Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hank The Gator

If you've ever travel to Charleston, South Carolina and you find a beautiful river feeding into a small lake and you decide – wow that will be a great place for a swim – you need to keep in mind that Florida ain’t the only place with gators!

Born and raised in the Atlanta area I had very little interaction with alligators, however, there was this one time when I was about seven – a friend of mine's father for some reason brought one home from a business trip, and I got to hold it. It was about seven inches long and his name was Smiley,

I wonder why...

Anyway my friend Mike was playing with Smiley and for some reason he thought it would be a grand idea to hold Smiley real close to his face and stick his tongue in and out real fast and to touch Smiley's nose with each flick of his tongue.

Apparently Smiley didn't like this worth a damn.

After about four flicks of Mike’s tongue Smiley had just about enough and he caught Mike with an inbound flick. Now gators are born with a full set of tiny very sharp teeth – just ask Mike how many.
Mike started running in circles and trying to scream but that’s a hard thing to do when you have a gator hanging off your tongue, but you still can run. Mike ran upstairs to show his Mom and Dad his new trick but they didn't think it was nearly as funny as I did.

That happens a lot when your seven.  They managed to get the gator off Mike’s tongue, and he ended up getting a couple of stitches......Mike not the gator, but we never did know what happen to that gator. He just disappeared.

Getting back to Charleston – in an earlier post I told you a little about the security at the Charleston base. I'm not going into great detail because I love my country and I don't want to give anybody any ideas because you never know who's reading your stuff.

It was summer, it was hot and I was in a secure area way back in the woods locked in a cage for three days. This was a VERY secure area.  There was only one gate in and one gate out, and it was the same gate. We knew where everyone was. If the Officer of the Day wanted to come snooping around we knew he was there. We had different codes on our radios that only we could understand. If you said a certain thing on the radio on code every Marine working at that time would know the Officer of the Day was in the area so you better put your shirt back on or stop doing whatever he might not like.

This was a Saturday.  I know this because there were very few if any civilian employees in the area. I was on duty in the guard house, and that was okay with me because the guard house had the radio room and all of the alarm censors and the monitors – so it was air conditioned. This was your normal day at work until I heard the truck slide to a stop on front of the guard house and Wild Bill came busting in. 

Bill yelled "COME ON.....I GOT SOMETHING GOOD!" Having known Bill for about a year by then I knew this could be anything. Bill asked me to get him a rope – we need a rope. I said we don't have a rope.   He followed that with some sort of statement that said we need something for sure.....

I looked up.  Hanging on the wall was our rifle rack holding 12-15 M16 rifles.  In order to secure them we had a one-third inch or so braided steel cable with a two- inch loop at each end to lock it to the wall. Bill unlocked it and said, “This will work, come on!”

We ran out and jumped in his truck and headed out. When I asked what was going on Bill said, “You're gonna love this.  We’re gonna have so much fun!”

 Bill had been out checking locks and just driving around. When you check locks you check all of the locks. There was a good size creek that ran through the area we were in and most of it was underground because the area we were in was built over this creek. Where this creek came in and where this creek came out of our area was always of great interest to us. There were eight- inch reinforced concrete walls about four feet high on both sides of the creek and connected to the walls itself was a very heavy steel grate with a heavy steel gate that went into the water and was secured at the base underwater.

From the road you were looking down about a fifteen foot hill to the creek and the gate. The bars on the grate were about two and half inches apart so you could see in the water.  They were also wide enough to let water and small fish through but not much else. 

I know this is a very technical description, but I want you to get the picture.

We parked at the top of the hill and headed down.  We climbed over a wall and on to the grate.  As we approached the creek I could tell the water was pretty deep and very dark, but sure enough you could see the top of a gator snout sticking up about three feet from the grate.  We were standing on the grate right above him, but it was too dark to tell how big he was. 
 
Now – here’s where the stupid stuff starts.

We were both young, quick and strong and – we were MARINES.
Nothing could happen to us.

Bill unlocked the gate and put one end of that cable through the other to make a noose.Then he put the cable in the water at the end of the grate and told me to put my hand in the water and move it around and see if the gator would come after it.  

I said "Do what?!?”

Bill told me to put my hand in the water and wave it around again.

I said, “Why don’t YOU stick your hand down there.”

Wild Bill used simple logic telling me he was holding the cable.   So, like a dumb ass I put my hand in that black water to try to entice an alligator to come to my hand. That just sounds wrong even typing it, but that's what I did. After about 30 seconds he started moving closer to my hand. I could only reach out about two feet from the grate so there was not a lot of room for error. He swam straight for my hand and right through the cable. 

