There is a group of old men who can be found most any afternoon at the Hardee’s on Marvyn Parkway in Opelika. I have already told you about some of them. But there are others you still need to meet.
There was Mr. Pratt. He took a liking to me. He would give me home-grown tomatoes. For some reason he couldn’t stand Bob Mount, who crashed the important table first, then came over to the peons’ table with “Have y’all heard the one about … ?” Pratt would mumble something like, “Damn college professor knows everything …” Pratt, too, got angry one time. I never did know exactly what about as I was coming in when he was going out. He muttered something about coming back with a shotgun or something. I forget what triggered the tantrum, but Pratt apparently got over it because he didn’t come back.
There was J.R. He’d rear back and proclaim, “I’ll tell you one thing …” There was the Door Man and Barnes and Young and the colonel. One day the subject of El Salvador came up. The colonel idly mused, “How do you get to El Salvador, anyway?” Quick as a flash, Jones said, “Go to Tallassee and turn left.”
As time went along, people started dying. Very inconsiderate of them, I think. As the ranks thinned down, the tables have merged into one, and some days even that one is not full. But people kept on being advanced to the next grade.
Even Smith T left us, much to my sorrow. I was just beginning to know what a fine person he was.
Sometimes important people would, and still do, stop by: politicians of all sorts and looks seeking the blessing of the Old Geezers; a mayor now and then; authors; fundraisers and others. The group does have some important people in it, like a retired Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and Husky, the Lord of Roamer’s Roost.
And there are the the hangers-on, who mostly stay quiet and listen. Come by and have a cup with us some afternoon.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at