Fond Memories… From my Two Years in Mississippi

Good morning to all! How are you fine people today? Welcome back…To Ridin’ Out the Recession in Miz Judi’s Kitchen! Good seeing you all again!

You know, I got to thinking back yesterday about how things stick in your mind even after so many years have gone by.

Back when I was growing up we didn’t have i-phones, computers, video games, shoot T.V’s were just making an appearance. If you had one, at midnight they went off the air…gone! We were outside from the time we got up in the morning, well, till black dark!

Mama wanted me to come in for supper…she was standing outside hollering for me to get home! If not, I’d still be out waging war on them dern “Natzi’s!” Between me an ole Gen. Patton, we had thinning out them Natzi’s down to a fine art! We was good at it too, or is that what I just said? I dunno.

Kids today, not all, but many mind you, don’t have any idea “what to do” when outside, really, no earthly idea in regards to entertaining themselves! To me this is literally incomprehensible, I swear it is. But most of all to me is the sadness…the sadness of not creating good, fond memories that the companionship of you and three or four good buddies can create, that in fact…last a whole lifetime!

If you guys don’t mind, I ‘m gonna’ share with you some very fond memories that still today, 40 years later can bring a smile to my face! This is about simply a boy, and his buddies!

Fond Memories… From my Two Years in Mississippi :

Now I was born and raised in Florida, and I’m Gator to the core! That being said, in my youth we lived in Mississippi for two years. I have to say those may have been the happiest, or surely some of the happiest days, in my “growin’ up,” years. Those dern Mississippians was so nice, I swear they all musta’ been born in Florida, and migrated there, just like me!

Dad worked for the Ralston Purina Company back in those days, and had been promoted to General Manager of the Southeast, in their poultry operations. Man, I didn’t want to leave Florida and my old buddies. I purely hated the thought of such a move, but beins’ I couldn’t find “steady work” in the 5th and 6th grades, I reluctantly made the move.

Dad’s new office was in Pelahatchee, and we bought a home not too far from there, in a town named Brandon.

New friends soon took the place of my old ones, and we all began to just hang out. Hang out meaning shooting hoops, playing football and baseball, riding bikes, even standing at the end of our drive, hitting rocks with a baseball bat, dreaming of being a “major-leaguer” one day! It also included “playing war,” and the beginnings of starting to camp-out together…no parents just us “guys!”

Some of these guys have stayed in my mind all these years though I haven’t spoken with any, well, all but one, and that just a time or two.

There was Stevie Spangler, Oz Barnes, Arthur McAlpin, and Richard Joyner, who I did speak with a time or two. With the power of the internet, if you guys happen to read this, please contact us at our e-mail address below.

Now this story is nothing special in my life from an excitement or extreme related theme, merely the comraderie that develops when boys get together and bond, becoming friends. We went to ball practice, we went together. We rode bikes, we rode together. It was literally all for one and one for all!

I remember going down to Arthur McAlpin’s house and eating raw butterbeans for the first time in my life, and how surprisingly good they were eaten that way. I also remember Arthur shooting himself in the foot with a pellet rifle, but that not slowing him down too much because he rode his bike down to our house to show me what he’d done!

I remember sitting in Oz Barnes’ house watching the University of Fla. playing Auburn…what a game!

Florida receiver Richard Trapp took a short pass, hauled it in, and took a short completion and turned it into a long run—mostly with all credit due to himself—and scored. This has been an awful long time ago, but I think Wayne Barfield came on later in the game and kicked a field goal, thus winning the game for my “beloved Gators!”

Next door to our house was a home owned by the Jones. I know there was at least two kids, shoot, these weren’t kids…they were in High School! I do remember a daughter and son, the son named Philip, but I swear I can’t remember his sister’s name.

Anyway, between our houses was a little dry creek bed. Actually just a watershed that stayed dry except during a heavy rain. There was a little wooden footbridge between the two places that was actually pretty neat. Neat to a 9-10 year old boy anyway!

I remember just as if it was yesterday, standing on that old bridge with my am radio, listening to Florida playing Auburn once again. Coincidence or not, both the games that came to my head were both Fla. versus Auburn, and both were great games! This time, Fla. won by Fla. quarterback Steve Spurrier, kicking a last second field goal for the win. This was the year Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy, and I believe that kick helped to sew the award up for him. This must have been 1966, 45 years ago, not 40 as I was thinking, and I was 9 years old. Dad-gum!

I remember plain as day going to Stevie Spangler’s house and shooting baskets outside on a goal beside his drive. We had a radio outside playing then too. I can’t remember who was playing them, but the broadcast was live from Kentucky…and their coach? Adolph Rupp!

If you can’t tell by now, we were sports nuts back them. We ate, slept, and breathed them. I believe, but may be wrong on the population count, but I think back then Brandon had maybe 3,500 people. Come Friday night, I believe there were about 3,000 of them in the bleachers watching the football team play, if at home.

This is why I feel sad for our kids of today. Have they friends close enough to impact their lives that 45 years down the road can they think of them and pull their names outta’ the air and smile? Smile at days gone by sure, but days whose memories are just as fresh and bright as if they’d taken place just last week!

To my old Mississippi “partners,” I gotta say that I’ve never forgotten you guys! Thank you for all the great memories, and the memories you still bring to me.

Well people, that’s about going to do it for today. We appreciate you all stopping by, and look forward to next time. Thanks again, and God Bless you all!


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2 Responses to Fond Memories… From my Two Years in Mississippi

  1. Dear Dub,
    Read your living in Mississippi piece. I remember those days even though I’m a girl.
    Those 2 years you cited from your memories happened all over the south during those times. I am glad I grew up in Mississippi and I also have great memories. Both sides of my family had a great number of Aunts, Uncles and many cousins. When families were not gathering, communities were. When they were not gathering Churches were. When they were not gathering schools were. Sports, FHA, FFA, Glee clubs and 4-H. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts. These instituitions and family values have been destroyed by liberal thinking in todays world. Children no longer are allowed to have a childhood before they become adults. Our young people are becoming an endangered species in our area. Death comes early to these young people through drugs, suicides, automobile wrecks and shootings. I write this to you today because our community is again in mourning over a lost child. Please write a column for young people to read about how it is supposed to be and not how Pop Culture and Facebook tells you it is. I would like to pass it around to parents and clergy, anyone who comes in contact with a troubled child. That in itself is a big job because they all seem troubled. We in our community are trying to find answers and many are at a loss.
    Of all the articles I read every day trying to keep up in US and world affairs, your article touched me as I have not been touched in a long time. If we can save the youth of this country maybe there is hope for us yet.
    Please remember that Mississippi during your time here was very poor and times were very hard. That did not stop families from being families. Our clothes may have been old and worn but our mothers still washed and ironed them and tried to keep us relatively clean. The food on the table might not have been the best but to us it tasted the best. I am proud to be a Mississippi girl.
    Thank you
    X’s Child

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