Bill yelled NOW!!!

I jerked my hand out at the same time Bill pulled the cable tight around the gators neck – his really big neck,  and he was not happy about it. Not at all, Bill is pulling and yelling, I'm trying NOT to fall in the creek. Bill and I got a good hold on the cable and started to pull the gator out of the water.

We pulled and he came….

and came....

and came. He just kept coming up out of that dark, deep water.

He was just under 8 foot long and we guessed 350 to 400 pounds and REALLY pissed off.

We got him up on the grate with us and that seemed to make him even madder – if that was possible.  About that time Bill jumps up on the wall leaving me and Hank on the grate....Yes I named it Hank.
Lucky for me Bill still had the other end of the cable. That was the point when I asked Bill, “Okay, now what do we do?”

Bill told me we were going to take him to the guard house, and for some reason at the time  that sounded like a good idea. Bill had the gators nose up against the wall so I thought I was on the safe end. I reached down and picked the gator up holding his tail.

I happened to weight about 200 pounds at the time, and that gator – Hank – whipped  me around like I was nothing. I managed to hang on long enough to toss Hank up on the grass with Bill. We were all three surprised that I had done that. Bill started pulling the big gator up the hill to the truck, but he didn't have to pull long because that big boy raised up and started up that hill on his own moving very fast.
 I yelled "RUN BILL!!!!”, but he already was running.

He made it to the truck just a few feet before the gator and dove in the back. Bill was still holding on to the  gator leash,  and that was a good thing since  I didn't want to have to catch him in the open field. Bill climbed out of the truck with the gator pulled tight against the tire. I made it to the top of the hill and grabbed his tail again.

Hank’s tail….not Bill’s

I was pushing and Bill was pulling and we got that gator in the back of that truck.

It was a slow ride back to the guard shack, and we planned the whole way just what we were going to do. 

 
Well when we got back there were only two other guys there. We pulled Hank out of the truck and brought him into the guard house. We shoved Hank into the bathroom and spent the rest of the day telling people not to go in the bathroom cause there was a gator in there and one by one they went in anyway and came out with a yell.

There was only one casualty that day.  One of the guys kept sticking his boot on Hank’s nose over and over until Hank grabbed the boot and bit holes through it. 

I’m just glad the owner’s foot wasn’t in it at the time.

We kept Hank until Sunday afternoon and decided to take him to a pond on the other side of the base and let him go, but you know – some things never change. 

I don't care if it's a seven inch long gator or a seven foot long gator you keep sticking something in its face it's gonna bite it – every time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kung Fu Masters.....Not!

The time was the mid to late 70's and the world was in love with Kung Fu. There were TV shows, movies, books, plays, toys, lunch boxes and Bruce Lee's death was still fresh in the mind of the world.

Kung Fu was king and I was in the Marine Corps enjoying life with my buddy Wild Bill.  As I said in another post Wild Bill was a little nuts….Okay, he was fully nuts but he was sure fun to be around.

 Like I said before Bill was a highly decorated Vietnam veteran with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. Bill and I also had something else in common besides being from the south and liking sweet tea. You see Bill and I were both Recon Marines.

The Marine Recon is our version of "Special Forces" only better because we were Marines.....Well don't you think that if the Navy, Army, or Air Force "Special Forces" had the chance to be a Marine "Special Forces" they would jump at it?

Well they can't, they aren’t Marines. And they ask themselves all of their life....."I wonder if I could have made it in the Marines?” Well now that I've pissed off half of the readers, I'll carry on. I was joking....kind of....okay maybe half way.

It's a Marine thing.

We trained in the hot California sun and climbed mountains and swam miles with 70 pound packs. They taught us how to use improvised weapons, they taught us how to live off the land, and they taught us how to kill things including people with our bare hands. We learned hand to hand combat; we learned Judo, and even some improvised Martial Arts. Our training was intense every single day.

Getting back to Wild Bill….He liked beer, I was not a beer drinker or anything else for that matter, I just didn't like it.
Still don't.

Guess who always drove?  Yep, it was me and that was okay since I knew I'd get back safe. There was a little bar not far from the base we were at in Charleston, South Carolina we called The Pit, short for The Garbage Pit, I'm not sure of the real name. It was a dirty little place that only served beer and sandwiches. Its saving grace was it had a jukebox. 

