Mad Dog Marion and the Mad Dog Canine Cop – Albany, Georgia – My Home Town

Albany, Georgia – My Home Town. About 1960 or so. A place where the city fathers had gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide a number of entertainment venues for our fun and pleasure but we were spoiled and selfish and drummed up a myriad of different ways to entertain ourselves. We didn’t need any help.

police dog

This is undoubtedly what Marion faced in his, ‘Come to Jesus’ moment on the fateful night.

Police dog 2

The face that launched a thousand fears when he leaped on poor Marion.

One way was to get a clean gallon jug and go by The Four Points Drive-In and get it filled with cold beer straight from the tap. Now this may have happened after it was renamed ‘Little Ben’s’ or even later when all the different establishment names kind of ran together and, in fact, I really don’t remember all the names it had over the years.

I do remember Johann and I were flush because we had been working and we had found a five gallon demijohn in the old barn down from my house. I didn’t know it was called a demijohn. I always heard old people call it a jimmy-john so that’s what I called it. Anyhow it’s just a five gallon glass jug.

So we went by the drive-in and our man of the moment, Bruce the Juice, filled that five gallon jug with five gallons of draft beer and just charged us five bucks. What a deal.

We were off to the Arctic Bear Burger joint hang-out. We rarely would hang out there because we had other places we liked more but the Arctic Bear had the best food. Located on the corner of Slappey Boulevard and Oglethorpe Boulevard its high visibility was not a quality we were seeking because we were too young to be drinking cold beer out of a five gallon jug, or any other jug for that matter.

We were not greedy with our beer and as pals and buddies came by we would fill a cup for them. Pretty soon there was a pile of young guys milling around the parking lot. I don’t know where they came from but it was a peaceful and pleasant Sunday evening until a woman also appeared in the parking lot.

Someone said later she had been drinking but I found it hard to believe people would go out drinking on Sunday in Albany, Georgia. Not in my home town.

Anyhow she and some of the young guys commenced jaw-jacking back and forth. It was all friendly banter at first but then someone threw harsh and crude remarks into the friendly mix and their voices became angry and she said a few things to the guys and then the guys said a few things back to her and before you can say, ‘You’re soused,’ the guys had formed a big ring around her and were chanting old Irish ditties of scorn and derision for her benefit.

The gentleman who managed the Arctic Bear (I think his name was Mr. Freeman) saw fit to dial up the police. There was also a cop patrolling the mid-town mall with a large police dog who came over to join the festivities.

If you remember Albany in the late fifties and early sixties you will recall The Albany Police Department had done an excellent job of reinforcing their squad car strength with a fleet of Nash Ramblers. A Nash Rambler looked tame and lame when the boys in blue tried to squall sideways up into the Arctic Bear parking lot but when the officers leaped out and began to toss the guys into the back of the cars the sight of their guns more than made up for the comic appearance of their cars.

They brought three or four cars but they didn’t bring enough. Pretty soon the rear ends of those old Nash Ramblers were leveling out the rocks in the parking lot.

Johann and I were standing off to one side and I’m pretty sure we could have left and gone home but the night was early and I thought it would be fun to ride downtown with all the guys so I said to Johann, ‘I think I’ll go with them.’ Johann said, ‘Are you just damned nuts or what……..I think I’ll go too.’ So we lined up outside one of the Nash Ramblers and waited our turn to load up.

Suddenly I hear a bark and a howl of anguish. Now I was not getting loaded up in the car from where all the noise was coming but I felt pretty sure one of the guys just got chomped on by that big German Shepherd police dog. I’m not sure if the dog bit Marion or Marion bit the dog but there was a whole lot of hell raising going on in the next car over.

Sure enough old Marion did not move fast enough for that dog. The truth was there was not enough room in those cars to fit us all in and when Marion backed out of the car a little so he could take better aim at the door, the dog thought he was an escapee and bit him.

Marion was in excellent physical condition and played football on our state championship team so I knew he was fast and agile but that meant little to the dog. The dog did not know Marion and he was not aware Marion was in such good shape and could move real fast.

Anyhow they finally got us all packed into those little squad cars. I insisted on riding shotgun because I knew those cars were dragging and I convinced my driver that too much more weight on the rear end and the whole car would collapse or the gas tank could blow up and fry us all. Sure enough when the car ahead of us pulled out onto Oglethorpe the rear end was scraping the road and sparks were flying every time he hit a little bump.  They had to slow down. We looked like we were in a funeral procession we were moving so slow.

When we got downtown you have never heard so much bitching and moaning in your life. I’ll bet there were 25 or 30 guys milling around all loudly protesting and saying they were innocent and they hadn’t done anything and demanding a phone call and telling the police they wanted to call their mamas and their daddies and their lawyers and their doctors (I think Marion was demanding a doctor).

