyable conversations catchin’ up with each other. I was a little late gettin’ to my luncheon but the time was well spent & I enjoyed catchin’ up with an Ole Friend…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


This past Saturday evenin’ My Bride, a Dear Friend (female), & I decided to go to dinner at one of the Restaurants on the Water, here on the Lake. I can’t actually remember if we were finished eatin’ or not. The trauma still has me rather uneasy. {{{{{ I WAS ALMOST BLINDED ! }}}}}.
If this event had happened earlier in my life, oh say 50 years ago, I might have considered myself LUCKY to have been so near yet so far away. I may had even reacted totally different. I mean not so defensively but have “Attacked that Thang Vigorously”!
It had been such a wonderful day up until this POINT! My Bride & I had really enjoyed a casual day together. We had seen many Beautiful Old Cars in a Car Show at The City Park, here in The Big Pell. We had experienced the frustrations of Shoppers @ Wally World with the “Self Checkout Lines” overflowin’ Five (5) & Six (6) deep out into the main aisle, at both ends of Checkout Row due only havin’ Four (4) Regular Checkout Lines open thus forcin’ customers toward the “Self Checkout Lines! But NOT ME! I refuse to work @ Wally World for free! I’ll use “The Snail Checkout”!
This mornin’ my Left eye is still seein’ things a little blurry, but slowly gettin’ better. If I thought Drinkin’ would help my vision I would’ve started early this mornin’ but I know it wouldn’t have. I’ll just stick to sippin’  My-Joe! On Mug #2 at this time.
We decided to drive to the Restaurant this evenin’. We had invited a Dear Friend to join us earlier in the day so we swung by & picked her up along the way. The scenery & conversations were relaxin’ & entertainin’. We arrive at the Restaurant about 5:30 pm. It was crowded to say the least. Boats arrivin’ & leavin’ in mass with folks. Cars circlin’ the parkin’ area huntin’ for a spot to park.
I let My Bride & friend out at the front so they could get us on the waitin’ list & then started my search for a parkin’ spot. As I walked/headed toward the area where I knew My Bride & friend would be I caught a glimpse of some Harley-Davidson Bikes, in my peripheral vision, parked off to my right & eased over to look at ’em. They were impressive I must say.
I caught up with My Bride & friend, got my friend & I a Cold Beer. My Bride passed on one but did seem to drink part of mine. I’m just glad I didn’t see any back wash, if ya know what I mean, in it! Our party was called, we headed in. Damn! The place was full! “Packed in like Sardines”! Had to be careful passin’ by folks. The Waiters & Waitresses were hustlin’ to assist folks to tables & the Bus Boy was workin’ in High Gear. I’m sure you’ve all seen like situations before at popular places.
We finally got seated, ordered our Appetizers, Drinks, Meals & were just conversin’ as folks do waitin’ on our meals. Now for those of you that know me you KNOW that “I’m a People Watcher”! As does My Bride & she’s OK with it. There were some sights in there “to be seen” that’s for sure. Some dressed Sporty, some Causal, & many in Bathin’ Suits. Some ladies with Cover-Ups & Some Without. Yep! Sights to be seen!
Again, I can’t actually remember if we were finished eatin’ or not”. And then “It Happened”! From behind me, comin’ up on my Left side “THERE IT WAS”! Now I’m not in ANY way or manner bein’ rude but facts are facts.
Ya know the dynamics of a planes wing cuttin’ thru the air pushes up a wave of air as it moves forward to help give the plane LIFT & then it divides/cuts through the air forcin’ it both over & under it at the same time, Right? Well it happened in a FLASH! I felt this slight push/burst of air on the left side of my neck, makin’ the hair on my neck stand up, comin’ from behind me. I know you’ve all experienced things that seem like they were in “SLOW MOTION” right? Well there IT was! IT wasn’t an Airplane Wing pushin’ that burst of air either!
As I, in “SLOW MOTION”, quickly whipped my head around to my left, I catch the figure of a lady in a {{{ BLUR }}}!  Ok, keep in mind this restaurant is packed! Aisles are narrow to allow as many tables in a given space as possible. People would have to sorta squeeze thru as not to disturb diners as they were eatin’ in fear of makin’ someone spill their meal or drink on themselves. Especially those in their Bathin’ Suits (without a cover-up on). Oh what a sight THAT might have caused! Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not makin’ light of the lady’s  size. I’ll just call her Bertha. No…”BIG BERTHA”! In relationship to that plane & it’s wing “She was a Jumbo 747” & that Thang was movin’ some air as it approached me from the rear. She bumped & knocked her way up that aisle as though she owned it. I could hear her comin’ but hadn’t yet laid eyes on IT!
As my neck was strainin’ at the speed of light, as to which I was whoopin’ it around, I was under a terrible physical strain & all of a sudden there IT was! I had to truly strain to bring my head to “a Screeching Halt & Reverse Direction” IMMEDIATELY (if not sooner)! DAMN that hurt! Then, as I said above, there IT was! Ole Big Bertha’s RIGHT BREAST, with her Mammary Gland in full Erection (from my view), & movin’ at the speed of light! Yet In SLOW MOTION! I could see/make out the Lace Patterns on her “Maidenform Cross Your Living Heart Bra (Size 54D-Cup Size DDDD)” thru her Tee Shirt! That’s how close that THANG was to my Left eye! The only thing that separated ME from IT was that thin vale of air, my eye lashes, & eyebrow. And even with those protectin’ me I think I suffered some damage! Yep…WIND BURN, if you will, to my left eye. “SO CLOSE YET SO FAR AWAY”! As I finally got my complete head out of the Danger Zone I could see the look of {{{ FEAR ! }}} & Concern for me on My Brides & our Friends faces turn to complete laughter! Yeah…Ha Damn HA!  After that the rest of the evenin’ was mostly a blurr…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”Out On The Deck”…