Now….Get the picture…Charleston, South Carolina is a Navy town. There is also an Air force base there. So there were about eight to ten thousand sailors and about three thousand airmen in Charleston plus approximately 300 Marines.

We were the MP's.

They sailors and the airmen hated us and the odds were thirteen thousand to three hundred.....The odds were about even. There were bars around Charleston that would have signs in their windows that said "NO DOGS OR MARINES ALLOWED" but the sign was often misspelled in some way. The Pit was one of these places so that's where we went.

There were about eight tables and about ten bar stools at the bar plus one pool table. I’ve already said that Wild Bill liked to drink beer and he liked to fight, right?   I never saw Bill drunk, EVER. The boy could drink four pitchers and you could never tell he had a drink.   That’s an important detail to remember, by the way…..

We had been at The Pit about two hours.  When we got there we saw about ten cars in the lot and every single one of them had a Navy sticker on it. Like I said we had been there a while but the whole time we were there we were being watched by three sailors by the jukebox.

Well this is about the time the fun started.

Drinking two pitchers of beer will make you look for a bathroom and fortunately for Bill there was one in the corner.

Bill got up and headed to the bathroom and I was left at the table drinking my Coke and eating my sandwich. When Bill got up to leave there was a little commotion at the table with the sailor. They started poking each other and shoving each other and talking under their breath. Well two of them got up and followed Bill into the bathroom. 

I sat there wondering if I should follow them and finally I said to myself "There's only two of them".

Well about ten seconds later I heard Bill in a rather loud voice say "What The F*** Do You Think I'm Doing You Stupid Deck Ape?!?"

Then I heard a high pitched scream and a man yelling "Let me go!!!, He made me come in here!!!!".

What followed by a lot of noise. I walked over to the door very slowly and propped up against the wall holding a bar stool I picked up on the way over. The lone friend came over and told me he was going to see if his friends need help. I said, “No, you’re not, you need to go sit down until my friend is through.”  The guy responded with "What are you going to do to stop me"? I said "Do you want me to tell you or show you?” He said "No.", and he sat down. 

About that time it got very quite in the bathroom and everyone in the bar was trying not to pay any attention to what was going on. The door opened as a bloody hand held it open and Bill said "I need your help." 

As I walked in there was one guy unconscious under the sinks and the other guy was half way in a stall. I opened the stall door and it was a mess. Bill had pulled the towel machine off the wall and beat this man with it. This was one of the old kind that had the cloth towel all rolled up and you just the same towel for years.  Remember those?

Anyway this guy was flat on his back on a really nasty floor with a red towel draped over his face. Bill said "What are we gonna do?" I said, "We? You killed um."

I guess Bill felt guilty.  He wanted to get their friend…the lone one… to help us get them to the hospital.  Bill walked out the door and was heading over to the table where the guy was sitting. Bill had not seen himself and I guess I should have said something, but he looked like he had just slaughtered a hog with nail clippers. He was bloody from head to toe, his shirt was torn and he was missing a shoe and one sock. The sailor saw Bill come out and heading to his table. He jumped straight up and ran in place in midair from Bill like you have seen in a cartoon. He bolted out the door and ran down the street.  He might still be running today.

Well, we drug the two guys out and put them in the back of Bills truck and took them to the Naval Hospital and left them in the parking lot.

I'm sure hoping somebody found those old boys.

Now getting back to Kung Fu. Every year in the fall there is a big fair that comes to Charleston, and it's a really big deal. Like I said this year Kung Fu was a big part of the fair. There were a lot of places all over town teaching Kung Fu and there were also no shortage of exhibitions at the fair itself. Bill and I had gone to the fair and as we were walking out we passed one of these exhibitions. There were people jumping and screaming and kicking and punching and more screaming and we had a good time watching.

We headed out to the parking lot along with about a hundred other people. As we were walking to the truck I walked past Bill and turned around and in my best Bruce Lee voice I yelled Hiiiiii Yaaaa, and jumped up and kicked Bill in the chest, not hard but it looked it. He jumped up and got into his best fighting stance and chopped me in the neck and I went down and did a leg sweep and he went down and I dropped on his chest and he kicked me off and I rolled over and got up and he was behind me and got me in a full Nelson.

We were trained how to break that and get the upper hand and that's what I did as I dropped with a reverse leg sweep then I turned and jumped on Bill’s chest.....But it was not Bill. It was one of Charleston’s Boys in Blue. I had my guy on his back pined and Bill had his face down in the grass. At this point we stopped playing and the cops were really pissed. You see while we were playing a crowd had circled us, there several dozen people watching us.

