P. TOP HOT DOG (86)

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame has just announced its 2014 class.   Wilson, N.C.’s  Lee Gliarmis is one of nine inductees.  WHAT A  GREAT CHOICE.   Boston may have had “Cheers” but Wilson has DICK’S HOT DOG STAND (“…where everyone knows your name”).   Establish in 1921 by Lee’s Father,  it is the heartbeat of the county.   And the straw that stirs the drink is COACH LEE.   Now in his mid-80’s,  this gentle man coached little league football and baseball for untold grateful Wilson youngsters.   The world is a better place in general, and North Carolina and Wilson  in particular, are blessed to have  Lee.  We are all grateful.  Thanks, Coach, and congratulations.

PIER GROUPIE (75)

I have lived seven years at Emerald Isle, N.C.   People often ask what I do.   One favorite pastime is our fishing pier.   Most of the time, and year, it is a docile scene.    If the fishermen/women are sitting down and the fish cleaning table is vacant, nothing is biting.    Even then it is magic to me.   The sea changes are fascinating.   Sunsets, sunrises, and nights are the best.   The people will talk more when things are slow.   Those I call “food fishers” are more serious.   Most are recreational fishers.   There is one guy who is our #1.   He can tell you a lot.   And will.
I’ve seen too many interesting things to mention them all.  Here  are a few :    A 130lb woman catching a 140lb tarpon.   Took two hours.    Seven foot sharks 30 yards from unconcerned surfers (or sharks).   When any species (Hatteras blues, blues, spots, red drum, black drum, pompano, etc.) decide to show up, things get to be a lot of fun.   The most impressive scene I’ve witnessed (not the thongs or tattoos), features the fish that don’t bite–mullets.    The “mullet blow ” is quite a show. Only once have I been on the pier when the “mullet blow” came through.   It was 11am.   I asked a fisherman how long they had been coming?   He said he’d had been fishing since 8am and nothing had changed.   From the pier for 300 yards sideways the sea was black with fish.   From the east they swam down the shore line, but took a hard left at pier.   Wouldn’t swim under the pier, but at the end of the pier they took a hard right, back to the west.   Every so often, at meticulous intervals they would jump out of the ocean, turning from black to silver.   I had seen the locals with tractors and long large nets.   Haul them in by the tons.   I mentioned “tractoring” them in, to the pier group.   There are lots of fish tails/tales at the pier: An “old salt” said he was here one morning during the “mullet blow” when one of the tractors wouldn’t run.   So–the gang of fishermen attached one end of the net to the working tractor and the other to a Cadillac Escalade with four wheel drive.   Upon tractoring the engorged net full of fish toward the shore, the fish altered the course of the Escalade, from inshore to offshore. (“… every now and then, the cow eats the butcher.”—Scope Wallace).   The guy said they cut the Escalade cable just in time.
I mentioned Mrs. Mildred Southern and her talk upon her induction to the North Carolina Sports Hall oF Fame in an earlier article. (article #72-ATHLETIC BANQUETS-PART 2).   Her reason for her many tennis involvements she said was due to the joy on one youngster’s face, that she was helping.   The ocean in general, and our pier have a lot to offer.    To watch a child catch a fish.   Any fish.   Now that’s a worthwhile way to spend your retirement.

Q. RASSLIN WITH BUDDY

Buddy had flaws, but he got things done. The football stadium at Fike High School bears his name.
He was loud, chubby, smoked constantly, and got right up next to you to talk. With each point of emphasis he’d bump you with her considerable girth.
Buddy ascended to the role of “Godfather” to a Damon Runyan bunch of Southern characters. Here are a couple of “Buddy Stories,: and some of his Wilson “Buddies”.
The UNC Education Foundation booked a trip to Hawaii in 1972, for the “Rainbow” basketball tournament. Carolina fans by the plane full. Imagine. Any- way Margaret and I were asked along with Pete and the Boykins, Faye and “Coun- try.” We were “fillers” to make the required number.
We stayed in the “Royal Hawaiian” or the old pink landmark hotel. It was lovely. Upon checking out Buddy was presented with a bill for 50 cents for each call made within the hotel. This was a policy many hotels instituted later, but it was new to Buddy, who owned “The Heart of Wilson”, Wilson’s top motel.
And it was no small bill. Buddy knew everyone on the plane, orchestrated the whole weeks activities, and talked over the phone constantly anyway.
Buddy confronted the desk clerk. They exchanged arguments. Finally Buddy said, “Well, I own a motel and we certainly don’t charge any such ridiculous fee!”
The clerk puffed up and said, “Sir, is your motel this large?” “The telephones are the same size”, Buddy countered.

