I saw somethin’ this mornin’ on Teachers.   Now, that bein’ said I do realize there are GOOD Teachers & BAD Teachers. Along with many in between the extremes. What I mean by Good & Bad are strictly my personal opinions, based on my, personal, Poor/Sub Performance. I know in most instances I was more of a challenge than most of my Teachers wanted to waste their time on. What I mean by that is they concentrated their time on those that were easy to teach & wanted to excel. As for me, well all those that knew/know me realize I was there for the Social Activities. On a scale of 1 to 2 Academics were rated at a 1! Nuff said on that. Due to my circumstances, beyond my control, I really didn’t have the Academic Supervision an attention challenged child needed. There were Teachers that really left impressions on me. Some good & some nightmares are made of.  The one Teacher that left the largest impression on me was Mrs. Howell, at Barrett Elementary School in “The Ham”. She was The Geography Teacher there. And was she ever interesting. That lady always had my attention when I was in her presence. My only regret was I only went thru the fifth (5th) grade there. My Mother, who was widowed at a young age, remarried & we moved to another school district. I was fortunate/unfortunate enough, dependin’ on how you look at it, to do the fifth (5th) grade all over again @ Curry School, which I refer to as Curry Tech. At Curry Tech, it wasn’t as bad of a  challenge for me as many children have in situations like that. I knew many of the kids there from growin’ up playin’ Youth Baseball & Football with many of them. I also knew many from Cascade Plunge. Cascade was a {{{{{ LARGE ! }}}}} family owned & operated Swimming Pool. So the adjustment was simple. For me it just allowed me to keep old friends while givin’ me the opportunity to meet many new friends. And now at the age of Sixty Six (66) years old I am still in contact with many many of them. In that respect I am blessed with life long friends. Not just acquaintances! Childhood memories? YOU BET! While at Curry Tech I was fortunate/unfortunate enough to repeat the Seventh (7th) grade as well. I was Special! I got to have the same Teacher, Mrs. Davies, again the followin’ year. I was one of those students that would challenge any Teacher. And in her class the second go around things didn’t get any better. I was puttin’ myself in a position to repeat the Seventh (7th) grade for a third (3rd) time. Yeah a career seventh (7th) grader!
Well, a long story short, I was given an opportunity to go to a Pilot Summer School Program, “High School Ahead” in the summer of 1967. Simply put…Work hard! Pass & go to High School skippin’ the Eight (8th) Grade. Fail & go back & do the Seventh (7th) Grade for a third time! Now, it was all on ME! Lucky for me I passed. Now one month off, the rest of the summer, & on to High School…
“High School Ahead” brought me to a position to where I was only one (1) year behind where I should have been. Had I failed that program I would be headed to being three (3) years behind where I should have been. And odds were at that point in my life becomin’ a Drop-Out. I have to thank my Principal  at the time, Mr Herbert (Herbie) Hanes. Apparently he saw somethin’ in me others didn’t. Thank you Mr Hanes!
My High School career, @ Banks High School, started off pretty good. I had been warned that if I didn’t do well in High School I would also revert back to the seventh (7) grade. I wasn’t an “A Student” by any means. I was proud to be “C Student”! I had never been one before. I considered it high on my personal scale. My Freshman year, the Ninth (9th) grade, came & went without any major/academic interruptions.
Summer quickly passed & School was startin’ back. My Sophomore year (10th grade) brought New Challenges. I reverted back to my Elementary School Days. I wasn’t studyin’ & was skippin’ classes. A Lot of Classes! And my grades reflected it. I was spendin’ a lot of time in School! Just not the one I was supposed to be in. I’d show up for Session Room/Roll Call & shortly after I’d leave with friends from my school or in many cases friends from other schools would come & pick me up. From there there was no tellin’ where we’d end up. In some cases I might find myself sittin’ in a classs room, a Pep Rally, or just socializin’ in the hall of two (2) or more OTHER High Schools than the one I was actually enrolled in. Hell, I even got sent to The Boy’s Advisor Office & Got  Three (3) Licks, with a paddle across my skinny ass (at that time). Imagine that!
At Banks there was two (2) Teacher that really affected me. One was an Assistant Coach, Coach (Jim) Currier. He was the Track Coach. He seemed to recognize a talent & interest I had to RUN! I did love it…Thank you Coach Currier for your time, patients, & guidance. The other Teacher was Miss Sue Campbell, the Girls Assistant Coach. I had Miss Campbell for three (3) years as a Study-Hall Teacher. She was extremely kind & easy to talk to. We spent a lot of time talkin’ one on one & always seem to give me good advice. My Junior/Jr. year she was one of the Advisors assistin’ the Jr. Class Decorating Committee for the Jr. Senior/Sr. Prom. I was in The Art Club & we were part of that Committee as well. The sight was The Cloud Room @ Cascade Plunge. The decoration work took longer than planned. As everyone was leavin, in their cars or riddin’ with others, I left walkin. Miss Campbell stopped me & asked how I was gettin’ home? I said walkin”. She asked where I lived, I told her about 5 miles away. She offered me a ride but I refused. She asked if I had a way back for the Prom later that night & a date. I told her I wasn’t comin’ back. “Why not”? she asked. Long story short I told her I didn’t have a Tux. Couldn’t afford one. I need to get on please, & turned to leave again. She asked if I would allow her to take me to get one. She said “You’ve worked too hard all day not to attend”. I thanked her again & turned to get on my way & said I’d see her Monday back at School. As I turned I picked up my pace headin’ for home…”Hold.em Hook”!…..BG>




