Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old Friend, Donnie (Doc) Lee

I first met Doc around 1958 when his older brother Bob bought a farm from my mom and dad. This old farm was around the Tillman area. We became close friends and ran togather through the years. I graduated from BCHS in 1962 and Doc a couple years later. When I was in the 11th grade a new girl by the name of Billie Day Zimmerman moved in and started school there. Her and Doc started going togather and after they graduated got married. At this time we went seprate ways for a few years, Doc went north for a while and eventually returned and went to work on the railroad. I went into the Army and after 4 years returned to Bell City. I married Dorothy (Payne) Long and we rented a small house in BC. Well about this time Doc rented a house in BC about 100 ft from where we lived. Around this time in our lives we couldn't do much of anything without a 12 pack of beer, that is after we had already drank the tavern dry. Well one day after a few suds we ran into another lifelong friend by the name of Howard (shotgun) Abner. It was in the spring/summer and frog season was in so we deceided to go frog gigging that night. Naturally we had to have the old 12 pk to get started. Around 9 or 10 oclock we set out to some places we knew would have frogs. Now Doc and Shotgun were pretty good at frogging. They would wade out in the ponds and gig back into the bank. When a snake would get into their light they would take the gig and throw him out toward the bank and yell Finney here one for you. They ran me around the pond banks about all night. We eventually got around 60 frogs and had sobered up enough to go home. We took the frogs to Doc"s and started cleaning them. Well we were not in to good of a shape and was not really paying attention to what was happening. Some of the frogs that were not dead got loose and us not knowing it hid in the house. Well a couple days later Billie Day was cleaning the house and started the vacum which set off some of the frogs to bellowing. Now this scared the hell out of Billie, so she proceeded to call Doc and chew him out. The best I can remember Doc had to move all the furniture and do some house cleaning. We all got a big laugh out of this. About this time me and Doc deceided to go into the hog business. We rented a couple acres and built some fence and a hog pen. Well we didn't dnow anything about hogs and bought an old sow that was getting ready to have pigs from Cal Hoover. (I have written about Cal before.) Now the old sow had a disease called rhinitis, her old nose was turned up and she couldn't gain a pound if you fed her lead. Well she had a fine litter of pigs, about 10 but they were just like the old sow as they couldn"t gain any weight. So one day while I was at work Doc deceided we should sell the old sow and pigs so he loaded them up and started to to the sale barn at Poplar Bluff. Now naturally he had to stop by the old water"n hole at the old Hilltop tavern. After a visit there he moved a little farther south to another place we visited quiet often. Well after a few at each place he finally got to the sale barn, with an old sow and one little pig. To this day he swears he don't know what happened to the other pigs. But I always thought he traded them off for something. His dad Ted Lee said we didn't know enough about hogs to go to the store and buy a pound of bacon. A couple years later Doc bought a place out in the hills west of Bell City and one day deceided to have a BBQ. So all that came brought something to contribute to the party. His uncle Red Sears and his wife were there and his wife could really hold her drinks. Well Dearl and Toots Hess were there and Toots said she was going to keep up with Reds wife on the drinks. So it wasn"t long until Tots was out laying in the back of their car with her toes pointed up. We BBQ"D two goats that day and had a blast along with a huge hangover. Doc had a bad tractor accident about 3 months ago and we about lost him a couple times but I always knew he was to tough for a little thing like to stop him. Doc if you read this I hope it brings back some good memories and a few good chuckles.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sucking Eggs