R. POSSUM( 351)

 

Found this old e-mail to my friend , Watson  “Possum” Hale.   Watson is one of eastern North Carolina’s great story tellers:
Dr. Dick Pittman JR.’s wife’s obit is in todays paper. Perhaps the most revered property in the history of Wilson for a college student was the downstairs apartment at Dr. Pittman Sr.’s home on Raleigh Road. Some how you and Smithwick got the apartment for one of your record setting summer school re-admission requirements.
Visiting my teammates John Eskew and Jack Boyd, fellow ACC summer school sweethearts, they led me to the first MAN CAVE, aka the Pittman apartment.
We could hardly find a place to park.  The “Firedome” was in slot one, with two tickets on the windshield.  Upon entering the cave and the party I thought,  “…the fire department doesn’t know about this. Nor the college or the Pittmans. Later on the bar scene from STAR WARS reminded me of that evening.
On a subsequent occasion I asked you guys if the Pittmans had any idea what was going  on down there?  “Hell they joined in.  Dr. Pittman was worse than any of us!”
Tales about Wilson  and the Pittman crowd flowed, followed by fact that you had to watch them,  rather than the other way around.
One scene had you guys outside the door when Lula Norris  (Senior’s wife) was too drunk to get through the door.  Dr. Pittman:  “God dammit, Lula Norris, get you ass inside and up to the bedroom!”
Later I lived in Wilson 25 years.  Got to know Dick Jr. pretty well.  Also a character of note.  Jimmy Pittman just watched and laughed them.
I hope this is about right.  I can’t do justice to you, Wilson, Kinston, story tellers  Later Earl I joined the Elk’s Club.  The Pittman legacy was widespread.  Everyone had  Doctor Pittman story.
Glad I was a witness.   a friend to you,  POSS.
ps.  Russell Rawlings added that later a younger Bert Wiggins sort of ended things by setting off a cherry bomb in  their kitchen.

S. CPR

I was administering the CPR practical test to twenty-five or so students when the department secretary banged on the closed door.
“Coach Parham, Ron McKeel is in the parking lot, and he looks like he’s dying from a heart attack.”
My class looked at their noble instructor. No way out, I ran to the lot, and she was right. Or it looked like a heart attack.
I knelt down next to a fraternity brother, a friend, and my own “examination.” The eyes of seventy people who’d gathered were grading me.
“Tilt the head, open the airwaves”, was step one and I employed it properly. As I did I could sense Ron starting to puke as I turned his head. His breakfast eggs came up and out.
I remembered his serious diabetes problem, and we both began to breath better. The A.D. and basketball coach were watching, slightly green tinted.

T. DINNER TABLE CONVERSATIONS

I’ve met very few people with my last name. One was Walt Parham, an “older” Wilson Elks clubber. Walt asked Margaret and me to his Christmas party. There was one difference we realized, arriving at he and Polly’s home: These Parham’s had some money.
Walt was dressed in Xmas attire. Coat and holly berry tie. Red suspenders. The works. The “gentlemen”, including a minister, were invited into Walt’s den. It housed a few barrels of fine whiskey. We had a several samples.
The maid called fifteen or so to the dining room. Fine crystal, silverware, chandelier beaming.
During dinner the minister’s wife totally dominated the conversation, with some bull about a piece of land they’d bought. On and on.
Why me? But Walt asked “Cousin Tom,…do you know how a Pollock pulls up his sox?”
Had I a response, I could not have gotten it out, for wife Polly instructed, “Walt you can’t tell that joke.”
Obliging Walt attempted to change the subject. To no avail. Back came the minister’s wife with more about “the land.” Moments late: “Tommy, know how a Pollock pulls up his sox?” Polly, sternly, “Walt, No!”
By the time the wife started a third time, Margaret had had a couple of cham- pagnes. “Tommy do you….”
Before Polly could slug Walt, Margaret said, “Tell us how, Walt!”
Whereupon Mr. Walt Parham, stood back of his seat, dropped his trousers (revealing Christmas underwear that matched his tie), and pulled up his sox inside his lowered pants. He pulled up his pants, hitched up his belt and said firmly, “I don’t want to hear anymore about that land.”
Blood kin.
D