Written July 14, 2019

My Bride & I, just sittin’ out on the Deck
Her with her i-Pad & me with my Laptop

Just sittin’ & enjoyin’
A wonderful Summer Shower
The wind is pickin’ up
You can hear it in the distance
Lightenin’ & Thunder
Gettin’ closer by the minute
What had been so green
A few days ago has now faded
To an ugly Greenish-Brown
I can almost hear the grass growin’

As it soaks up its much needed water
The birds are still chirpin’
Just not as loud as before
The Humminin’ Birds scurried to the feeder
To drink their fair share
Before headin’ for cover
Which I felt was rare
The temperature has dropped several degrees
The wind has eased up makin’ it comfortable
The rain has gotten a little heavier
Don’t cha just love a good Summer Afternoon Shower!
We’re just sittin’ here enjoyin’ it all
As the rain, thunder, & lightnin’
Moves on through like a wall
Out on The Deck just enjoyin’ it all
Thank you Lord!…”Hold’em Hook”…..BG>

…”Ole Charlie…Who knew?”…

This is for & about friends of mine…

A dear friend of mine’s Father passed away few months ago, March 2019.
Ben Charles Hendrix: Born 4-19-1931 Departed this world 3-24-2019.  Now Charles, or Charlie as he was refereed to by many, was from Flat Top, AL.  Charles met & married Juanita Smith (lovingly refereed to as “Ebbe”) who was “The Queen of Praco Hill, AL” on April 18, 1953.  Both communities, aren’t too far from ole Punkin Center, AL, you know out in an area referred to as West Jefferson.They were happily married for 66 years.
Mr. Hendrix/Ole Charlie was a beloved Husband to Ebbe, Father of Four (1 girl & 3 boys) , Grandfather of four (4), & Great Grandfather of two (2).. He was like a Grandfather, image, to several other kids he & Ebbe allowed into their home as well. He was retired from Hayes Aircraft Corporation in “The Ham” where he was a Hydraulics Mechanic. Now days they would call ’em Tech…”Naw”…Mechanic fit Ole Charlie much better.
Now Ole Charlie was about as plain of an individual, to the naked eye, as you would ever see. I never heard of him gettin’ excited over much & when he did it wasn’t long lastin’. And trust me it wasn’t cause ’em four (4) kids didn’t provide him with the opportunities to. Ole Charlie just seemed to let it slide off of him. Now I learned sompin’ about Ole Charlie after his passin’ I’d never known about him before. I’d known Ole Charlie & his family since my several years from “Curry Tech” Elementary School. Especially the last two (2) of the nine (9) I did attend. I just skipped the last one all together. That’s a longer story for another time. It made me think about him in a totally different light.
Now I had never really stopped to think about his age, 88 years of age at his passin’. He was just another “Dad”. But I learned he was a Veteran of The US Military. Specifically The US Army. He was a Veteran of the Korean War. Known to some as a “Policing Action” because of our Lame Ass Politicians of The Period! Now Ole Charlie wasn’t just a Veteran but he was “A Decorated Veteran”! He had been decorated multiple times for valor. Wounded a couple of times & awarded two (2) Purple Hearts.
