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140317 - March 17, 2014



Oh, The Game We Used To Play
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    This afternoon I had the pleasure of playing in the back yard with Callie,  my two year old grand-daughter, and we had a lot of fun playing with soap bubbles. At the same time her twin brother was in the house playing on an iPad, and so I shall start my diatribe on the fun things we did with simple toys when we were growing up. Of course we did not have iPads or other electronic devices. Our parents thought the television set was created by the devil and would be responsible for us never getting any healthy exercise playing outside like they had done when they were growing up. Television seems normal today, and we never saw the potential detrimental effects it threatened like our parents did.

    I really just got to thinking about the truly primitive things we garnished delight from playing with, like the soap bubbles that thrilled my grand-daughter this afternoon. You really could not get much simpler than that, and I even remember making my own bubble wand out of pipe cleaners. We did not even buy special bubble liquid and made our own out of dishwashing soap. Speaking of pipe cleaners, how many hours did you spend bending the little fabric coated wires around things? I used to make my own army men out of them, and the horses they rode on.

    I also had a great time with balsa wood gliders that cost a dime each for the big ones and a nickel for the smaller planes. The other day I was in a craft store and they wanted $2.99 for the ones we bought for a dime. But as a kid I could spend hours and hours throwing and retrieving the planes and could do it day after day with the same ten cent plane. If we did not have a dime to spare, we made our own planes out of paper and had just as much fun with them, at practically no cost. The same routine went for paper kites. We could buy one for a dime, or make our own out of yesterday’s newspaper and a couple of sticks and have a blast flying them.

    Bottle caps became checkers and rocks became skipping stones and occupied great amounts of our leisure time. For the girls a piece of rope became a jump rope and lots of calories and energy was burnt in both individual and group jump rope games. Take a piece of chalk and a couple of stones and like magic you had a hopscotch challenge to last an afternoon. The same piece of rope helped many a cowboy rope and hog tie all the runaway steers wandering the neighborhood. If there was no rope, a piece of string became a cat’s cradle challenge to amaze our friends. Not so long ago we wrote about the fun we had with another piece of string tied to the leg of a June bug.

    With no additional material needed, we crowed the playgrounds with teams playing tag,  Red Rover, and ring around the rosy. A nice game of “May I” taught us all to be polite in our speech and did not cost a cent to play. I can’t remember the name of the game we played sitting on steps and trying to earn our way to the top, but I remember playing it a lot. Hide and seek took nothing but a promise to keep your eyes closed and count to a hundred, but blind man’s bluff required a piece of material or a handkerchief to serve as a blindfold. I played army and cowboys and Indians many a time, armed with only my trusty finger pistol and imaginary hand grenades accompanied by the realistic sounds of gunfire generated by my own sound effects. It did not matter if it was a bomb, a six-shooter, or a Thompson machine gun, I knew all the sounds by heart.

    King of the hill was a popular game on the slopes of East Clinton Street’s playground, and the same slopes provided the location for a wild downhill race for a rider sitting in a cardboard box or on a piece of salvaged cardboard. If we had neither we could get great delight out of just lying down and rolling down the hill. It wasn’t complicated and we had fun and got a lot of exercise with only the most simple things we picked up or found. I could go on and own if we added some more expensive things like marbles or balls and bats, but in this reflection I tried to remember the simple and cheap games and pastimes we had when we were kids, unlike the $500 iPads kids today use to entertain themselves.


        Escondido, CA - Our visit is just about over and we will be headed back to Memphis in time to spend the next week watching the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Another Fami-Lee Loss
Bruce Earl Grant
The Father of
Chris McMahon  
    Bruce Earl Grant of Calera, AL was born in Detroit, MI to Arthur and Gladys Earl Grant on July 3, 1926. His parents and brothers, (Gordon and Jack) preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Geraldine Carnes Grant; sister, Lona Works (Byron); two children Daniel Grant and Chris McMahon (Art); two grandchildren Shawn Grant and Michelle Bowers (Shane); two great grandchildren Jacob Grant-George and Shane T Bowers; and numerous nieces and nephews. Chrysler Missile took him to Huntsville, AL in the late 1950's to work in the Space Program. While with Chrysler, he proudly formed blood-giving teams for open heart surgeries in Birmingham. He was active in Jaycee's, Red Cross, Masonic affiliations, the Mental Health Center and the Heart Association . He was instrumental in starting Huntsville Achievement School; and along with his son, helped to start the advocacy group People First for those with disabilities. Bruce left this earth knowing he would meet his Creator and those who went before him. He will be missed by all whose lives he touched. A memorial service will be held at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Calera during the regular Sunday morning service on March 16 at 10:30 am followed by a luncheon.
Published in The Birmingham News from Mar. 10 to Mar. 14, 2014 

What Floor Please?
Ann Pat King

    Tommy, I'm still laughing at your Walmart "tale" and wish I could have witnessed it. 