Telephones (68)

The tobacco market was the central business. The tobacco people were funny. Hell, everybody in Eastern North Carolina is funny. In the Piedmont the people were “nut gatherers”, or accomplishment oriented. People east of Raleigh got out of bed thinking of something funny to say. Buddy Bedgood told me that the fact that Yankees thought we were so dumb is what made them so easy to fool.

Next to two term Governor James B. Hunt I guess Buddy was the best known Wilsonian. He, wife Peggy and Jimmy and Tassie Dempsy were dyed in the wool Carolina fans. They befriended Dean Smith early, and he never forgot them. Before NCAA rules stopped them, the foursome hosted great tailgate parties, at Carolina football games. The basketball recruits all loved the Dempsys and the Bedgoods. I did too.

Buddy had flaws, but he got things done. The football stadium at Fike High School bears his name. He was loud, chubby, smoked constantly, and got right up next to you to talk. With each point of emphasis he’d bump you with her considerable girth.

The UNC Education Foundation booked a trip to Hawaii in 1972, for the “Rainbow” basketball tournament. Carolina fans by the plane full. Imagine. Anyway Margaret and I were asked along with Pete and the Boykins, Faye and “Country.” We were “fillers” to make the required number.

We stayed in the “Royal Hawaiian” or the old pink landmark hotel. It was lovely. Upon checking out Buddy was presented with a bill for 50 cents for each call made within the hotel. This was a policy many hotels instituted later, but it was new to Buddy, who owned “The Heart of Wilson,” Wilson’s top motel.

And it was no small bill. Buddy knew everyone on the plane, orchestrated the whole weeks activities, and talked over the phone constantly anyway.

Buddy confronted the desk clerk. They exchanged arguments. Finally Buddy said, “Well, I own a motel and we certainly don’t charge any such ridiculous fee!”

The clerk puffed up and said, “Sir, is your motel this large?” Buddy countered, “The telephones are the same size.”

The Old Coach (57)

In 1983 I had a “Swedish revolt” on my hands. I had learned about “morning acclimatization’s” from the NAIA Nationals. The Swedes want to sleep longer. Chief spokesman, Thomas Linne, was 6’5” and looked like Alice Cooper.
“Why we got to get up so early”? I explained what I knew to be true. This tournament was often won by those who handled the early rises best. Besides, what difference does it make if you get up at 5:15am rather than 6:00am, both hurt like hell.

Thomas and I went back and forth. My point was I knew this tournament better than he and his newcomer countrymen. I finally told Thomas about ten unlikely things that would happen in the tournament. “You crazy”, said Thomas. “I know these guys, they not going to lose to those guys.” He better than him!” “No way he loses” etc.

My teams had played Kansas City twenty times. Lo and behold about eight of those ten unlikely predictions came true. We won the NAIA in 1984. Flying home I asked Thomas what he learned from the experience. He wrote the backhanded compliment on a notebook I held: “I learned to listen to an old man who’d been there. Even if I thought he didn’t know very much.” I used this sentence to preface my coaching handbook.

V. PIER WALKING

Russell Rawlings and former Wilson mayor Ralph El Ramey ride around and eat a lot. Russell has to “walk the mayor” because Ralph eats so much.
At the beach Russell took the Mayor for a walk on the fishing pier, even though it was cold and windy. Only one guy was fishing.
Ralph talks to everybody. He asked the angler, “Are you catching anything?” Russell said the guy barely acknowledged with a “Naw.”
Ralph said, “Well it’s your own damn fault, Son. They’re in there.” He walked away.