The early part of my life I grew up on military post in the '70s. On base there were many things to do. Swimming pools, places to learn arts and crafts, day centers where kids could shoot pool or play basket ball or foosball. To acess all these things a kid had to have a military dependent ID card, the only catch was a little dude had to be 10 years old to get one. When I was eight and nine years old I figured once I received my ID card I would be a man of the world. I did reach 10, much to the surprise of some, and the ID card did set me free! It changed my small world.
In 1976 my dad informed me that we were moving off base, to the country. I had never lived anywhere except on an Army base except summers I spent on my grandpa's farm. To help me adapt he bought me cassette tapes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Tom T Hall. He told my mom to buy me some boots, but that is another story-think dingo boots not cowboy boots. So we drove on, and on. I remember rounding a corner and my parents informing us...that is it on the hill. So we went from a duplex on a crowed street on Ft Hood Texas to 7 acres in the middle of central Texas, 50 miles from the nearest Mcdonalds . That kind of change does alter your world. So did going from a class size of 20 people to my graduating class of 8.
Has your mom ever warned you about running with the wrong crowd? Well that year 1976 she drug my butt to church in Gatesville. Our Sunday school class was Me and Larry, Jim Caldwell, Sheri Wright and Sheri Gordon, and Lou Langston, and if you don't know these people let me say this: among these I was the wrong crowd. Oh and every time I though I was done with church or Sunday school Sheri Gordon would bring Dyanna Adair and I was a regular again! That was church, three time a week. I went to Jonesboro highschool five times a week and you really cannot lose yourself in a class of eight or nine people. Through the years we had a person or two come or go but me,along with Heather and Lisa ( these girls deserve the medal of honor for putting up with us) Wayne Wallace and Thomas Everett Hill who we called Tom Tom because face it a class this small can have only one Thomas. Mark Breeden who despite trying hard to be a screw up ended up graduating from Annapolis. Ricky Helms fought me very hard to graduate 8th in our class but I am pretty sure my 2 in geometry put me at the bottom of our class. I hope he dosent read this since he has had a long career in law enforcement and might slap me in the slammer! A guy that was there most of the time but moved on named Robert Henson showed me that you could be a highschool tough guy without being a highschool bully. And Carl Beechly I still cant talk about much but I always said if I had a boy he would be named Carl. I met all these great people the year I moved to the country and being around really good people rubs off on a guy.
Most kids cant wait to get off work so they can go play. Me and Larry worked at the Town and Country Drive( still open called Last Drive in Picture show), so we never wanted off. And we never took off very often. The drive in was owned by Gene Palmer and run by his brother Don. If I was going to be caught in the Ground Hog Day dream I would just pick any day at the theatre and relive it day after day. Gene and Don and Cheryl treated all of idiots so good it really did change my life. Good times or bad they treated us good because that is their character. The Palmers did't have to try, or remember to treat people good they just did it. I think with out working for them I would be like that goober from Hell's Kitchen..I worked at the show until the day I joined the Army.
Many other things have changed my life but I have to wake up at 4am so I guess those are tales for another time. Why am I writing this tonight. In about an hour and 15 minutes my little boy turns 13. At times in my life I have been mean. I have been bad. Been broke. I have had good times and pretty low times, but since March 15 2000 I have been a dad. It truly is the only thing I have every taken seriously. I have had two marriages and divorces and both times I can take the blame. But I do have a love story that will last forever.
Happy birthday to my boy Carl Jordan Butler...eat cake!