Sharing a Memory About "Bud"
Welcome, Friends, to Another Time and Space
that most of people my age are either dead or in a state of forgetfulness. I do not know which is worse. If you want a true definition of worse, then one memory that surfaces is "Bud." Not Weiser. Not Wilkinson, "proud to be an Okie from Muskogee," but just plain "Bud," who did have a last name, an humble name mingled with integrity, but I cannot use it here for fear that some of his relations or pals might be alive (miracle) and read this and feel so depressed that they will not show their face in public.
In 1971, I was on top of the Hamilton High School roof, well no, I just told you that lie to boast on myself a little, so I had just passed the Alabama Driver's License examination and passed with "the skin of my teeth," as the Trooper told me as I killed the engine when my test was over. He meant it too. But in the years to come, I've never found out why an Alabama State Trooper was in full-uniform with his sidearm just to give nervous teenagers their driver's test. Was the Dept. of Safety, the governing body who called the shots for State Troopers, afraid that "we" the Young Generation would get into their car with the Trooper and mentally count to three then put their foot to the floor? Although no one ever tried it, I wonder if my life would have been remembered if I had tried it?
Think about it. The State Trooper, License Testor
on the passenger side and the whacked-out teenager who was more evil than rambunctious, yelling, power to the animals, and passing everything sight until the Trooper, with no other choice, pulled his .45 and put a couple of bullets into wild teen who would make Jim Morrison as tame as a Sunday School teacher in rural Mississippi, and think about his two choices: to take his chances and if the wild teen rammed another car or God forbid, jump from the moving vehicle which meant pure death not only for him, but the poor teenager who has just realized that LSD mixed with Wildcat Whiskey can cause anyone problems?
Then There Was "Bud." always cordial when he did his patrolman duties for the City of Hamilton where I live and retired from. At this writing, "Bud," has been deceased over five years from a cruel death by Cancer, and his sweet wife was left to carry on the name and help keep his memories alive for his sons, Ricky and Steve, who by the way, are not wild, but living productive lives helping to stay gainfully employed.
No time to discuss Ricky and Steve since this piece is about "Bud," because that is just what this hub is about--a soft-spoken city policeman who never pulled his gun no matter the situation. Not that he was a real-life Andy Taylor, it was if " Bud,"could solve a problem without his gun, then do it. And he did. But only to help someone who was bound for jail to stay at home and sober-up. " Bud" made lots of sense. His thinking about drunks were, as he told it, tough on a drunk to sober up in jail because of that awful stigma about policemen, their night sticks and .45s on their side. I wish that could publish the exact number of intoxicated people--young and old together who "Bud" worked to keep them home and not a statistic in the Hamilton, Ala. Jail, to be honest, the jail was not a bad gig to play. I never did. Or wanted to. Not as long as I knew that "Bud" on duty. I had that much respect for this man who never said ten words to me.
Years Went Like Lightning
and my life was more involved than I had expected—curfews, job hunting, studying, and looking for a girl to share my life. I was told one Thursday evening (prior to my graduation in May of 1972), that I would not be attending college because I told my dad that I would just get a job to help the family and I wish right here and now that you could see the look of relief on his face that to this time-frame, didn’t look and worried like most of the Older Generation who came up in the 40s.
My dad had come up knowing how to make a living with his hands and I give him credit for being able to fix automobile motors; lay blocks and brick; build houses and pretty much anything that anyone would ask him to do. I watched him work and I tried to mimic his work ethic, but fell flat on my face because I was fired from two jobs and left the other to go to work somewhere on my own and that went for 23 years and I grew thankful as the years went by.
But “Bud” The Policeman
soon had outgrown the Hamilton, Ala., City Police Force and went to work as a Deputy in the Marion County, Ala., Sheriff’s Dept., and even in his duties as a deputy, he carried himself in the same manner as he had with the City Police Force—quiet spoken, respectful, and still had the gift to let a drunk sleep it off at home rather than in some cold jail cell.
“Bud,” was no respecter of persons because if a guy was 17 or 47, and was seen as intoxicated in public behind the wheel, he was going to face some strict advice, but peppered with some sound advice: “don’t you know that your alcohol could kill someone out there and you too?” he was known to say and most drinking people would stay clear of “Bud,” and stay at home with their boozing. I suppose that there is a lesson for someone to learn. I somehow overlooked it.
One Night While I Was Talking
to my dad and not really talking about anything serious, the subject of the police came on his lips and before I could say what I was thinking about the police, he said that I never knew it, but he had told “Bud,” if he were on duty during the weekend, to keep a look-out for me and keep him from whatever trouble I might fall into.”
“Bud,” told my dad that he did see me along with my four friends and all we did was sit around our parked cars around our courthouse and talk. That was it. Talk. That sunk into me in a good way because even today, I still remember “Bud,” and one day when I leave this life, I want to meet him again and watch him on patrol in the celestial glories somewhere beyond life itself.
January 24, 2019_______________________________________
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© 2019 Kenneth Avery