I was trying to think of a topic for this week’s column, although I rarely actually have one, and I posed the question: what would my fans like to read about?
“You could poll ’em,” Bulletin managing editor Gene Deason suggested. “There aren’t that many.”
Are too. And I’m happy to report I gained a new fan recently – a Mr. Johnson, who is fan number 42 or 43. I’ve lost track. His wife and sister-in-law became fans long ago, and Mr. Johnson, a yoot soccer coach, said he has finally been won over by stories about all the other Johnsons and yoot sports.
“What did they teach you in school?”
That question came with a certain amount of incredulousness from my eldest born child, Johnson, now a sixth-grader at Brownwood Intermediate School.
What prompted his question? OK, so I was stumped at a couple of math questions when I looked over some of his practice work. So I had to axe him for help.
Well, it had something to do with geometry, don’t you know. I didn’t take geometry.
I told Gene a story about my school days, and axed how that might fit into a column.
After hearing this story, Gene said I may have the persona of a mild-mannered reporter – much like Clark Kent – I have another, secret persona: I sneak into phone booths and turn into the cat juggler.
The story goes like this: At Burkburnett Hah Skool, up near the banks of the Red River, I was a nondescript, unremarkable and under-achieving yoot. In speech class one day, I noticed a wooden match on the floor under my desk, and I axed myself: would this baby light off my boot heel?
I didn’t think so, but I had to find out. I gave it a quick strike, and to my disbelief, whoosh! She fired right up. Quickly I extinguished the match, but it was too late: the aroma of the briefly-lit match filled the room.
And Mrs. Hamilton demanded to know: who did that? I covered the remnant of the match with my boot, put my head on my desk – a common sight for me in those days – and pretended to ignore the uproar I had caused. Class must have been disrupted for a good 30 minutes as Mrs. Hamilton rounded up the usual suspects for questioning.
“Joe-Bubba, did you strike that match?”
“Naw, Miss Hamilton, it waddun’ me, honest!”
“It waddun’ me, Miss Hamilton!”
I was apparently the last stoodent she would suspect — not because I was so well behaved, but because I wasn’t really there. Well, I was there, but I wasn’t, if you know what I mean.
After class ended, Mrs. Hamilton investigated further and she spotted a tell-tale scorch mark on the floor beneath my desk. When she confronted me about it the next day, I guess she was done being mad because she just kind of shrugged and went about her business.
Burk had decent football teams in those days. My senior year, we played another school that starts with a “B.”
I remember the shouts around the school as we prepared for the game: “Beat Brownwood!” I might have been a mediocre student, but I bled orange and white, the color of the Bulldogs.
It was my first exposure to the Brownwood Lions, and I guess they were shouting “beat Burk” a little louder than we were shouting “beat Brownwood.” Final score: Brownwood 300, Burk 0, or something like that. I don’t think we knew what hit us.
The next year, though, after I had snuck out of school and enlisted in the Air Force, Burk beat Brownwood thanks to some nifty quarterbacking by a fellow named Sam Hancock. Gordon Wood mentioned that game and Hancock in his book “Coach of the Century.”
And BTW, I still don’t have a topic for this week’s column, so I went back into the files, and found this one that was originally published in October 2007.
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.