Commentary by Luke Boyd: Every Other Thursday
By Dr. Lucas Boyd, Columnist
Every other Thursday evening, there is a gathering of old men at Franklin’s Chop House Restaurant.
Most are BGA alums from the late 1940s, early 1950s. There is a lot of white hair and some shiny heads. The average age is about 80.
There are some Franklin and Columbia High graduates in the bunch but they all grew up knowing each other or playing sports against each other. Although I do not have that connection, they “allow” me to attend because of my long association with BGA and the fact that that was my high school era as well.
There are many stories told at each gathering. Most of these have been told before but, like fine whiskey, they tend to get better with age—and each telling.
One member said recently that he enjoyed the old tales, because if a teller started one and forgot, another member could finish it for him.
Someone suggested that all the stories be numbered and just told by mentioning the number but that idea has yet to gain any traction.
In a recent session, there were tales flying fast and furious when a fellow remarked, “We might ought to be more careful. Luke might write about us in the paper.”
Another responded, “I don’t care if he does as long as he does not use my name.” Well, I am writing about us but I’m not using anybody’s real name. Here are some of the stories.
Glenn recalled one of his BGA math teachers who had an unusual way of teaching the order of operations in solving equations.
When a student did not follow the proper order, he would rush to the window, throw it open, and shout at the top of his lungs to the whole outside world, “The parentheses scream, ‘Do me first.’” Glenn says that’s something he never forgot as he pursued a career in science.
George grew up in Franklin in a family of modest means. One day when he was about nine years old, he and his older sister were home alone. A burglar broke into the house and the two kids hid in a closet. Somehow they sensed that the felon knew they were there, so his sister said in a loud voice, “George, hand me that shotgun.” George responded in a voice just as loud, “What the heck are you talking about, Sis? You know we don’t have a shotgun.” The burglar left when he could find nothing worth stealing.
George ended up coming to BGA and was a star athlete in all sports. However, he had a hair-trigger temper causing him to have legendary run-ins with officials. In one basketball game, the ref called a foul on him in the first quarter. One of those moments occurred when everyone in the gym got quiet. George turned to the officials and said, “Why, you s… o…b….!” only he used the full words, Of course, everyone in the gym heard him. The official not only put him out of the game but also out of the gym.
One Thursday everyone was trying to recall the quickest time they could remember George getting tossed out of a game. Since he played all sports, there were plenty of ejections to talk about. The prize went to Ben who was playing independent league baseball with George one summer and swears that he was thrown out of one game before the game even started. It seems that George and the ump had had problems in an earlier game and got to arguing during warm-up. No one could top that minus time record.
George has now gone to that great ballgame in the sky where his friends hope the officials are more tolerant.
Back in the 1940s and ‘50s, the head of BGA owned and ran a summer camp up on the Caney Fork. Many BGA boys attended. Late one afternoon the BGA Headmaster and some other senior counselors were sitting out on an elevated deck. There were a group of campers below them engaged in some activity.
A copperhead crawled out on the deck and started to slither down through one of the cracks. Fearing that the snake was about to fall down among the boys, the Headmaster grabbed the snake’s tail.
The snake turned and bit him on the wrist. They rushed him to the camp nurse who did what she could then loaded him into a car and headed to town and a doctor. As the doctor, assisted by the camp nurse, was working on him, he asked, “How did this happen?”
The Headmaster replied, “I just grabbed him by the tail and he bit me.” Before anybody else could say anything, the camp nurse, who was a good friend of the Headmaster and who had a quick wit and tongue, responded, “Well, you can’t blame the snake. If he’d grabbed my tail, I would have bitten him, too.”
Yes, that’s every other Thursday at The Chop House.
P. S. I will be signing books on November 21 at 5:30-‘til at Henpeck Market.
Dr. Lucas G. (Luke) Boyd is the retired principal of Battle Ground Academy. He lives in Franklin and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: 11/7/2013