Yesterday was one of those days that just took me back. After gettin’ up a little later than usual, about 5:54 a.m., I headed to the Kitchen to get the “Joe Pot” to bubblin’ & gerglin’ in order to get that “Magical Elixir” ready to be consumed, by ME! As I got caught up on the issues of the day, both on-line & my favorite (Conservative) TV News Network, I polished off two (2) Mug’s-O-Joe. Then it was off to The Gym to try & keep this ole boyish figure as best I can. Comments NOT NEEDED! That hour was painful, buy I struggled thru it. Then on to various errands around town before headin’ home. As I walked in the door I immediately stumbled to the Joe-Pot to strain the remainin’ elixir into my mug, ran it thru the Micro-wave to the proper temp for my delicate palate. Ahh-h-h-h!! Checkin items off of my To-Do List.
I then moved on others around the house. As I started the second load of cloths in the washin’ machine, whites, I was addin’ some “Chlorine Bleach” in the mixin’ chamber & that distinctive smell caught my mind off guard. It took my wanderin’ mind back about 47 years ago (1971). The month of May & Early June before I left for Basic Trainin’, in The USAF. That sudden scent took me back to my last carefree days at my “Ole Summertime Hangout”.
I was workin’ my last few weeks doin’ what I enjoyed most. Workin’ as a Life Guard at Cascade Plunge, in Birmingham, AL, It was once a venue that acted as a magnet. It drew people from all around the City there. By foot, by bicycle, by motorcycle, by car, & by Bus. Yes, it actually had a “Bus Stop” right in front of it! It’s roots go as far back as the mid to late 1920’s. Durin’ my “Hay Days”, from the mid/late 50’s thru 1971, it was Owned & Operated by “The Dickson Family”. And they did a fabulous job thru the years.
If you were lucky enough to spend any of your Lazy Summer Days there then you know what I’m talkin’ about. If you never did then you’ll never know what was so memorable to so many. The words “The TOWER” sent chills thru the minds of many. It was actually just a five (5) Meter high platform. Though there are those that will swear it was twenty five (25) to fifty (50) feet high. Mostly when they were lookin’ down for the first time! Yet many of us conquered those fears at very young ages. I was of the latter at age three (3) with my lovin’ Mother coaxing me on, down in the water patiently waitin’ on me. There were many that NEVER conquered it. Many felt the shame of fear, others didn’t really give a damn! They just weren’t doin’ it!
Suddenly the phone rang, snapped me back to reality. I slammed the lid on the washin’ machine as I scurried to grab the phone – DAMN WRONG NUMBER! Wouldn’t you know it. Oh well, it was time to fix me some lunch anyway. But it wouldn’t beat the Hot Dogs & Fries that came from “The Snack Bar” at Cascade!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


…”This Great Nation”…

20160422_105144-1_resizedWith tomorrow bein’ The 4th Of JULY, here is a little History…

Their Blood flowed thru the fields, the streets, & the waterways. Yet they fought on, with their weapons of the day!

They came from the Towns & Cities, the Fields, Hills & Mountains. They came from across the Seas to fight by our side against a Tyrant! PATRIOTS…Yes, PATRIOTS! Each & everyone of them. Remember that! They knew it was wrong to be forced to support a King in a foreign land. And from this up risin, “This Revolutionary War”, rose a New Nation! In it’s beginnin’ only Thirteen (13) Colonies.