We let the police up and they were both a little like Barney Fife. They were both shaking trying to get the cuffs on us and one was saying "You’re in a lot of trouble mister, we are police officers and you attacked us.”

I really thought it was Bill behind me and we tried to explain that to the police but they were embarrassed by just having their lunch handed to them in front of all those people. We told them we were best buddies and we were playing and not fighting and they said, "We know fighting when we see it."

I said, “Look there's no blood, I'm not hurt....He's not hurt, we were playing.” About that time Wanda came and saved our butts. Wanda had gone out with Bill a few times and she was still a little sweet on him and she also was one of the cop’s sister in law. After about 30 minutes in cuffs they let us go.

Kinda makes you want to rent a Bruce Lee movie, don't it?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lewis & Catfish

Lewis Grizzard owned a beautiful Black Lab named Catfish. Catfish was named after the great running back from The University Of Georgia in the 1930's, Catfish Smith, Look him up he was a hell of a guy. Lewis didn't really own Catfish it was kind of the other way around. Catfish had it made. Catfish came from the home of Vince Dooley. Lewis had been looking for a dog and Vince got wind of this and let Lewis know he would have him one in just a few weeks. 

A few months before that Vince and Barbara Dooley were having a wonderful outdoor party. Now this was a formal party with white tents, white tablecloths and even a small orchestra playing softly in the background. The Dooley's had two beautiful black labs named Miss Georgia and Herschel Walker, yeah....Really.

Anyway the party was in full swing and I guess it might have been the cool night air or maybe it was the soft music in the background. Whatever it was it put
Miss Georgia and Herschel Walker in the mood to.....Well do what it is that dogs are known to do, but not always at your formal dinner party with a couple of hundred guest. 

They started doing the doggies dance under a table and that's when all hell broke loose. There were chairs and tables being knocked over plates of food everywhere people screaming and running for cover it was mayhem in the Dooley's back yard at least according to what Vince told us when Lewis and I picked Catfish up and he was there so he would know.

Catfish was your average black lab puppy, full of energy and tons of mischief on his mind. On the ride back to the house, Lewis was holding Catfish in his lap and he was jumping and climbing all around and trying to get down so he could explore the back of the van, Catfish not Lewis. 

Without warning Catfish stopped in his tracks and stood perfectly still. Lewis said "what's he doing"? I said "how would I know he's your dog". Well it only took a second to find out what he was "doing". It was good old # 1 all over Lewis's lap. Lewis was yelling "Stop The Van The Dog's Peeing All Over Me". Naturally when ever I hear that I start to laugh and who wouldn't. 

I did get the van to the curb pretty fast but then it was even funnier watching Lewis trying to get a wild little puppy that by the way was still peeing out of the van and on to the ground without getting any wetter than he already was.

With the pee stop complete it was time to head home but Catfish didn't see it that way. Catfish is thinking, "well now that my bladder it empty lets see how fast this guy is".He was named correctly, he took off like a running back. Here we are parked in a nice neighborhood in Athens and here we go, two grown men running through people's yards, front and back chasing a puppy that thinks this is a wonderful fun game called let's kill the humans. 

After about a 15 minute chase Catfish just flopped over in the street. Lewis and I both stopped and just looked. I said "do you think he's dead"?  Lewis said "at this point, if there's a God in Heaven he is". Well he wasn't dead but he was one tired puppy and that made three of us.

For the first few months that Lewis had Catfish it was a chew fest at the Grizzard house. If Catfish could reach it then it became fair game and his goal every morning was to see just how many things he could either destroy, render useless or make completely unrecognisable. He was very good at his daily task. In one week Catfish ate or chewed to a pulp 3 pair of Gucci loafers, 2 pair of glasses, 1 pair of sunglasses, 2 remote controls, 3
wood banister from the stairs, a hat, and 4 things we could not recognize.

Lewis took Catfish to a puppy school in Alpharetta and a miracle took place. When Lewis and I went to pick Catfish up he was a changed dog.....While he was there. I'm pretty sure that the dog trainer told Catfish that if he didn't behave he would go to Athens and kill all of Catfish's family. Catfish was the perfect dog. He would sit, stay, heal and poop and pee on command. Lewis ask me if I thought it was the same dog? I said what does it matter, lets take this one and go, and we did.

