…”those ole wrinkled faces”…

Heads with White/Gray/Silver Hair. Heads just tryin’ to hang on to Hair. Heads with NO Hair @ all. They weren’t always like that. The bodies aren’t as slim, trim, toned, nor as muscular as they once were. Most of us don’t like to admit to it. Time/Life has taken its toll on us. But we are still more fortunate than some of our “Ole Runnin’ Buddies” that are no long among us. To those I say “it was fun while it lasted”…Salute!

Many of the faces are heavily covered with facial hair. Some of us still have a hard time growin’ it. Voices are a bit different. Some broken, some more gravelly than before, many are more mellowed than before, several are still soft spoken, & others of us are still just as loud as always.

Lookin’ around me at lunch today was a sight. But a good sight! There are several “Old Men”, Fifteen (15) to be exact & One (1) Teenager/Grandson, that joined together, as circumstances allowed, to renew friendships. Most are retired but there are still some that are workin’.  We all looked around to see who was there. Greetin’s, hand shakes, cussin’, & yes even some “Manly Hugs” were shared. At the same time we are all lookin’ around & noticin’ “who’s not here” since our last get together. It’s as though we are inquirin’ to the others if who ever is not there is OK. It’s kinda funny, yet also serious. And as always if they’re not there they ARE talked about, good or bad, & laughed about.

We take/make time, out of our busy lives, to break bread, slurp some hot soup, sop biscuits in gravy, or graze their way around a bowl of salad (Yuck!). Cause their Wife’s or Doctor told’em they needed to & then take all the smart-ass comments about it. All in jest!

We come from various backgrounds. Many of us were from the same neighbor hood. Many of us played “Little League” ball together @ Wahouma Park. Many of us went to grammar school together. Many of us spent endless summer days at the same Swimming Pool (Cascade Plunge).

We were a blendin’ of different High Schools. But the comradery was always, and still is, there. Many were Academicians, many were Jocks, others just were what ever they wanted to be!

Many went on to College, several went into The Military, others went on to find Careers, & some started families. The years passed by, as they still do. Over the years (for various reasons) many of us kept up with others & some didn’t. Our paths went in so many different directions. That’s life!

But destiny has been kind to us. It has, for what ever reason, chosen to reunite many of us back together, once, a month to share little more than an hour to an hour & a half together. But what a fun & interestin’ time it is. Oh-h-h and the colorful conversations that are over heard! Some true, some distorted, & many just made up!

I consider myself lucky, fortunate, & blessed to be a part of this “Fellowship”. I’m sure I could use many more adjectives (there’s a $0.25 word throw-in) to describe how I feel. But then I would be admittin’ that, when I actually was in class way back when, I really was payin’ attention.

It was good to see all of those ole wrinkled faces today & I look forward to seein’em again next month.Until then,..”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


…”{{{{{ HAPPY NEW YEAR ! }}}}} in 2018″…

Tick-tock, Tick-tock, Tick-tock…We’ve almost made it. This very Eve we will, yet again, close out another Year as 2017 is quickly fadin’ & 2018 is rushin’ in on us as The New Year! Oh-h-h the things that have happened in this year that is about to close out! We, the United States of America, have a New President & there is no Debate/Argument of where he was born. Imagine THAT! The Stock Market is at all time RECORD HIGHS! My retirement fund is lookin’ {{{ GREAT ! }}}. We have a President that has {{{ ACTUALLY ! }}} done many of things he “Promised” he would do, durin’ the Presidential Campaign. Imagine THAT!  Doin’ what he said he’d do! And he is fightin’ Congress (both damn Parties) to get other Campaign Promises completed.  Obama & Hillary just won’t go away, even after a year! Everyone is investigatin’ everyone. The Skeletons that are locked away in closets in DC are a rattlin’! Many are tryin’ to get out. I must admit, as many of my writin’s & postin’s show, “I am a pessimist toward Politicians”. To me, personally, “Politicians are Career Liars, Thieves, & Crooks”! More on that another day. The National Championship for The NCAA is at a fevered pitch! Tomorrow, New Years Day, round One of Two will be played between the Top Four (4) Teams. Oh-h-h & did I say my favorite team, The Crimson Tide of Alabama – {{{{{ ROLL TIDE ROLL ! }}}}}, is in the mix? But that will take a few games to determine who is #1. “If there’s a Rock & Roll Heaven well you know they’ve got a Hell of A Band” (The Righteous Brothers, 1974), & sadly enough, it has gain several NEW members this past year of 2017. I too have had several Friends & Family members Pass. Losses are always hard & emotional. And the same question is always uttered “Why, Why Them”? That’s just life I guess. Well, there are things to get done this day before it ends so I must get busy. To/For all of you I wish a Healthy & Prosperous {{{{{ HAPPY NEW YEAR ! }}}}} in 2018. Travel & Party Safely as you go. “God Bless America”!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”just an odd feelin’ “…

