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Days Gone Bye column: A hit and a miss this week

As sometimes happens in my weekly rambling, instead of hitting on just one subject, I might veer off to the side … or the rear with some hitting and missing about stuff I think you might like to hear, so here goes:

Hey, what about good old southern hugging: It’s always been a grand thing to hug the womenfolk, but you can bet there are still some of my old friends left around, and the next time we meet … we’ll hug.  You see, folks, most of ‘em with a little bit of age on ‘em, just touch a lady’s arm in church or pat one of the chullun on the shoulder.  I sometimes see daddies stick their hand out to shake the hand of one of their sons they haven’t seen in a while. Shucks, my boys know they goner get embraced when they come around Ol’ Papa, and my daughter anytime.

There’s fellows, and especially some gals from not around these parts, who figure you’re up to no good atall if ya touch ‘em. I’m sorry about that. They’re just plain out ol’ everyday missing the comfort of a friendly touching we take for granted when we go to a funeral, a wedding or just stop to chat with a friend on the street corner.

Talking about misunderstanding and changing up things from what they really are … I recollect a good ol’ Boy Scout song that proclaimed. “…And we’ll all be happy and gay.”  Now what that meant was happy, care free and full of life, but modern day thinking tends to change up the meaning of some of those old timey words.

Does smelling stuff bring things to your mind like it used to do before I lost my sense of smell? You ‘member how those Crayola crayons smelled back yonder in the third grade? Back there in Mrs. Crocker’s first grade we only had just a few different colors in the box. Black, blue, brown, green, orange, red, yellow, and maybe violet. Seems like Peggy Etheridge and Joann Summerlin could mix some of those colors and make a different one. I do know those girls could write to a hundred faster than I ever could, but there were not too many things there were a hundred of that needed counting in the first grade.

Now, I don’t drink much of it myself, but there are not many smells I liked better than perking coffee. I liked to hear the perking, too. Problem is, the newfangled coffee makers don’t perk.

Smelling fresh-plowed ground always made me want to get right in my old clothes, and get my feet and hands in that dirt. You can’t burn leaves in town anymore, but that was a good smell. Right up there with peanuts and popcorn.

Did your third grade teacher read chapters out of books to you after dinner? You’d hate it when she got to the end of a chapter in the Bobbsey Twins or the Hardy Boys, and you had to wait ‘til tomorrow to find out what happened.

Any of y’all ever eat a mustard and jelly sandwich? That was a concoction my Great Aunt Hazel Cooper came up with. I’m not necessarily recommending it, but it is different.

Hey, many of you may remember that Autherine Lucy was the first Black person enrolled at Alabama … but do you know the rest of the story? Autherine was from down yonder at Shiloh in South Marengo County, and graduated from Linden Academy.

I still read the funny papers, but I miss Mutt and Jeff, Moon Mullins, and the Phantom riding around on his horse, Hero, followed by his wolf dog, Devil, and pursued to the Skull cave by his girlfriend, Diana. Now, how in the Sam Hill did I remember all that stuff about the Phantom, you reckon?

Finally, I got to thinking about that pore ol 97-pound weakling who always got sand kicked in his face by the beach bully.  That is until he up and ordered that Charles Atlas muscle building course. Wish I could of saved up enough to order that thing.

Anyhow, have you hugged a buddy today?

— Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times and a native of Marengo County. His column,“Days Gone Bye,” appears weekly.

(This column originally appeared in the Wednesday, February 12 issue of the Demopolis Times.)