There are many Catfish story's but I want to leave you with this one. Lewis and I spent a lot of time on the road and that meant Catfish would spend a lot of time at home alone. Sometimes we were gone all day long and that's when we were in town so Lewis came up with the idea of a doggie door so Catfish could pretty much come and go. 

Lewis lived in North Buckhead at the time in a big house with lots of woods. You could not see the house from the street and you could not even see any of your neighbors houses so Catfish had the run of the woods. Lewis would wonder out loud at times if I thought that Catfish would be lonesome while we were gone and he got his answer very soon.

We had been gone somewhere all day and Catfish loving his new doggie door  pretty much came and went as he pleased. We got back to the house just before dark and parked the van and headed in. Up the stair's to the front door, as we walked in there was some commotion in the great room just below where we came in. 

Well Catfish was not lonely at all. There were at least 13 dogs in the house, big dogs, little dogs black dogs, white dogs and spotted dogs,it looked like a Disney movie. There were dogs on the sofa, there were dogs on the beds, there were dogs in the kitchen and dogs sleeping by the fireplace and when they saw us they all started to scramble, kind of like catching a bunch of boys at your daughters slumber party.

It took us about 10 minutes to get all the dogs out of the house and Lewis did have to have the carpet cleaned. We never did find out who owned all the dogs. But we did find out that Catfish was NEVER lonely.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Name Dropper? Sometimes.

I have had the opportunity in my life to meet and even become friends with some great people and even some not great people.  At one point in time my Dad had the number one rated talk radio show in Atlanta and did so for many years. I also worked hand and hand with Lewis Grizzard for about three years in the early to mid 80s, and as my default career for the last 25 years or so I’ve worked on and off as a professional chauffeur.

I questioned myself for even writing this post because I really don't need people saying "Who does he think he is bragging about meeting and knowing all of those people?" 

Well, I got some advice from some wise people and they told me this blog was mainly for me, and I'm just sharing it for those that are interested and those that have no interest in the post don't have to read it. There will be several editions of this type because frankly I have met a lot of interesting people and I want to share a who is a good guy and who is a jerk list.

To tell the truth there are WAY more good guys than jerks.


Growing up with Ludlow Porch was a lot of fun for many different reasons, but one of them was meeting the people he got to interview. One of these people was Charlton Heston. Chuck, as he wanted us to call him, was in Atlanta promoting Airport 1975, and was booked on my Dad’s show.


I begged and begged to go to the studio that day, and if I recall I missed a day of school in order to meet Chuck. 

Darn.

He was a nice and humble man from the first hand shake till the time he got in the car to leave.  You felt like you had just made a new best friend. He would look you in the eye and talk to you like he really cared about what you were saying. I know deep in my heart he cared nothing about what a 16 year old kid from Georgia was talking about, but he made me believe he did, and that made him one of the good guys. Him and my Dad became instant buddies,  and they talked frequently. It was not long after he announced that he had Alzheimer's, he called my Dad one last time. He said he wanted to say goodbye to his buddies while he still could. 

Charlton Heston – Class A act!


Another wonderful man I begged to go meet was The Greatest.....Really he was, it was Muhammad Ali. Another good guy. Off camera and off microphone he was a very quite man but once that light came on he became "The Greatest". He would also look you in the eye and talk to you very softly and he had/has very soft hands and for some reason that surprised me.


Jerry Reed had been on the air with my Dad a couple of times before I had the chance to meet him, and it was an instant friendship that lasted till his death a few years back. When you see Jerry Reed in a movie you are NOT seeing him playing someone else.

 He always played Jerry Reed using a different name. He said he could not be anybody else since he had been him all his life. There was a get together at Callaway Gardens back when I worked for Lewis Grizzard, and some of the entertainment for the evening was Lewis, Jerry Reed, Tom T Hall, and Chet Atkins.

Needless to say it was a hell of a night.

Somehow after the show the five of us ended up in a hospitality suite and Jerry and Chet had their guitars. I wish I had a tape recorder that night. I think the jam session  broke up about 3:30 a.m.

Another man that was "ON" all the time was Jerry Clower – an absolute wild man at all times. Jerry had been friends with my Dad and Lewis for many years before I ever met him. He was in town for some reason and wanted to meet Lewis for lunch. We met him at a hotel down by the airport, and when Lewis introduced me to Jerry he hollered, “You don't need to introduce me him to me!”  

He then grabbed me in a bear hug and said "Boy, your Daddy marked you like an angus bull!"