Now we are a Nation of Fifty (50) States! Each recognized by a STAR! “A white star on a blue canton with a field of 13 alternating stripes, 7 red and 6 white”, one for each of the Original Thirteen (13) Colonies. How proud & determined those Patriots were who gave lives for those they loved & what they knew was wrong. The Kings men fell & the remainin’ fled. In the end rose the United States Of America!

“The Preamble to The Constitution” says it all, “We The People…”. I remember as a child, in Elementary School, it was one of the First things we were required to learn about our History. We had to memorize it, & stand in unison as we orated what Our Forefathers had given to us. It was a Hand Written Document they gathered together to create. The Document that our Nation was to be, & to THIS DAY still is, governed by. IT IS NOT A LIVIN’ DOCUMENT” as some like to think! “The Preamble” was followed by The Seven (7) Articles Of The Constitution”. When it was completed each of “The Writers” signed it. Each of them knew if they were captured by The Kings Men it meant DEATH! Do you remember “John Hancock”? Do you remember WHY he signed it in such LARGE penmnship ?

If you live in This Country & have never read “The Constitution Of The United States Of America” YOU SHOULD! You should go & start readin’ it TODAY! Every American Citized should have an understanding of how & why we are governed. Thru the decades it has been Amended. There are, currently, Twenty Seven (27) Amendments to it. These too should be of interest to you!

So as You/We Celebrate our Nations 242nd Birthday, The 4th Of July, remember how YOU/WE were GIVEN (unless you have worn The Uniform) The Rights each & every CITIZEN of This Great Nation have. “God Bless The USA”!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


…”Don’t Change Your Opinions”…

Once again, it is Sunday Mornin’ & a Beautiful one at that. I’m sittin’ here on “The Front Row” pew as is my custom…{{{{{ SQUIRREL ! }}}}}.
The water is still. The Flags are hangin’ straight down as the lack of a breeze is apparent. My Mug-O-Joe is on it’s 2nd fill, yet it’s just as good as the 1st. It’s times like this that help me keep “Grounded”. I realize, once again, that I am only One (1) in the Billions (1,000,000,000’s) of humans on the face of this Planet we recognize as EARTH. I know I can’t speak for others & TRY not to, most of the time. But at times like this I do realize that “all is right in My Life & My Little Place/Space in this World. There is so much discord among the people. Everyone has “an Opinion” about their little place in time & space around them. While OTHERS are so quick to tell them “they are wrong” because THAT IS NOT what they believe…{{{{{ SQUIRREL ! }}}}}.
Perception is a strange thing. It divides too many! We all interpret what we see, hear, & yes even read differently. That’s “Our Preception” based on what WE interrupt the Facts to be. So YOUR Right, because YOU think so, based on YOUR interruption! Am I wrong for not agreein’ with YOU? Or are YOU wrong for not agreein’ with ME! Hum-m-m…Some WILL be offended by that I’m sure…{{{{{ SQUIRREL ! }}}}}.
It’s as though we are not accepted into Groups/Partys, on the Left or Right, if we don’t fall completely 100%, into one or the other’s Group/Party. Is that because they/you are Smarted than I (maybe)? Are you better Educated than I (probably)? Do you have any Common Since about you? Ahh-hahaha! Have you ever heard someone say, to You, “You don’t have enough since to get in out of a shower of rain”! Well do you? Interrestin’ thought about some I know…{{{{{ SQUIRREL ! }}}}}.
I think the Sermon has come to an end. It seems as though the congregation is leavin’. Oh, remember, “Don’t Change Your Opinions based on  Someone else’s opinion”. Y’all have a blessed day…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”she told him to get in a line”…

Today I had to run to my local Grocery Store. I needed to pick-up a few things. I got in & got my items, in just a short time, as I always do. Then, I headed for the Check-Out Line. You know the one for “10 items or less”. As I was about to enter the line I noticed an Elderly Gentleman standin’ in the main aisle, leanin’ on a Shoppin’ Cart as though he were holdin’ it down (yeah we’ve all been there), or maybe waitin’ on his Bride to bring back that one last item. He was wearin’ a Baseball Style Cap. It read “US ARMY Retired, WWII Veteran”. I have to apologize for not rememberin’ the Unit he was a part of. But I had to stop, Shake His Hand, Look Him In The Eyes & Thank Him For His Service! I wish more people would…As we exchanged names & niceties I noticed how he started to stand a little more Erect, Got A Twinkle In His Eyes, & Was Lookin’ Proud! He was no longer holdin’ that cart down! I told him “I too was a Vet, of the Vietnam Era, USAF 1971 to 1975”. He told me he had landed on Normandy about Two (2) weeks after the main invasion, in July 1944. He was involved in gettin’ supplies on shore & up to those on the front lines, Fighting/Gettin’ Wounded/Dyin’ while pushin’ froward. He ask “where’ed you served”? I said Ramstein AFB, Germany for 3 yrs & 8 mos of my four (4) yrs in The USAF. His Bride appeared out of nowhere & told him to “get in a Line so she could get them on home”. Once again, we shook hands, gave each other a Glance of Respect, & then parted. But I must say “He Was Standin’ Tall”. I too got in my Line, Checked-Out, & went on my merry way. I must say “That Ole Gentleman/Soldier” really made my day…..BG>

