Mamanier used to say that it was important to learn something every day. Bud Jones has written something in today’s Tallapoosa Journal I didn’t know. Parents of primary school age kids need to read Bud’s compelling information today.
Are any of you old enough to remember the old elementary school that we went through up until about 1963? Remember the bell tower? Remember it was two stories tall, and it had radiators for heat and a window that opened when it got hot? Air conditioning? Nope, didn’t have it. I went through the 6th grade there before they built the other school that still stands on Robertson Avenue.
I remember Mr. Thurmond, the custodian, who was a soft spoken gentleman who was always nice to us kids. In the colder months, he arrived at school early to make sure we had heat. Mrs. Thurmond worked in our lunch room. Mrs. Brooks ran the lunch room, and her staff made sure nobody went back to class hungry. My mind can still smell that heavenly aroma of those wonderful hot yeast rolls with a nice slab of butter melting in them.
I remember USDA commodities that went to schools and the less fortunate. I tasted what my grandmother called “government cheese,” and I’d give anything for a chunk of it the size of cement block. I don’t recall anyone ever complaining about the lunches from the basement of the gym back in the day.
I took the kids over to Jacksonville, Ala., for a sentimental journey last month. I drove the back road like when I was a student at Jax State back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I loved that curvy back road going through Rabbit Town and White Plains, where people would wave to you as you passed by. I drove them to where their dad went to college for one semester. The place where I learned to budget and manage time.
Jacksonville State University has a beautiful campus that has maintained the architectural integrity of the campus that is into its third century. My focus when I was a student there was living for afternoon band practice with the Marching Southerners. I remember a lot of hard word went into every performance and a sense of pride after a half-time show. I also remember not opening a book and channeling my energies into getting phone numbers from coeds from Birmingham, Oxford, Trussville and Oneonta.
I had some great professors there in history and political science. I took a biology with a professor from Costa Rica, and he reminded me of Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy.” My focus was on enjoying the campus culture of JSU. My energy leaned toward football games, concerts and trying to get the phone number of Lana Musso, who was a Marching Southerners’ Ballerina and looked like a movie star. She was the first cousin of legendary Crimson Tide running back Johnny Musso. She could make a rabbit break a log chain.
At the end of the semester I got a letter from the dean putting me on academic probation, which meant that I had to move back home and pray West Georgia College would let me in. Thank the Lord they did.
I did make some great friends at Jacksonville State. Randy Owen of the Country Music Hall of Fame group “Alabama” is one of them. I lived in a remodeled chicken house on West Mountain Avenue in Jacksonville. I am not making that up. It was just off campus, and I could see Paul Snow Stadium from my front door. Going to the IGA grocery store at 9 p.m. to get left over fried chicken that had been marked way down was the way I survived.
At Jacksonville State, I saw one of the architects of rock and roll, Chuck Berry. There were only about 75 students attending that Friday night. I never understood why that concert was so poorly attended. I had classes larger than attendees at that show. The next year, Chuck Berry played before sold out arenas opening for the Rolling Stones. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard are the inventors of rock and roll.
I am loving Netflix. The monthly satellite bill is ridiculous. As soon as the contract is up, I am cancelling. When it costs you as much as a monthly car payment just to watch TV, it might be time to pull the plug.
Dear hearts don’t forget next Thursday is Valentine’s Day. Many of you have Tommy Allen on speed dial. What did you think of the Super Bowl Dodge commercial about farmers voiced by the late Paul Harvey? I understand that when the lights went out in the Super Bowl last Sunday night some blamed the Bush Administration. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is going to get a huge new contract. He is bragging to teammates that he might now be able to afford satellite television.
Rhubarb Jones is a Tallapoosa native and a member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in Nashville and the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Comments and suggestions are welcome at P.O. Box 6, Tallapoosa, GA 30176 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Previous columns can be found at www.tallapoosa-journal.com.