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A friend of mine died today – a true friend. I was once told that you could go through life and count the number of your true friends on one hand. I believe that, and now I have one less finger to work with.
My friend would sometimes look me in the eye and say, “I like you, don’t you ever forget that, I like you!” He would then give me one of his “Hook ‘um horns” type patented handshakes - an honor bestowed not on many – only his “runnin’ mates,” “or close personal friends.”
Many times I was told, “I know you can handle yourself but if you ever need me, you know I will take ‘snubby’ and ‘pop a cap’ an anybody that messes with you. You can bet your ass on that.”
He always asked about my kids and family before he inquired about me. When he asked about my family he called them all by name like he was calling roll. “How’s Zack, Staci, Deb, your Mom, Sue, Jackie and Larry? And “How are you ‘my friend’.” He had a fantastic memory.
My friend was generous. He would give a friend of his the shirt off his back, money out of his pocket, or anything else that might help a “comrade” of his. What he wouldn’t give you was advice on how people should run their lives.
My friend and I drank many a beer together. We once drove to Kentucky to pick up a piano as a surprise birthday present for my wife. My friend loved birthday and Christmas surprises. That weekend we “ran a good one.” We borrowed a friend’s van for the trip and stopped in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on the way up and bought 5 cases of bootleg Coors beer. This was before you could buy Coors in Georgia. When we got back only one day later, there was none left. On several occasions we resorted to “red eye” and we even named a house in the mountains the “Red Eye Roost” in honor of his favorite beverage.
My friend woke me up many a Sunday morning by popping the tops on beer cans, and constantly reminding me after I got up that “it’s time to head back to Georgia.”
My friend and I “traveled the scenic route” many time whether it was a fishing trip to Florida, Hilton Head, or mill pond, a drive down to the farm, a trip to the lake, or yearly chauffeured limousine cruise from Bremen to Atlanta and back. We would hit all the “joints” and even a few “titty bars.”
My friend had a way with kids. He told me before my children were born that one would be a girl and one would be a boy; they would have blonde hair with a reddish tint, and they would both be full of “piss and vinegar.” He hit it dead on the head with both.
If my friend liked you he would tell you that he liked you. If he didn’t like you he would tell you to go “piss up a rope” and give you the little finger accented by “Oow Wah - Mother Fucker.”
My friend was a neat, clean cut creature of habit. When he went to the “pond” to take a “douche” he was ready then to “greet the public.” My friend could take a Bama game, a titty bar, be at Merle’s, cruise Carrollton, Tallapoosa, Fort Walton beach, Panama City, make a “house call,” host a “Mississippi Skip,” chase a “Dago,” run a “High Yeller,” make a “Road Trip,” all in one night but most of the time never really leave Bryan Street.
My friend was faithful to one college football team. He stood by that team and supported their program all the way. When he got sick, the coach and players sent him an autographed football – Roll Tide!
My friend was a “gentleman and a scholar.” He loved his family and his friends. He loved his job. Especially “Lucy.” He was good to all three.
My friend was a fighter. A point man in World War II, his Thompson 44 “knocked many a gook loose” in the Philippines. He was scrapper full of “piss and vinegar.” He seemed to care for his life so little, but in the end he fought tooth and nail to hang on and I’m sure it was with a clear conscious that he went to meet with his ultimate “Kind Sir.”
My friend was Wilbur Bell – my Loss is great! If you were his friend yours was too.
Good bye, Bo Cod.