…”my Light went out”…

My Light went out

It was in my 20th month that the Light went out.
The sounds that echoed triggered fright.
My Mothers screams, that followed, let all know
somethin’ wasn’t right.
Into the abode never again did she go

In retrospect, as I grew, I noticed the Light that
other kids knew. Though not understandin’ why,
I lived my life always in the shadow of others Lights.
Little did they realize that their Lights steered the way for me
upon the path that was right.

Through my early years I continued to seek and did
still want to know “where did my Light go”?
The responses to my inquires were short, like me.
The abbreviated reasons never helped my need.
Others couldn’t illuminate what I wanted to see.
My Light! Just for me.

The truth was too shockin’ and was not to be
for someone so young as one like me.
“You’re too young” I was told when I asked.
For what had passed you can’t understand
But the truth will find you as you grow into a man.

The seasons of my life came and went.
The years were mostly filled with fun, that I spent.
Only durin’ the sad times would I lament.
Then again would my search reignite.
Mostly at times in my bed at night.
Through my tears I couldn’t find the Light.

Too often, after my prayers, I caught myself straining
to force myself to see the Light.
I eventually would drift off to sleep.
Never experiencing that feelin’ of delight,
that I tried to see so many nights.

In my 10 plus 1/2 years of age, into my life, another light made it’s way.
It tried to shine oh so bright. But never did it thrive just right.
Cause it never seemed to match that that I expected from my Light.

As the years seem to pass me by I continued to wonder why?
My Light, my Light would I find? Many have told me yes but only in time.
Oh so often have I inquired “what was my plight”?
Why oh why can’t I find my Light.
Only later in life will it be mine. The time I have yet to find.

I’ve been told I will journey down a long bright tunnel.
At it’s end I will join those who have traveled before.
They will all shine as Lights as well. But the Light I have sought for so
long will greet me there and I will know that together we belong.

At the time my Light went out, on August 23 in 1953, I did not know.
But when at that time I find my Light there we will stand together again.

“Hold’em Hook”!…Billy Gray


…”most of you are already thinkin’ “…

22218_989848007712282_8481197791787430355_nSittin’ out on The Deck this mornin’, with a fresh (#2) Mug-O-Joe, I feel myself driftin’ off into that “Wanderin’ Mind” mode. Some how I got hung-up on two small words, “What If”! Have you ever thought that?…

What If….all the birds sang the same song; the trees were all the same kind/color; siblin’s didn’t argue/fight (right!); the world really was flat (where would the water go); what separates Up from Down (other than that fine line in the middle); wild animals weren’t wild; people didn’t kill people (it’s not guns); Politicians actually did what they said they would do (Hum-m-m there’s no money in that); Men & Women thought alike (Naw-w-w left brain/right brain); you could change a decision you made early in your life (I wouldn’t be where I am now); we couldn’t/wouldn’t think for ourselves (politicians are workin’ on that); people were more understandin’ (then what would we argue about?); Dr’s were actually on time for the appointment they set for you (right!); does the light stay on in the Frig when the door is closed (don’t climb in one to prove a point); why does our Government borrow money to give/lend it to other countries (that NEVER pay it back); why do Politicians Steal from Social Security (cause they know No-One will hold them accountable); do you trust a Dr, that smokes, with your medical decisions (hum-m-m); you had to buy manners & respect (how much would they cost you); people didn’t lie about their weight & age (ahh-ha-ha-ha); honesty really earned others respect (what would skeptic’s complain about); Democrats & Republicans actually agreed with/trusted/believed one another (right!); we raised our children like our parents raised us (would the world be a better place); we really trusted people more (it has to be earned). I guess I could go on & on but my Mug-O-Joe is no more. But I’ll bet most of you are already thinkin’ “What If”…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>