Well, for one thing, he will be 85 tomorrow and, says his wife Elizabeth, “we’re hanging in there.”
In a column I wrote on Bill a few years back, I referred to his wife as his “queen.” He gets repaid in kind. “He’s the love of my life,” says the former Elizabeth Maul, a lovely young lady Bill met and married back in 1946.
He was an MP in the Army (three years) and, while stationed in Germany, spotted his intended at a Saturday night dance. A week later he was dating the young lady.
If the name sounds familiar to you, it should.
Bill, after leaving the service, put in 20 years with the Anniston Police Department (retiring as a sergeant), then 17 years as Weaver’s chief of police, and a final year as Jacksonville’s chief. After that, he went home to Elizabeth in one piece. That’s 41 years as a law officer.
I’ve known Bill for most of those years and he’s a good guy.
So ... Happy Birthday, “Chief” ... and hold the “queen.”
But there’s a smaller place just opened in the same shopping strip and I love the sign.
A top sign reads:
In the front windows, two stylish “arty” signs read:
Dead People’s Stuff
Or they may read:
Dead Folks’ Stuff
I’ve forgotten which, but either way is a classic.
The departed’s stuff is a few steps up from the old Walmart building and it’s pricey. But you got to admit the “bottom line” is to the point.
“Right now I think I will make three more trips up there instead of two,” he says.
So that’s this Friday, and the following two Fridays, Regions Bank in Oxford. It’s a 6 o’clock starting time, then the Anniston post office at 8 if any are left. He’s made it to Anniston just once this year with a crop that has fallen short of expectations.
I was there this past week at 5:55 and the place was covered with people.
My purchase was four baskets of a big yellow peach, maybe the best peach I’ve ever tasted.
“When I ordered the trees, I asked for a Loring,” says Ken. “If they don’t have what you order, they send the nearest thing.
“I think this peach is an August Prince.”
Dana is the hometown of the late Ernie Pyle, and I have all five of his books (collections) of his columns.
It is no secret I have a passion for Pyle’s writing. He is the first serious writer I ever read.
That came at age 12 and the book, “Home Country,” is a collection of his writings before World War II.
It belonged to an aunt of mine and I couldn’t put it down. I still have it (which I’ve told you before), but what I haven’t told you is Ernie and I are together again.
The old and battered “Home Country” is in my “library,” if you get my drift. Ernie and I visit daily.
Even after all these years, it’s still a heck of a read ...
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org