I guess he did.
A couple of years after that Jerry was doing a show at the old Lanier Land, and I asked my Dad to get me tickets.  My buddy Big Ed and I drove up to see Jerry Clower’s show.   He had left word that I was to come back stage.  All I had to do was ask for him and that's just what I did. He came running out the back door and said, “Come with me there's somebody that wants to meet you.”

We went back to the dressing room and there was Ray Stevens who was also playing that night. Well Ray got up to shake my hand and  told me Jerry had been telling him all about me.  Ray said, “I love your Daddy!”  That’s about the time I remembered Ray is a Georgia boy as well.  .

That’s it for now.   I have a lot more of these stories, but  I think I'll spread them out over time. 

Overall I think I've had a pretty good life.......so far!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ludlow Porch Child Abuser.....NO!!!!

I've been going through my head about somethings that my Dad did when I was growing up that today would be frowned upon and child abuse.....I never thought so.

I know it was a different time but kids are still kids then and now. My Dad was not really the disciplinarian in our house, it was my Mom you didn't want to piss off. I really don't think my Dad spanked me more than two and maybe three times. If you ask him he would have told you NEVER because I never did anything wrong.....Time does fade your memory. My Mom on the other hand would keep switches in different parts of the house so she was never more than five steps away from one.

My Mom was not one of those "You wait until your Dad gets home" kind of Moms. She would grab a switch and smack the fat part of your legs at the drop of a hat. Don't get me wrong she was not a child abuser either, she only did it when I needed it and there were more time than not I would get away with murder. I spent a lot of time outside, away from the switches.

There are a few things that my Dad did that would get him reported today but I loved it. I knew what time my Dad would be home from work when he had a real job. I knew the direction he would come home. We lived on Brookcrest Cir. in Decatur at the time, just down from Towers High School. We lived near the top of a hill, a hell of a hill, it was a lot longer and steeper when I was a kid but I have been back not long ago and it's still pretty long and steep. I would ride my bike with the banana seat and the three foot sissy bar to the bottom of that hill ever day that I could and wait for my Dad. 

He would show up right on time and roll his window down and I would ride up next to the car and hold my handlebar as tight as I could and he would grab my right arm and become my motor and push me up that hill about 25MPH. There was no chance of me falling and being crushed by the car, that would never happen and in never did.

Like most boys of the 60's I played little league baseball and football, soccer had not been invented yet, at least in Georgia. Like most boys of the 60's and I guess pretty much any time frame, it was not uncommon for me to get dirty at practice, real dirty. Well you see my Dad was doing okay he owned his own company with branches in three city's and he used his cars for work and did not want a dirty kid messing them up, me being the dirty kid. 

When he would come after work to pick me up from what ever the sport of the day was and I even a little dirty he would put me in the trunk of the car. Okay it's not what you're thinking, he did not lock me in the trunk I would just sit in the trunk with the lid open and ride home. I loved it and would always try to look dirty when he came to get me.

It was my job to clean the gutters at our house. We had a split level house on a hill and it was a long way to the ground from the top floor. I would tie the hose around my waist and drag the ladder out and climb up on the roof. I would lay on my stomach and slide down the roof to the gutters and pull all that good old Georgia pine straw and drop it too the ground but had to pick up later. When I finished about ten feet I would untie the hose and spray the gutter clean. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal but I started this at about eight years old. I loved this also.

One more thing that I'm sure they would have thrown him under the jail for. In the mid 60's fireworks were illegal in Georgia. All fireworks, I was seven and I thought it was a stupid law and I guess my Dad did also because when he would travel to a state that sold fireworks he would always bring me back a bag of firecrackers, I ask for Blackcat when he could find them but I was happy with whatever he had.

 At that point in history there were no disposable lighters yet and matches were kind of a pain in the butt for a seven year old so my Dad came up with the perfect solution. He was a smoker at the time and smoked cigarettes and cigars, his cigar of choice was the Swisher Sweet Cigar. He would light up a 5 inch Swisher Sweet and get it started and hand it over but only after the instruction of "Do Not Inhale" I didn't really understand what that meant until I inhaled one time and I thought I would die and from that point on I understood what that meant.

 The neighbor kids would all show up to watch and I'm sure we were the talk of the neighbor hood. "That man is letting that little boy smoke a cigar right out in public. This is a very fond memory and I would not trade anything for it but I'm sure with the nanny state we live in today he would be in jail. 

