Sunday, January 22, 2006


I saw my old friend Skip Tucker on Friday night while we were in Montgomery. We've grown apart the last few years. He didn't get married until after he was 50 years old and now he has a young son that keeps him hopping. But I remember back when Skip was the editor of The Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Alabama and he was bigger than life. He invited us to some of the best parties we ever attended. The old ranch parties where George and John lived were legendary. They played bluegrass music for days on end and they went through prodigious amounts of beer, liquor and other party beverages.

One weekend we were there, someone rode a horse through the living room. Yeeeee Haw.

One Monday after a killer party I had an encounter with Skip that I'll never forget. I worked for South Central Bell at the time and I was an installer. Installing a phone in downtown Jasper at about 9 a.m. on a January morning, it was about 28 degrees outside and I was up a pole on hold waiting for the dispatcher to tell me what cable pair to put the new phone on. When I looked down, who should drive up but Skip Tucker. He drove an old Ford Maverick then and he had scraped a small circle of frost off the windshield and drove hovering over the steering wheel like a ninety year old so that he could see the road. He left the motor running as he got out at a corner curb market to browse for some fruit. There's not that much fruit to choose from in January in Alabama so it didn't take him long to select some bananas and a couple of apples and he headed back to the Maverick.

Since I was 30 feet up the pole, he did not know there was a soul around, but I called out to him --- Skip. Skip abruptly stopped and looked around only to see no one within a hundred feet or so. He started for the car once again and I said --- Skip Tucker -- a little louder. This time though he wasn't alarmed, he was concerned. He was hearing voices and no one was anywhere near him. I imagine he was wondering if he had indeed sobered up enough to go to work that morning or if he should call in drunk.
I then said OLAN CLAUDE TUCKER JR. which is his given name ---what his mamma called him when she was mad. He FREAKED. He walked around his car.....looked under his car and all around before he looked up to see my grinning face. He bellowed RICKY WATSON YOU SOMBITCH -- I THOUGHT I WAS BEING CALLED TO PREACH!!!!!

I reminded him of that story on Friday and everyone there had a great laugh. It’s good to reconnect with old friends.

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