The 4 aged gentlemen stood by the creek that formed the boundary between the backyard and the woods. They chose a spot on the creek known as The Black Hole, that was back in the day.
The day was 30 years and some change ago.
Maddog looked looked down at the creek bank and strained his aging eyes to see the unmistakable ruts carved by wildly churning Mudder Tires of his modified Jeep. The only vehicle to make it through the Black Hole.
The 4 elders stood for maybe 2 hours reliving the glory days, recounting events with crystal clarity, well history is in the eye and the lips of the story teller.
One such story teller had a penchant for embellishing if not outright fabricating an event from the ancient past.
This was not something new like an excusable old age malady. This was a quirk that was deeply ingrained and readily accepted by his buddies. We learned to "trust but verify" everything Amos said.
The fact was all 4 story tellers trying to recollect stories from 40 years ago could not bear up under the weight of an outside fact checker, this had less to do with outright history revision and more to do with trying to recount events muddled by the fog of war and alcohol.
The 4 old friends talked the afternoon away with few pauses and only 2 beers consumed. It's said some things never change, but this was akin to alcohol heresy.
I am having an out of body experience, floating above The Black Hole and the 4 old geezers, one of which is me. We alternate the conversation from our Semi-true Stories to more serious and heartbreaking realizations.
Two hours ago we 4 stood around a hospital bed trying to make conversation with an old buddy that was plagued with a disease that bores holes in the brain and turns it into mush. It is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, also know as the human version of Mad Cow Desease.
I looked at the dry marker board that nurses write pertinent information on that hangs in the patients room.
It's usually got things like the day, month and nurses name so the patient can remained oriented and sometimes has notes for doctors written on it.
When we got to our old buddies room I looked at the board and noticed a note that I have never seen before.
At the bottom it read "responds to Wormy".
Despite the dire circumstances, that brought a brief smile.
I also thought it was amusing to have my old runnin buddies calling me Maddog all morning.
I haven't been called Maddog in a long long time. That nickname came not so much from my behavior back in the day. It was more because of the initials of my first and middle name. M. D. With translates MD 20/20 or Maddog 20/20 a favorite cheap get drunk quick malt liquor.
I walked up to the hospital bed and looked down at my old buddy. He was sound asleep snoring looking straight ip with his eyes wide open.
He is totally blind now so I figured it didn't make much difference.
I hollered at him "HEY WORMY IT'S MADDOD!"
That brought him around with a "huh?"
YEAH IT'S MADDOD, and Amos (Randy) and (A O) Joe and Kevin (Kevin).
I was surprised to hear him repeat all our names back to me. He had been totally out of it the day before.
He couldn't speak very well but we were able to understand him very well as we recounted old memories with him and he was lucid enough to bring back a few of his own.
I thought to myself this is a guy who life has kick around his whole time on Earth and it looks like he was going to finish up the same way.
Wormy never had much of a chance, his worthless lunatic mother walked out on the family when he was very young and his father really didn't have much to do with him growing up.
It's no wonder he grew up with a drinking problem and he had his buddies to assist with that habit.
Our saying about Wormy was, he would get drunk on 3 beers but he could drink a case after that.
He lived with me for a good while and we would all hit the bars pretty regular. Wormy was not a big guy but a few beers and he would fight a buzz saw. Or me on a few occasions.
But Wormy could be one of the most entertaining and witty guys to be around and could keep us all laughing.
I have to kick myself for not keeping in contact with him.
He still lived in The Valley where I grew up and since I moved back to Greenwood I kept saying I was going to go by and see him, I did go by there 10 days earlier, but he wasn't home. He was already here.
He had been living alone since his divorce some 30 plus years. His life was working, drinking beer and fishing, best fisherman I ever knew.
After we left the hospital we went back to our meeting place at Joe's house. We stood around and told old stories shaken loose from the cobwebs of our minds. Some of the stories told by the 4 old men refreshed my memory and brought back a nugget of crazy history that had lay dormant for many years.
In the case of one of the story tellers his was usually complete fabrications. .
Some of the events retold that day were in fact accurate.
But most were just semi-true stories.
Go read She Said here