After Ole Charlie’s passin’ the family members had to sift thru his personal affects. As many of us have had to do. That is when they were privy to some History of their Dad they never knew. This is when many of them found out about his Military Career. He, like many, who have/had experienced War never spoke much about it. My Step-Father was the same way. Those folks mostly wanted to just put it behind ’em & move on to a normal life. What ever Normal is/was.That is when many of his family found out “their Father was a Decorated Soldier”! Hell… in some of his files they found out he went missing! There is a telegram to his Parents announcin’ he was missin’. No not Missin’ In Action (MIA)!  But from the Hospital. HELL!…he was missin’ from the Damn Hospital! I wonder what “Acronym” would be used for THAT? I don’t know the severity of his wounds either but he decided he needed to be back with his Friends/Buddies. It’s a Military thing. He decided to leave & made his way back to his Company/Unit & back into action. Now ask yourself “Would I have done THAT? In my opinion that takes “One Hell Of A Man”! That’s what our society is lacking these days.
Now, Ole Charlie liked a Good Ole Cold Beer! But he only bought one kind to my knowledge. “Pabst Blue Ribbon”!… Yep Ole “PBR”!  Now after his passin’ I learned the reason why he bought Ole PBR. It wasn’t because of Taste or Price! Hell…I guess you can get accustom to anything after a while. But Ole Charlie bought & drank Ole PBR to keep his sons & their friends from stealin’ his stash of beer in the Basement Fridge & leavin’ him High & Dry with a Parched Throat & nothin’ to quench it with. Yep…they quit stealin’ it right away. Kids are picky ya know. After he changed to The Big Blue Ribbon Ole Charlie always seemed to have a Stash of Cold Beer ( “PBR”) when he wanted one (1), two (2), three (3), etc .
Ole Charlie, in his spare time was a Painter. He painted houses or what ever needed it. He was Ole School though. SLOW! But thorough. We, my Bride & I, were in need of a Painter to paint our house. I spoke to one of Ole Charlie’s boys about linin’ him up for us. Ole Charlie named his price, with me supplyin’ the paint & a Case of PBR! I was also FORE WARNED to hold the PBR until the End Of The Day or The Day Would End Early! Nuff said about that…
The day came that Ole Charlie was suppose to arrive & get started. Well gettin’ started He Did!…My Bride & I were awaken by this loud {{{{{ Bangin’ & Clankin’ }}}}} racket! What the Hell! We were still in Bed! Hell Ole Charlie was slingin’ a ladder up against the house & it fell over! I guess he didn’t believe in Door Bells. But I must admit after about two & a half (2 1/2) days he completed the job accepted his payment & Case of Ole PBR.

The day of Ole Charlie’s Grave Side Service I was there among the others in attendance. I spoke with ole friends there about Him as well as his Bride, Children & other family members. It’s what we do I guess. It’s how we relive our relationships about our families & friends in those times of grief & loss. I made it thru the stories, the huggin’ of family/friends, all the “Fairy Lies” as well as truths bein’ told, & the Pastor’s portion of The Service. But when Those Two (2) Solders showed up, “in Full Dress with a Bugle”, to perform the Military portion of the service. I got choked up (I always do). I had a hard time swollin’. Had to work hard to hold back the tears but some leaked out anyway. I guess my Military Pride (USAF ’71 – ’75) gets the best of me “& I’m not ashamed to show it”. To anyone that has ever served in the Military, I don’t care what Branch, when TAPS starts playin’, The Flag starts gettin’ Folded, & Presented to The Family YOU Stand TALL! TAPS IS FINAL! God Bless You Ben Charles Hendrix…{{{{{ SALUTE ! }}}}}. Ole Charlie…Who knew?…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