 That's too bad.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NASCAR's Bobcat Box



My Dad and I were sitting around one day working on a topic for his radio show while we were watching a baseball game on television. 

We began to talk about how long and boring sports in general can be, and decided right then and there that we were going to help the world out and come up with some new rules for major sporting events.

We allowed our minds to wander at will.   Anything goes so to speak!

Since baseball was right there before us we began there.

First we decided the game was too long so we put a fifteen second time limit on anyone holding the ball. The pitcher has fifteen seconds to pitch the ball whenever the catcher throws it to him, and if the batter steps out of the batter’s box after the pitcher has the ball to stall it would be a half strike.  If it happened two times he would get a full strike.  If the pitcher does not pitch the ball in his fifteen seconds the batter can go to first, which should help the speed.

Finally, after the batter has hit the ball the only way to get him out is to hit him with the ball. 

Yep!  You throw the ball and hit him anywhere on his body to get him out. There is a catch, however, the batter is allowed to take his bat with him and when you throw at him he is allowed to hit the ball right back at you.

Face it there’s not a more boring sport on earth than soccer.  I can’t figure out for the life of me how a two to one game can be described as a wild scoring affair, so the only rule we could come up with was you’re allowed to bite.

That ought to shake things up a little!

Basketball was stumped us a little, but we did come up with a couple of things. The slam dunk has become too easy for these guys, so you make a slam dunk worth one point that will bring out the shooters. We also talked about doing away with the shooting at all and putting the goal in the floor, and of course, just like soccer – you’re allowed to bite.

Hockey was easy to improve.  In order to keep the players on their toes the puck would need to be white. We also decided penalties were too easy.   What’s so hard about being put into a box for five minutes to take a rest?  What’s up with that?

On your first penalty players can have a foot cut off you’re their stick.  The process will continue until all you have is the little paddle thing at the end. Then if you mess up one more time you have to give up one of your skates. Players would also be allowed to bite, but we were thinking that may already be in the rule books.

The Olympics could be helped by combining a few sports.  For example downhill boxing, cross country Greco-Roman wrestling, synchronized pole vaulting in groups of three, and  water polo on horseback. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I bet you’re coming up with some right now, right? 

I saved the best for last, and this had nothing to do with my Dad because we weren’t real fans of NASCAR, but if they would just use this next idea I would never miss a race.

I don’t remember exactly how this all came about and I may not have all the details exactly right but here goes. Two of my buddies – Big Ed and Sam were talking with me about how to make NASCAR more fun to watch because pretty much all you are doing is watching people go fast and turn left and every once in a while you get to see someone hit someone else or the wall. 

There really is no suspense.

We fixed that with the Bobcat Box.

What’s a Bobcat Box?

Well it is the greatest sports enhancing tool ever!

Every car racing for NASCAR has a 3X3X3 foot box placed behind the driver’s seat. The box can only be opened by a remote device located somewhere around the track. 

All of the drivers pick a number the night before the race to determine who will get the Bobcat that race. All of the cars will be left in an enclosed area one hour before the race so that the Bobcat wrangler can place the Bobcat in the proper car. Each car will be fitted with a speaker making Bobcat sounds so the driver will have no idea if he has the Bobcat for that race.

After the race starts the fun begins. Only one person knows when the button will be pushed and every car in the race will slow just a bit because the box behind the driver’s seat will fly open. But only one will have the Bobcat.

Keep in mind that a full grown Bobcat will weigh 30 to 35 pounds, and he will have been in this hot box for a couple of hours with lots of noise and movement.

When that box pops open the driver is going to have one pissed off cat all over him. I can hear the announcer now “It’s been a good clean race so far as the leaders are coming around turn two as they head into the…… Oh my….. Oh my….. Folks it looks like Jimmy Johnson has the Bobcat this week. 

He just slammed into the wall in turn three and is heading for the infield as full speed!

Look out folks - here comes Jimmy and the Bobcat!”

And biting is allowed but ONLY by the Bobcat.

I’m telling you…I would never miss a race!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Squirrel Hunting With Wild Bill


It was a crisp cool fall day in Charleston and we had a three day weekend ahead of us and I was ready for one. Just a little more background about what we did in Charleston. You see this base is where the Navy restored and stored the Poseidon and Trident missiles that the submarines carried, Google um there pretty cool. Anyway these missiles also happen to carry nuclear warheads and that made this base a very high security area to say the least. 