Yesterday was a very emotional day. I attended the Funeral of my Aunt Jeanette, she was the widow of my Mothers only brother. But it was even more emotional for my Cousins, her daughter & son, & their spouses, who had just lost their Mother/Mother-In-Law. Their Children who had just lost a Grand-Mother. And the many other members of her extended family (siblin’s, nieces, nephews, cousins, & dear friends) who had lost, to them, a loved one. I was PROUD to be asked to be a Pallbearer for her. {{{ WOW ! }}} A lot of emotions & memories passed thru me as I held onto the handle of her coffin. I too felt the loss of a loved one, a dearly beloved Aunt. Someone who always had a smile for me & a kind listenin’ ear. Someone  with a very lovin’ heart towards others. But most of all, for me, Aunt Jeanette was the Last of my connections to my Mothers Generation. Havin’ lost my Father in my earliest of years (1953), my Step-Father in 2002, & my Mother in 2006. She was the last of my Aunts & Uncles on both (all three) sides of my family. I in no way want to take the focus off of all of the others mentioned above. Especially her children/my cousins. So please don’t think less of me. It was/is just an odd feelin’. R.I.P. Aunt Jeanette…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”TRAGIC! Both were TRAGIC”!…

The sun was up, the steam rose from my Mug-O-Joe this mornin’, as I stepped out on the Deck to survey my back yard. There are only a couple of small limbs, some branches, & scattered leaves across the yard. It’s a good thing too. My chain saw died on me about a year & a half ago & I haven’t bought a new one yet. I need to get that done! Maybe, just maybe, “Irma” sensed that – I don’t know? Stranger things have happened!  Where I live, in “The Big Pell” (Pell City, AL) we were fortunate to be spared by “Tropical Storm Irma’s” devastation. We did experience rain (2 to 3 inches maybe), some moderate winds, but nothin’ to complain about. We were on the tail end of “Irma”. I happened to be watchin’ the Late News last night when “Irma” was officially bein’ down graded to a Tropical Depression. As I was listenin’ to that I was readin’ a FB post by a local friend, from across town, askin’ if anyone had lost Power? Just a second or two passed by & our Power Flickered! Just enough to knock out our Satellite TV, all of our electronics {{{ Beeped }}} ,as they do, a couple of times when power is lost then they all reset. The lights flickered but NEVER went out! It was as though “Irma” was wavin’ good-bye to us & movin’ on. We were fortunate not to be in “Irma’s Path of Destruction”. I can’t even imagine what others have been thru & now face as they get on with their life’s. Many will have a very long road in front of them. I guess the cliche’ here is “it could have been worse”! My sincere condolences go out to those that have lost loved ones durin’ this tragic event. I don’t want to, in any means, be thought of as over lookin’ the recent events with “Hurricane Harvey”, all of those affected buy it, & those too that were lost. God Bless EVERYONE affected by these tragedies. All I can say is “TRAGIC! Both were TRAGIC”!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


Tomorrow is “Patriot Day, Rememberin’ 9-11”!