    I get in more trouble with family and friends because I am always 'carrying on' with someone somewhere --- and usually it's something about as crazy as this story was. 
    But one that I still laugh to myself about - follows:
    To begin with, I despise QUIET elevator rides.... and will do just about anything to keep it from being quiet. 
    One day I was heading to my doctor's office on the 5th floor of a medical building. By the time the elevator arrived there was quite a crowd ready to get on.  I held back thinking I'd catch the next elevator, but no, they insisted I get on.  So I did.... barely.... with my back to the door.   (I bet they regret being nice to me!)
    All of a sudden--with no warning--this came out of my mouth: 
     "While I have you all gathered here, I'd like to tell you how since a child I always wanted to be an elevator operator when I grew up.  I recall the old Belk elevator where the little man sat on a stool and opened the door, then the metal bars, and always said, "Watch your step, please."  Folks were looking at each other like what planet did she come from??   But, without pausing,  I continued, "As a kid, I'd go up and down it as much as I could - until my mom or dad came and rescued me."
    About this time, we arrived to the 1st floor.  I moved to one side and announced,  "We are on the first floor, if you must exit, please watch your step."      By now, I'm beginning to get some really weird looks (like --- did this gal escape from the psych floor??) ---- yet one gentleman was enjoying it and he would interact a bit with me.... that just fed the monster in me.
    From floor 1, I gabbed about something else (probably another memory of elevators) -- I have no recall now, but it was crazy I'm sure.  
    Then we arrived to the 2nd floor, and I repeated my script: "We are now on the 2nd floor, if you must exit, please watch your step, and have a nice day!"
    Upward to 3rd, 4th floors and of course fewer folks to "entertain."  But I gave it my all -- it was so much FUN!  By now, it's all I can do not to laugh out-loud at myself, thinking about what my "elevator guests" are thinking.... 
    Ahh - 5th floor.  Just 3 people in the elevator.  Myself and one couple.  The man was the one who'd interacted with me on the way up.  It was MY floor, but they were going on up to 6th.  So as we arrived, I looked at them rather sadly, and said:  "I'm sorry, this is my floor and I must exit.  However, if you prefer, I'll be more than glad to go on up with you and make sure you exit safely."  (so hard not to laugh or let a grin escape)  Well, the "sour-like" lady looked at me and said rather gruffly, "I think we can manage without your help."   Her husband was just about to die laughing, too.  But she was so serious.  He winked at me - and I took it to mean, that's for the entertainment!  After all, it was FREE!
    So, acting rather forlorn and sad, I exited the elevator and waved bye.  When I arrived in my Doctor's lobby - I was laughing almost uncontrollably... but managed to calm down to sign in.  Still all during the wait and etc.... I was dying to tell somebody or I would surely burst.  Finally the receptionist was freed up enough and I took the chance to spill it all out.  That left her laughing as well.  
    As I finished my appointment (dermatologist - I promise! not psychologist), and was getting ready to get back onto the elevator, I was SO disappointed to have to go down all 5 floors ALONE.  I don't know if someone warned folks not to ride the elevator or what happened.  But it kept me smiling all day long.
    I have a feeling the last couple whom I tried to assist -- may have had to go to marriage counseling afterward because I bet the wife thought I was flirting with her husband.  HAAA!!! 
    I, like you Tommy, love making folks smile - even if it's at my great expense.  But for some reason - my spouse, kids, and friends tend to warn me to please NOT embarrass them "this time."  And for the life of me - I can't figure out how they think it would embarrass them?  I'm the nut?  
    Oh well.  Got this ability from my preacher Daddy -- who had a sense of humor to die for.  He was quite a joker, loved people,  and loved to pull a prank at least once a week.  However --- it never embarrassed me. I loved it!  Thank goodness!
    (I may not be able to tell this well enough for folks to get the idea --- so if you need to edit, do so!  Sometimes, you just have to "be there" -- right?)






From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Fighting Retirement

Linda (Isbell) Creek

Class of ‘64

    When I read your article on “Fighting Retirement Boredom”, the first person from our class who came to mind was Lehman Williams.  Do I really need to explain why?

    (Editor's Note: The classmate that first came to mind as the one who would most likely do this is unfortunately no longer with us. I could not help but picture Terry Preston, LHS '64, in this situation and know that he would jump at the opportunity to pull that stunt off.

    If I had to pick another one, and since I am the one who asked the question so I feel I must, my second choice would be Niles Prestage, LHS '65, who could do a good job, but could never hold a candle to the way Terry could play the part.)


Something For Seniors

To Keep Those "Aging" Grey Cells Active!

1. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May....What was the third child's name?

2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers....What does he weigh?

3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered,...what was the highest mountain in the world?

4. How much dirt is there in a hole...that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?

5. What word in the English always spelled incorrectly?

6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer.....How is this possible?

7. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. ...Why not?

8. What was the President 's 1975?

9. If you were running a race,...and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?

10. Which is correct to say,..."The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?

11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field? 



Class of '64 - 50th Reunion
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