Days Gone Bye: Eighteen Again

Published 4:03 pm Thursday, October 19, 2023

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Column by Tom Boggs

The year of our dear Lord, 1958, was a good ‘un, and my good buddies who were eighteen with me that year, what ones are still here, would not likely have any argument about that.

         There’s an old Ray Price country song with the  words wishing I was eighteen again.  Ray went on to remorsefully sing that he’d never again turn a young lady’s head or go running out into the wind.

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         I can report one other fact to y’all:  I don’t wish I was eighteen again, but I sure am glad I once was.  If I can turn my granddaughter’s head to run to Papa, and if I can at least strike a trot with my grandsons just a little bit into a headwind, then I am blessed.

         Y’all look around, and you’ll see a few old folks kinda bent over, and gray headed, and not running real fast into or with any kind of wind.  As you gaze at those fellows and gals you might remember that once they might have been blocking and tackling for the Devils, Tigers, Bulldogs or Blue Bullets , and that lady could very well have been the smooth faced lass jumping up and down cheering that boy on for the team, with her long hair just flapping in that Friday night breeze.

         Might seem like a dang long spell since either one of ‘em did that sorta thing, but I can report to you without reservation, it was like the twinkling of an eye ago. I just sorta teared up thinking about my football playing and lifelong friends, Frank Aydelott, Melivn Glass and Billy Kirkham who still stay in close touch, and who come out to my cow farm for an eating, and sometimes cow punching reunion at least once a year, with Melvin (Moose) traveling all the way from Virginia.   I’m so thankful for all friends, including new ones, but you just can’t make new OLD friends. 

         Hey, how many of y’all can recollect Sut’s Six band from back in those days?  Played at all the high school dances in this part of the state,  including the 1958 Linden Sweetheart Ball, when I can remember escorting pretty Sue Fluker from north of the Bogue to the dance, and good looking Madge Glass, Frank’s girlfriend, was picked out to be the Sweetheart of 1958.  Good choice.

         Although I never got the chance to be in a Boy Scout troop down Linden way, I tried to make up for it by volunteering as a grown up.  I was taking part in an Eagle Scout ceremony for my little neighbor buddy, Ed Bruce, the other day, and Frank Rutledge told me he figured he was the oldest living Eagle Scout in Demopolis, and he told me that Sam Pat Hand must have been the very first Eagle Scout in the county.   One could do worse than be a Boy Scout, and then advance to the exalted rank of Eagle before reaching the age of eighteen.   

         Well, I hope y’all are smiling about when you yourselves were eighteen, and I hope you’re glad you’re where you are now, and maybe you’re lucky enough to really have a lady by your side, as I do, who might still turn her head towards your gray head, every now and again.