Unexpected Encounter at Hilltop: 'Hershel' and Tim
My old buddy 'Hershel' (not his real given name) "Duck-and-Cover" (his 'real' surname), from back in the Ozarks, though a year ahead of me in school (and light-years in experience), ran into my brother Tim in a 'most-unexpected' place, an infamous shop just across the Arkansas-Misery state line, or as 'Hershel' tells it:
Took the poor feller some few seconds to recognize who was sayin', "Hey guy, how in the heck are ya doing?" Don't rightly know, he mighta been trying to stay undercover as he sneakily retrieved a 12-pack of Budweiser from the cooler. Wasn't gonna work though, he was clearly and transparently a Hodges. Besides, Hilltop is now in the ownership of Bruce Barker and even had it not been me recognized Tim, Bruce surely woulda.For those readers unaware, note that my hometown -- Salem, Arkansas -- lies in Fulton County, just north of the Izard County mentioned by 'Hershel,' and is a dry county, thus explaining why various denizens of Salem happened to show up simultaneously at the Missouri line liquor store, though if they bought anything (and it ain't clear they did), they surely consumed the beverages in Missouri (and slept them off there) or paid their taxes due before bringing the beverages across the state line. Though I think my brother would deserve to be fined anyway for bringing Budweiser into Arkansas!
It was good to chat with him -- I got him laughing after he said, "I heard you were living down in Calico Rock, or somewheres in Izard County." I explained how it'd been suggested to me I change my county of residence. Even without embellishments my little tale of woe had Tim and the entire sales-staff in stitches. Then I discovered Dwayne Bishop was standing behind me when he asked (too loudly in my opinion) "Was that what they were talking about on the radio when they said you'd set off an explosion in Melbourne?"
If the radio station had recently announced a Salem Schools Reunion at the liquor store, I missed that. Or maybe my internal biological clock has gotten me attuned to run out of beer at the same time everybody else from Salem runs out of beer too.
At any rate, Bruce Barker would have made sure that everybody remain otherwise law-abiding, for that quality runs in his family, his Uncle Roy Lee having formerly served as sheriff of Fulton County (as I experienced once when caught in a gray area of the law). The other fellow mentioned, Dwayne Bishop, was a few years my junior, but if I recall, he was a big strong fellow and a friend of Brother Shan (see photo).
As for 'Hershel' . . . the 'explosion' consisted merely of fireworks (if a powerful sort) set off in celebration, not malice, so he had to change residence only out of a misunderstanding, but he will surely be long remembered in our part of the Ozarks -- whether in Izard (where he was) or Fulton (where he is) -- for all of his stories and the stories about him, both the true and the more than true!