OPINION COLUMNS

Great (short) stories from today’s visit to the coffee shop

By Gerre Joiner | Published Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Regarding frugality:

Years ago, a group of young men was riding mules on the prairie off the Old Greenwood Road. One of the boys was thrown from a mule. His leg was terribly fractured. A bone was protruding through one of his boot tops.

He was taken to Decatur where Dr. Rogers examined him. The doctor said, “I’m going to have to cut that boot top in order to get your leg out so I can work on it.”

The frugal young man said, “No way you’re going to ruin that boot.” He left the hospital with a cast on his leg and two perfectly good boots (except for the hole in one of the tops).

Regarding “making sure”:

A Greenwood man was baling hay with an old fashioned piece of farm equipment that regularly did damage to an unsuspecting worker’s arm or hand as he worked. In this case, the unfortunate man got his leg in the equipment.

His workmates extricated him from the equipment and started to town with the wounded leg protruding from the side of the pickup bed. Everyone in the bunch was wondering if the leg was really broken.

They were in a hurry. They came too close to a fence post while hurrying around a corner. The injured leg hit the post. They stopped to inquire about the well-being of their unlucky friend.

Then someone observed a protruding bone and said, “At least now, we don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s broken.”

Regarding national security during World War II:

My friend and some of his friends did their best to support the war effort. They dug foxholes, hunkered down and pointed their wooden guns in all directions around their Greenwood position. According to my friend, not one of the enemy forces got past Harts Street in Greenwood.

Regarding automobile safety and alcohol:

A man turned his car over near Greenwood. When helpers arrived at the scene of the wreck, they found the driver seated in the ditch outside the overturned car. They inquired about his condition and the cause of the wreck.

“I thought I had enough whiskey to get me home,” he said. “Looks like I misjudged by about 300 yards.”

Regarding school bus safety and rats:

Sometime in the 1950s, the Greenwood science teacher asked the high school students to trap some mice and bring them to school the next day. They were to be dissected during “lab.”

One of the students trapped three rats (bigger is better!) in the barn and put them in a large jar. He had them on the bus the next morning.

The driver was known to be very “goosy.” He could not bear the thought of being tickled in any way. One of the riders thought it would be a good idea to turn the rats loose in the bus, so he did.

One of the three rats ran up the pants leg of the bus driver. He removed his hands from the steering wheel (“Jesus, take the wheel!”) and trapped the rat somewhere on his inner thigh. The bus turned over. The bus driver quit his job that day.

Regarding judgment as a basketball official:

Years ago, someone threw a soft drink bottle onto the basketball court during a close Slidell basketball game to protest a questionable call by the ref, Sam Bray.

The ref went up into the stands, stood in the middle of a crowd of young people and asked, “Who threw that bottle?” Fifteen students said, “I did.” Sam paused. Then he said, “Let’s play ball.” Nobody ever questioned the wise man’s calls after that time.

Regarding inspired high school coaching:

Bigger-than-life Coach Mac McCarroll’s Slidell basketball team lost a not-even-close game sometime in the ’50s. He gathered the team after the game and said, “You boys hit the showers … if you think you need one.”

Now, I’m not saying who told most of these stories, but here’s a quote from one of the coffee drinkers toward the end of today’s coffee shop conversation:

“Sometimes we let the truth get in the way of a good story.” (Bobby Wilson)

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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