Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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May 7, 2021

Bubba and lessons from elders

A wise older fellow once told me that a man is judged by the friends with who he surrounds himself. At the time, I was a lot younger and might've had a shady character or three among those I could tip a cold beverage with. While I wouldn't say I disagreed, I wasn't sure his insight thrilled me either.
Last week, I was walking to the Post Office. (And by the way, I can't speak for other places but the great folks who work at our local Post Office are certainly not representative of those horror stories you hear about postal workers. From Beth to Debbie to Kelly to Steve and Jerry and on and on, these are great folks to work with. But I digress . . . ) Anyways, I was walking to the Post Office when one of the eight or nine regulars who read my ramblings stopped me and said they thought I was pretty lucky. As a guy who's gotten by far more on luck than any sort of talent, I couldn't agree more. Even so, I asked why, and was told that I have some great friends and they are a pleasure to read - Honest Hoosier, Bubba Castiron, John Hammer, the Bubbling Caldron, John Marlowe, Bill Boone, Karen Zach, Scott Smith, Neil Burk, Lori Poteet and others.
Like I said, I couldn't agree more.
That afternoon when my phone rang and I heard Bubba's distinctive twang on the other end I started thinking maybe I had jumped to too quick of a conclusion.
"Dadgum Timmons, y'all fixin' to move up in the world or something? I went by your old office and they said you moved to the Athena Center. Whoo-Eee, that's a nice move now. I'm gonna git over there real soon to check out those new digs."
I have no idea how or why Bubba finds the worst possible moment to call, but he does. I was on deadline and - as Bubba might say - the work was going about as fast as a herd of turtles heading for the creek.
"Listen Bubba, I'm kind of busy-"
"Timmons, I just wanted to tell you that I like that Notable Nineties list your paper is printing. That there is right nice of y'all to honor our elders. Good on y'all."
"Thanks, Bubba. I appreciate-"
"Did I ever tell you about my great-grandpappy Earl?"
Sometimes the quickest way to get Bubba off the phone is just to let him make his point. "Uh, no, Bubba. I don't believe you have."
"Well sir, he wouldn't more than made one of your Notable Nineties. When he finally went to see The Man upstairs, he was 118."
Since Bubba had trouble counting beyond fingers and toes I wasn't sure how reliable the 118 was.
"I still remember the family gathered 'round his death bed," Bubba said. "Grandpappy Earl was a laying in the bed and you could tell that every breath was a struggle. He always liked him a glass of warm milk before going to bed so Grandmammy Earl brought him a glass, thinking that might ease his mind a bit. He tried to take a sip but made a face and shook his head. Grandmammy Earl just got up and went back in the kitchen where she grabbed the jug and poured a little 'shine in. When she brought it back and held the glass to his lips he took a little sip. Then he took another. And another and before anyone knew it, he drained the whole glass.
"Well you could tell right away that even though it wasn't a miracle cure, it sure 'nuff helped. His eyes opened wider and he sat up a shade. One of the grandkids, thinking this might be their last chance to hear from him, leaned in and said, "Grandpappy Earl, what can you tell us before you shuttle off this morning's toils?"
Shuttle morning toils? I let it pass.
"Grandpappy Early gathered up his strength and leaned forward and in a voice just loud enough to be heard said, 'whatever you do, don't sell that cow.' "
"I've got work to do. Goodbye, Bubba."

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