I can’t believe IT HAS BEEN SIXTEEN (16) YEARS since we, The United States of America, were {{{{{ ATTACKED ! }}}}}. I’ll never forget. I was sittin’ in my office, in Oxford, AL. There was a TV on, in the temporary office (the Truck Drivers Lounge) I was in, as our buildin’ was under goin’ an addition at the time. Then there it was, bein’ reported on Live TV, just a few minutes after the First (1st) Hi-Jacked Air Craft Struck! At first Reporters were speculatin’ if it was a flight off course, an accidental crash, just sheer speculation as Reporters do just to be the first (1st) to get a Report/a SCOOP! out. As the moments passed by the Second (2nd) Hi-Jacked Air Craft came into the picture. It was makin’ a wide, low altitude sweepin’ turn, as it struck it’s target on that day, September 11, 2001. Now commonly referred to as “9-11”. There were Four (4) Civilian Commercial Aircraft, HI-JACKED, in order to accomplish their goals. The First (1st) Strike, Hi-Jacked Aircraft American Air Lines Flt #11, was flown into the North Tower of The World Trade Center (The Twin Towers). Then, just a short time later, The Second (2nd) Strike,Hi-Jacked United Airlines Flt #175, was flown into the South Tower of The World Trade Center.  In, what seemed like for ever, actually just a short time, the Twin Towers collapsed to the ground into a huge pile of rubble. A Third (3rd) Aircraft, Hi-Jack American Air Lines Flt #77 was flown into “The Pentagon”, Our Military Head Quarters, at about ground level. The first three Hi-Jacked aircraft had HIT Their Targets! The Fourth (4th) strike, Hi-Jacked United Airlines Flt #93, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa. The Passengers, NO THE HEROES, on board had begun to received information, from varied sources, about the first three (3) Hi-Jacked Aircraft & what had happened. They quickly realized what was happenin’ to them & decided to take actions to keep these Islamist Terrorist from hittin’ THEIR intended target, now believed to be The Capital Building in Washington, D.C. These Brave Americans, These HEROES, rebelled against the hijackers on board, & eventually caused the aircraft to crash into the ground, a seemingly remote field, killin’ everyone on board. God Bless These Heroes, These Patriots, & their families. {{{{{ SALUTE ! }}}}}…May they forever “Rest In Peace”! On “9-11” a total of 2,997 People were killed & over 6000 injured. IT WAS A PLANNED ATTACK BY A GROUP OF 19 ISLAMIC TERRORIST! These TERRORISTS were eventually linked to Osama bin Laden, leader of the Muslim Terrorist Group Al-Qaeda. ME?…HELL NO!… I’ll NEVER FORGET!…”Hold,em Hook”!…..BG>

…”doin’ somethin’ similar”…

Down at midnight last night, up at 6 a.m. this mornin’. Looks like it’s going to be one of those dark dreary rainy type days, at least that’s what the Weatherman is  tellin’ us AGAIN. My Bride & I are enjoying the morning sippin’ on our Mugs-O-Joe. I have my pot of “Dunkin Doughnuts Regular” & she has her Fru-Fru taste of the month, made one mug @ a time. Later today we’re goin’ to meet up with my son & his family. We’re going to have lunch with the Grands at a restaurant in The Ham @ The Summit. I was gettin’ ready to leave lunch a little early. MY middle Grand was cryin’, as I was huggin’ her & trllin’ her bye-bye, cause she didn’t want Papa to leave. I was headin’ to attend the Funeral Visitation of a friend, who Passed suddenly last Thursday. Just a few months ago she had finally reached the ripe ole age of “The Double Nickel”, still young by today’s standards. I didn’t stay too long, just long enough to see a couple old friends. I decided to drive up through the cemetery, as that’s where my Mother and Stepdad are buried. Thought I would visit they’re graves, it’s been awhile. There are visitors & there are avoiders. Let me just say “I’m NOT a good grave visitor”, shame on me for that I guess. Hey, it is what it is. You know that’s one of those places you stand head hangin’, looking down, & you’re not really talking out loud but YOU ARE havin’ a conversation. I didn’t really know if I asking for approval or was I asking for forgiveness? I didn’t really get any answers but did realized I was standin’ there, in a light sprinklin’ of rain, cryin’. It’s kind of a strange scenario I guess. But, I’m sure others have found themselves doin’ somethin’ similar. Oh well, I’m now back in The Big Pell in comfortable surroundin’s. Ya’ll have a good evenin’…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


Out on The Deck 5-26-16Today is “Fathers Day”! To all of you FATHERS “HAPPY FATHERS DAY”! To both of my Fathers, Charles W. Gray (1953 R.I.P.) & my Step-Father Claude C. McGraw (2002 R.I.P.), I thank them for, both, the rolls they played in my life. My Father (Charles) passed away, in an accident, when I was only 20 months old. I really never knew him. I would also like to thank all of those “Neighbor Hood Fathers” who shared their time & leadership with me in my early years. To THEIR children thank you for sharing them with me, it meant more than you’ll ever know. To those of you who have lost your Fathers cherish your time & memories with them. To those of you who are lucky enough to still have your Fathers make sure you recognize them today. The day will come when you’ll wish you had. If you can’t be with them today CALL them, it’ll mean an awful lot. Folks of my age & older care NOTHING about getting a TEXT. DON”T DO IT!. Those are for you younger folks. As for Me, I’m blessed to have my Children & Grandchildren with me…”Hold’em Hook”…..BG>