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Commentary: People you cannot forget

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Dr. Lucas Boyd, Columnist

Dr. Lucas G. (Luke) Boyd is the retired principal of Battle Ground Academy. He lives in Franklin and may be contacted at libbycbe@gmail.com.

By my count, Honey and I have moved nine times during our married life. At every location, we’ve always run across memorable people. 

Bryan was an attorney. At one time, Honey worked in the Federal Building in downtown Nashville. One day, she bumped into Bryan and another fellow as they waited for an elevator to a court session on one of the upper floors. Sometime later, she happened to see him as he left the building carrying a paper grocery bag. A few days later, I ran into him and mentioned their meeting. He said, “You know you’re having a bad day when you take a client into court, he’s sent to jail and you get to take his clothes home in a paper sack.” 

One day, Bryan and a friend were playing golf. They were teeing off on a hole whose fairway ran parallel to a road. His friend’s drive went astray, hit the pavement and ricocheted into the side of an oncoming car. There was the screeching of brakes, and the car pulled over and stopped on the far shoulder. The two golfers drove their cart over to the scene of the mishap.

As they walked across the road, they found an upset woman inspecting the dent in her door. She began accusingly, “Just look what your ball did to my …” 

Before she could finish, Bryan held up a hand, palm toward her, and said, “Ma’am, before you go any further, you need to know that I am an attorney and a witness to this incident. From my perspective, I saw you drive your car, in a wonton and reckless manner, directly into the path of my friend’s golf ball. Furthermore, there are laws covering these situations which state that in areas surrounding a golf course, a golf ball’s trajectory has the right-of-way over any object, moving or stationary. In addition, the owner of the golf ball is entitled to restitution for any damage caused to his ball by such collisions. Now, if we can locate my friend’s ball, we can take it to the pro shop for an assessment of damage.” 

By this time, the woman was sputtering random words in anger and indignation as she searched for some response that might answer Bryan’s absurd claims. 

While Bryan had been talking, his friend had taken out a business card and was writing something on the back. He spoke, “Bryan, please be quiet for a minute.” Then, turning to the woman, he said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry I dented your car. Here’s my card with my insurance contact on the back. I will call them. You may do so as well. I can assure you that your problem will be taken care of.” A look of relief came over her face. 

He then took Bryan’s arm and guided him back to the golf cart. As they crossed the road, Bryan was heard saying, “Why did you cave in so quickly? I thought we had a good case.” 

Soon after that, Bryan changed professions. 

Chief Warrant Officer Jenkins taught tank gunnery at the Armored School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was an expert in his field and an excellent instructor, even though he had a speech impediment. This worked in his favor because his students had to pay very close attention to understand what he was saying. 

One day, he had a class of field-grade officers (majors and colonels) firing on a tank range. He was the range officer. Now, on a firing range of any type, the range officer is in total charge. The military rank of those firing makes no difference. On that range at that time, the range officer outranks them all. 

When the firing is completed, the last task before shutting the range down is the policing of the range (i.e., picking up all trash). At that point, CWO Jenkins announced (you readers will just have to imagine the way he pronounced some of these words), “Okay, gentlemen, the last thing we need to do is police this range. So, you all need to line up …” 

At this point, a bird colonel spoke up, “Mr. Jenkins, I’ve been in the Army a long time. When I got my promotion to field-grade, I vowed I’d never police any more areas.” All the rest of the officers stopped in their tracks, waiting to see who would win the confrontation. 

Jenkins looked at the colonel for a long moment before replying in a very even tone, “Colonel, when you get back to your regiment, you are the ranking officer and you are in charge. But out here, I am the range officer, and I am in charge. So, I don’t want to see nothing but elbows and a**holes as we police up this range.” 

The colonel knew he was out of line, so he just smiled and started picking up trash — as did all the others. 

John moved into our neighborhood about a year ago. He had some health issues, especially with his left leg. Multiple doctors tried several remedies. Nothing worked. So, the leg was amputated just below the knee. He got a new leg and is doing well. 

Recently, he was out walking around, showing off his new leg. We got to talking. He said, “This new leg has given me a new perspective on life. So, I’m going to start a new career.” I was amazed and said so. He continued, “I’ve gotten unhappy with all our political leaders, so I’m going into politics. In fact, I’m going to speak at my first political rally in Nashville next week.” After I made another comment, he continued, “Yes. I’m gonna take off my leg and make my first ‘stump’ speech.” 

Apparently, his sense of humor had not been amputated along with his leg. 

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