… “BECAUSE Of Y’all I Made It”…Part#5

Part #5 of 5
#7) Mr. Bill Jenkins, Boys Counselor,12th grade/Senior Year 1971, Banks High School. High School Football Season & Weekend Parties were gettin’ started. Fun times were bein’ had by all. Occasionally I would pay attention to the Evenin’ News about “The War”. I knew families that had lost Sons there & had some close friends that had been injured there. I knew several that came home uninjured physically but changed! They had faced some serious life changin’ events. Christmas came & went. New Years Eve & Day were here. The Parties were over. It was time to get serious. “The War” wasn’t lookin’ like it was goin’ to end soon. I received a call lettin’ me know my Draft Papers would be sent out to me in two (2) weeks. I don’t remember exactly how it all came about but all of a sudden there were four (4) of us in the Class of 71 goin’ to talk to Recruiters from all of the Military Branches. As we started speakin’ to The USAF Recruiter he was talkin’ to my friends but not me. They were all in line to Graduate in May. I wasn’t. It was goin’ to be very questionable if I was even goin’ to be able to go to Summer School to Graduate. The next day I didn’t skip school. I went directly to my Boys Advisor for guidance. He had NONE! He showed NO interest at all. I then went to the Boys Counselor, Mr. Bill Jenkins. I ask for his help/assistance. He told me to close the door & sit down. He pulled my records & we talked for several hours. He asked why I wanted to Enlist vs get Drafted. I told him I had no issue with Servin’ My Country but I would like some sort of say in what I was about to do. He told me he’d look into options for me & get back to me. I thanked him & left. A few days passed & I was called over the Intercom to come to Mr. Jenkins Office. Lucky for me I hadn’t skipped out of school yet that day. I waited outside Mr. Jenkins  door in the hall. My mind was cluttered. The door opened. “Come in Billy. close the door, & sit down” he said. He was on the phone, discussin’ me I could tell. He hung up, looked at me & said “here’s The Deal”! He had worked out for me an opportunity to take the GED Test. Long story short… go to a local Jr College, report to a certain person, they will test you, come back here, & NO BODY can know about this but your family. We agreed. I went, tested, came directly back as instructed. Mr. Jenkins told me I had passed. He gave me a phone number for the USAF Recruiter  to call to verify my eligibility. Just a few days later the four (4) of us friends had passed our Physicals & were Sworn into the Delayed Enlistment Program of The USAF & I beat The Draft.  The other three (3) guys graduated the end of May & on June 23, 1971 we were discharged from the USAF Reserve & Sworn into Active Duty & left for lovely (NOT) Lackland AFB in San Antonio TX. The rest is history.
To Mrs. Hall & Mrs. Davies…Maybe you did your best…Maybe you didn’t! Just let me say “In-spite of you I got through it”!
To Mrs. Howell, Mr. Hanes, Mrs. Campbell, Coach Currier, & Mr. Jenkins THANK YOU ALL for your faith in me & all your help along the way! Just let me say “BECAUSE Of Y’all I Made It”!…Sincerely…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”BECAUSE Of Y’all I Made It”…Part #4

Part #4 of 5
#6) Coach Jim Currier, 9th thru 12th Grades, Banks High School, Assistant Football & Head Track Coach. I wanted to Run Track & needed to get my schedule changed. Well I didn’t have a very good relationship with the Head/Football Coach who will remain nameless. Since I wasn’t goin’ to play Football he had no real interest in assistin’ me. I went to Coach Currier, the Track Coach! I told him I wanted to go out for The Track Team. He agreed & said he’d get my schedule adjusted so my Phys Ed class would be moved to 7th Period. What was referred to as 7th Period Athletics where all Athletes went at 2:00 p.m. & worked out at their Particular Sports. Coach Currier took an interest in me & worked me hard. I was up to it as I really liked runnin’. I’ll say I was Average to Above Average & let that go. I truly worked hard at several events.I knew I wasn’t goin’ to knock off any upper class-men. I had to pay my dues. That’s life. It’s all about competition. Spring Track season came around. There was a State Track Meet comin’ up in a couple of weeks & everyone was workin’ hard. As the days went by one of the Seniors injured himself. I was told I was goin’ to be put on as a substitute to fill the slot. Coach Currier said he expected me to do my best. As things worked out for me I Placed in The State Meet. I learned the next day I had automatically Lettered due to my Placin’. I had earned my place & was there for 4 yrs. I wasn’t a Football Player but I suddenly met a lot more people around school. Funny how that happens. Coach Currier worked me hard for those “four (4) years. I realized too late, for my own good, he was workin’ behind the scenes tryin’ to get me a scholarship. I let him down by not bein’ a better student than I was. I had disqualified myself due to my own ignorance. Coach…I’m sorry for lettin’ you down…
The Draft Lottery for 1971…
July 1, 1970! I remember watchin’ the Lottery Drawin’ on the Nightly News that evenin’ with my Mother & Step-Dad. My Step-Day was a Veteran, A Disabled Veteran. He lost an arm in WWII. We were sittin’ in the livin’ room, in front of the TV. Anticipation was high & the air was thick, almost stale! The first 40 picks came & went…#41…December 16th!, My birthday. I was #41! Shock set in on my parents! What NOW I asked? My Step-Dad lit up a “Lucky Strike” & left the room without a comment. My Mother sat there with tears in her eyes, huggin’ on me. My little sister, 7 1/2 yrs old, was playin’ with somethin’ in the floor & was clueless with what had just taken place. I don’t remember much more bein’ said or discussed about it that night. Life was about to get serious. It really put a damper on Summer activities for a while. But then like all young people we chose to ignore it for the time. The Summer came to an end. High School was about start for the Fall of 1970 & The Vietnam War was still ragin’….