To make a long story shorter the Marines on the base were in charge of the security.....We were the MP's. We were on a rotating shift of 24 on and 24 off and when on duty we were locked in the area where the missiles are stored. On our duty we were 4 hours on and 4 hours off and when we were off we were still in the middle of the secure area in an old Strategic Air Command train car with all the comforts of home. TV, bathroom and bunk beds, oh and it almost has AC. Every third weekend we had duty weekend that was Friday, Saturday and Sunday locked in the cage 4 on and 4 off for three days so the following weekend we had OUR three day weekend. Needless to say we enjoyed our three day weekends.

Bill had been planning this weekend all week we were going squirrel hunting. I had been squirrel hunting before but it was mostly for fun, I can hear the animal rights people now gasping and saying "You killed poor defenceless squirrels for fun"? Yep, there rats of the woods get over it plus it gave the other animals something to eat. While I had been squirrel hunting for fun I'm pretty sure Bill had been squirrel hunting for dinner and more than once but, I never ask.

We kicked back and did not much of anything on Friday but we did drive around to find a good place to hunt Saturday morning. If you've ever been to Charleston you know you don't need to drive very far to find some heavy woods and a swamp or two if you don't watch out. We drove for a while and found a place that looked pretty good and we drove until we found the closest house to it to ask if we could hunt there. 


Well we found the house and an old man came to the door and we ask if it was his land and if we could hunt there in the morning and come to find out this old man was a World War 1 Marine Corps Vet. We sat on his front porch for about an hour just talking about life, war, the world and the Marines. He told us he owned all 800 acres around there and we could hunt there anytime we set out minds to do it.


Bill got me up at about 4;30 to go and I fussed the whole way there saying "It's too dark to see anything if it's out there". I was right we got there about an hour and a half too early. We had the same kind of rifle old Remington pump action .22's I think they would hold 14 or 15 bullets in the tube mag and that's important later on. We started hunting at first light about 6:30. We sat and we walked and we sat and we walked and I was thinking surely there are squirrels in South Carolina, then I remembered sure there are, I ran over one last week. We were out there in that old man's woods for 4 hours and we did not see squirrel one.

We started back to Bills truck that was parked up near the road when we heard something behind this giant oak tree that had fallen. Bill run up ahead to see what it was and I heard him yell "HOLY CRAP WE'RE EATING GOOD TONIGHT" then he squared away and starting shooting BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG as fast as he could get another round in he shot and at the same time I hear this God Awful scream and at first I thought it was a woman and I'm thinking "Dear God Bill what in the hell are you shooting" well in about 2 seconds I got my answer a giant wild boar came flying out from behind that tree and was heading straight for Bill. He was running and shooting and running and shooting, I was laughing so hard I could not see to shoot straight. Bill sounded a little like Jerry Clower when he was yelling "Help me....Shoot this thing" . 


Well Bill jumped up and shimmed up a tree and the hog was trying to get to him butting the tree and trying to climb it. I was still about 75 feet away from the action and Bill was still hanging on to the tree and shooting. I regained my composer and started shooting also, the hog had no idea I was even there and kept after Bill. Well Bill and I were both out of ammo and the hog was still standing. Don't get the idea that Bill and I were bad shots, we were both very good shots but we had little tiny bullets and this was about a 300lb pissed off hog. 


The hog had all it's attention on Bill so like a real dumb ass I'm gonna sneak up behind him and smack him with my rifle and that's just what I did. I used my best Parris Island taught Butt Stroke and smashed him right on the top of his head. He didn't move so I smashed him again and he dropped like a sack of potato's.

We dragged that bad boy about 1/4 mile back to Bill's truck and put his big butt in the bed. We started to get in the truck and the hog moved, we stopped in our tracks and looked at each other then we looked at the hog, he moved again only this time a little more in fact a lot more it seemed I had only knocked him out and he was coming to and was not going to be happy in the bed of that truck. We were very luck that day that Bill has an old Civil War Sword in his truck, don't ask me why he kept a sword in his truck, that's just Bill but that day I was glad he did. He grabbed the sword and ran the hog through his neck just as the hog was getting to his feet and that did the job. We counted 28 holes in that old hog some were entrance holes and some were exit holes . I told you we were good shots.

Well we didn't eat that hog that night but we dug a pit and cooked him for about 24 hours and there was enough hog for about 100 of us and there may have beers drank at the same time...... It was kind of a game to see who could find the most bullets in their food as we enjoyed that hog.I kept one of his tusk for years it was a little over 3 inches long, I wonder what ever happened to that thing? Good times.