This is a very true story told by one of the participents. After I came home from Viet Nam and got out of the Army I was drinking quiet a bit and took a job as a bartender at the old Hill Top tavern at the intersection of highway 25 and 91 5 miles west of Bell City, Mo. This was back in 1971-72 time frame. One of my old school mates was also tending bar there. We were working for Pat Bollinger and she didn't care if we drank after we got off work just as long as we were not drinking on the job. My old school mate was a guy by the name of Milford Cooper. Now Milf ran the bar in the daytime and I got the night shift. Back then this was a very busy place for a honky tonk and it was always packed, worse on rainy days. Back then we had all our old drinking buddies come through the door. So I was off one night and Milf was off that day. We got pretty tanked up before the end of the day. About probably 7 or 8 o"clock some friends came in. There names were James and Wilma Watts. They hadn't been married to long. After a few rounds and a few tear jerkers on the juke-box, the conversation turned to how some people could down a raw egg real easy. Well one challenge turned to another and finally we sent across the street for a couple dozen eggs. This was when the old cafe was still open where everyone went after drinking thereselves into a stuper. Well we got the eggs and another round of beer and proceded to try our hand at sucking eggs. Watts tried a couple times and finally got part of one down and the same thing with Wilma. I had egg yellow and white all over me. Milford tried to get part of one down, he tried it straight out of the shell, he tried knocking a small hole in the top of the egg and sucking it out, he tried mixing it in his beer, he tried putting lots of salt and pepper on it and nothing he done would let him get part or any of the egg down. He finally got mad and stuck a whole egg in his mouth and when he chomped down on that dam egg the sum bitch exploded and blowed egg all over the ones close to us and all over the table, floor and anything within ten foot of him. We looked like a bunch of idiots when it was all over. I am sure we all woke up with a huge hangover the next day, but at the time we called ourselves having fun. We were close friends back then and to this day we are still very close. We are older now and have a little more sence, I THINK. Will write more on the old HIll Top bunch later. I have many more stories about those days.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Everyone from Bell City knows what the old liar's bench is, for those that dont Ill splain it. The old liar's bench was an old long church type pew bench that sat in front of the pool hall/cafe. Here, mostly men would gather and shoot the bull. This was a daily and nightly thing just different folks at different times. One of the regulars was a guy named Ed Cockrell. He was a single guy and worked in Bloomfield in the county government offices. There was people like Big Boy Casey, my dad Raymond Finney, Henry McCulley and a guy I have weritten about before Herb Hoover just to name a very few that participated in the discussions and pulling pranks on others.
Back in the early 60's there was lots of rummors oing around the county of sightings of mountain lions in the area. Everyone was talking about seeing this or that. This all went on in the summer, fall and starting of winter. Now Bell City School had a superintendent by the name of Homer Kinder and he was very much involved with feeding the frenzy. He was always talking about someone seeing something.
Well after a very busy week of things being spotted all over the county, it was time for the men on the liar's beench to get involved. The township road district had been putting down some new red clay gravel on old highwas 25 which is still gravel. Now if you have nver driven in new gravel it will litterally suck your car and there you will be stuck as they say "in the mud". So Ed Cockrell and a couple others got the idea one wet winter night to call Homer and tell him about a Mountail Lion beeing treedout in the Swan Pond bottoms of highway 25. So Homer grabs his hat, he always wore aa hat and said come on Kenny,his step son "Kennith Hedges" lets get out there and see the lion. So here they went down old 25 Homer going much faster than he should on a gravel road when all of a sudden he comes upon the new gravel. He got about a 150 feet out in the gravel before it bogged him down. Well Homer and Kenny got out and had to walk to the nearest house they could find with a phone, as not all folks had a phone in those days. Homer called someone who in turn got in touch with I think Herb Hoover and asked im to go pull Homer out of the mud. Well Herb goes downtown and tries to get some of the liars bench people to go with him. Naturally Ed declined to go and when Herb left to retrive Homer, Ed went home. Ed denied he ever set Homer up but later on in life he would sit around and laugh about it.
This was just another night on the old Liar's Bench where I spent much time. And excuse my typing tonight I can't hit the right keys.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Storm 1967

It is snowing pretty hard here in Bloomfield at the present. We have already got about 2-3 inches. I dont think we are supposed to get much more. I am not crazy about this stuff anyway. It brings back to many, not so good memories. Like when I was a kid. We were as poor as old "Jobs Turkey". In the winter dad didn't get to work to much and things were tough. Snow ment less with each passing day. But we weren't by ourselves, a lot of families were in the same boat. Winters were hard on a lot of people back then. The cotton patch was a way of life for many. Hard and not to rewarding. So I joined the Army in 1967. I had been out of school for 5 years already and needed some change.
I took basic training in Ft Leonard Wood Mo. I really didn't mind it too much. I was about "well a lot lighter" than I am now and the training came easy for me. Basic was a breeze. Then I got sent to Ft Devens Mass for training in the Army Security Agency where I met some buddies that like me wasn't to smart when it came to things Military. So one cold night while we were having a snow storm we were put on guard duty. Now we were guarding the Ammo dump. We were a good 1/8 mile from any of the bunkers where the ammo was stored and it was 4 below zero with a good wind blowing. Well one of us guys got the great idea that we would build a fire, so we got out and picked up some firewood. We really had a good fire going and it felt good. We didn't even need our gloves and some of the other clothing to stay warm. Well about this time the sargeant of the guard and the officer of the day made their rounds to see how things were going. When they got to our post these sons a bitches went nuts. They, naturally made us extinguish the fire and proceeded to eat the ass out of our uniforms. What do you bastards think you are doing the sargeant yelled, blow this post off the map. Get your gear and report to the CO ASAP. We were in deep trouble but it was 4 below and we really didm't give a damn. The CO chewed for an hour and threatened to court martial us. He said if we werent headed for Viet Nam we would probably be headed for the stockade. We did get an article 15 which at the time cost each one of us 30 dollars and 14 days extra duty plus restriction for 14 days. Looking back now and knowing how cold it was that night I think I would still do the same thing. We were not close enough to cause any damage and we stayed warm for a while. I don't know what happened to the other guys after that but for me I stayed warm on one of the coldest nights of my life.