…”BECAUSE Of Y’all I Made It”…Part#3

Part #3 of 5
#4) Mr. Herbert (Herbie) Hanes, Principal, Curry School. Now “Ole Herbie” & I were almost on a 1st Name Basis. He & his Paddle knew my Butt well! “Ole Herbie”, bless his heart, for some reason either took pity on me or saw somethin’ in me that all of the others before him had missed. I don’t know…I think it was already into May & “Ole Herbie” called my Mother & said “I needed to talk to YOU about HIS future SOON”, or somethin’ like that. She met with him on an appointed day. I was called to The Office & told to sit out in the Hall waitin’… for WHAT I didn’t know? The Office Secretary finally stuck her head out of the Office & said “you’re wanted in Principal Hanes Office! Yes Ma’am…I rose to my feet, head hung, & headed into “Ole Herbie’s” office. Sit down Billy! My Mother looked at me & said “Now YOU had better be listenin’ & payin’ attention”! “Yes Ma’am” I said! “Ole Herbie” took over & it was short & simple. He said somethin’ on the order of “Look at me Boy & Listen! You have the opportunity of a life time”. “Ole Herbie” went on to explain “Boy, you have failed the 7th grade for a 2nd time””! He continued… You have an opportunity to go to Summer School. It is a Pilot Program (I didn’t know what that meant) called “High School Ahead”. You go to Summer School work at your own pace & do all of the work you can. If you successfully complete the program with suitable grades you’ll Skip The 8th Grade & go on to High School, the 9th Grade. Should you Fail Summer School & let US down, your Mother & I, you’ll come back here! I looked at my Mother & Mr. Hanes said ‘Look at ME Boy! This is YOUR decision”…he paused very briefly & said “I’m waitin’ on a decision!”…I answered “Yes Sir”! Ole Herbie” continued to explain “if you do well there you’ll stay & go on as normal. If you DON’T do well you’ll be sent back HERE to do the 7th Grade for a 3rd time. DO YOU UNDERSTAND”? Again I answered “Yes Sir”. Ole Herbie then told me to go back to my class & don’t discuss this with anyone. I looked at my Mother bewildered. She hugged me & I left…
#5) Mrs. Sue Campbell, 9th Grade/Banks High School, Girls Assistant Physical Education Instructor. Summer ended. I had passed “High School Ahead” and it was the 1st day of High School/The 9th Grade. I got my scheduled worked out for all of my classes. I had a Phys. Ed class set for right after lunch then a Study Hall Class right after that, & one (1) other class I don’t remember. Then School Was out for the day. I was workin’ out after School for The Track Team. I tried to get my changed on my own but no luck. I was in Study Hall one day. Mrs. Campbell was there & I asked her for help. She suggested I get switched to her Study Hall for 6th Period then Phys Ed/Athletics changed to 7th Period. She told me to go see Coach Currier & get him to sign off on it & he did. Now, Mrs. Campbell was a very nice lady & seemed to have a carin’ ear & a tender heart. We talked about my Academics Background. We both laughed & build a bond together. She kept me straight my 9th Grade/Freshman yr. She always had a calmin’ voice & seemed to be interested in what I had to say. She was a great influence on me. A truly carin’ lady. I ended up havin’ her for a Study Hall for three yrs (9th, 10,& 11th grades).