I stood off to one side with Johann and we enjoyed the show. I was right. This was way more fun than a movie or play but it didn’t last long. Officer Red Gore who was a long time city policeman came over to me and said, ‘Come with me.’ I followed him into the rest room and when we got inside he turned and said, ‘Can you get all these crazy little bastards out of here?’ I said, ‘Yassuh Mr. Red, I sho can.’ (Red Gore’s son Dean Gore was our classmate at AHS and Dean was also an Albany City Policeman for many years).

I walked out into the lobby area and told about five or six guys, ‘Let’s go, we’ve been told to leave and we’re getting out of here right now.’ I didn’t have to tell anybody twice. We poured out of the city jail so fast we looked like a bunch of guinea hens being chased by a fox.

I don’t remember what happened to Marion but it was no time before Johann and I received subpoenas to appear in court from the City of Albany because Marion’s Pop was suing the city for siccing that wolf-dog on him.

We went to court. Marion’s lawyer was making his case on the assertion that there had been no disturbance that evening that warranted a call to the police so there was no reason for a cop to come over from the mall with a big old wolf-like animal that wound up teaching Marion how to move even faster than normal.

Classmate after classmate sat on the stand and testified there was no real disturbance that Sunday evening.

Then it came time for me and Johann to answer the same questions. Both Johann and I chose to tell the truth. It looked like a pretty good sized crowd of rowdy boys raising hell to us.

Paul Keenan was the city attorney and in his summation he said the only two people who told the truth on the stand was Ben Swilley and Johann Bleicher. The City won the case.

Outside the courtroom one of the guys rushed up to me and demanded to know how much of a bribe did Johann and I accept from the city in exchange for our testimony. He wanted to know if we got some new shoes or a new suit.

I let it go. The guy was obviously delusional and years later he eventually drank himself to death.

Back at school the next week. I don’t recall any more harassment from the guys. If there was any it must not have lasted over thirty minutes because I don’t remember any at all.

I do still have questions that arise in my mind (where else would they arise?) from time to time about that whole episode. All the worry and consternation was over Marion’s wound but my main concern was the dog.

After the dog bit Marion I think I saw a piece of Marion’s ass hanging from the canine of the canine. I wonder if anybody ever cleaned that dog’s teeth. I wonder if the dog lived after biting Marion.I do sometimes wonder if Marion is afraid of dogs and I think one of his close friends told me he howls at a full moon ever since that dog bit him.

Rambler Police Car

Not an Abany City Police car but much like the same cars the police used to haul us to jail. They got about ten guys in one of those cars.

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Double Hump Day in Albany, Georgia – My Home Town

Camel

This is Mac getting her picture taken with Bogart the famous Bactrian camel. He is a brother to Humphrey Bogart. If you are an older person you might remember seeing both Bogart brothers in the famous movie, ‘Casablanca.’ Mac was not in the movie. She was too young.

Camel 3

This is a close up of Bogart, brother to Humphrey and Humphrey’s co-star in the movie, ‘Casablanca.’ Note the same manly space between his nostrils and the devilishly romantic length of his eyelashes.

 

Katie Mae and I have been married forty years in July. I just counted up and we have lived in nine towns or cities since we first so bravely said, ‘I Do.’ We are both natives of Albany, Georgia and although Albany has now fallen on harder times than when we lived there the good citizens never fail to amaze me with their dogged and never give up attitude when it comes to their continuing efforts to make it a great place to live.

We sometimes complain about conditions in our old home town and we love to reminisce about the way things were when we were young but you really have to stop and consider that a town the size of Albany has more things to do for young people than any place I can think of.

Radium Springs is only four or five miles from downtown and is the largest natural spring in Georgia. It retains the gracefully designed walls, walks and enclosures that once made it a showplace of the south. The water is generally a crystal clear blue and when the spring is pumping at its best it produces 70,000 gallons of water per minute at a constant 68 degrees.

Albany has a beautiful aquarium dubbed ‘The Riverquarium’ that’s brimming with examples of plants, shrubs, fish and reptiles all native to the area.

When we were kids, Albany had a zoo that could be compared with zoos in large cities. We had it all. Gators, an anaconda, other reptiles, monkeys, a crazy chimpanzee, ferocious psychotic baboons, blubbery manatees, otters, swans, an elephant, a buffalo that looked like an American bison, big cats, and a donkey. There were exotic eagles from Africa and South America. We even had a lion that could hike his rear end high in the air on the chain link fence enclosure and urinate a stream like it came from a fire hose and woe be it to the poor spectator standing there in the front of the cage with mouth agape.

Later the animals were all transferred out into the county to Chehaw State Park where a huge area had been converted into natural habitats for all the wild animals.

And here is where my cue came in and rapped its knuckles on my thick skull to wake me and remind me that the governing fathers of Albany and its surrounding area are still at it. Even in these trying times they have produced a great new addition to Chehaw. If you live near there be sure to stop in and say hello to Bogart, the Bactrian camel in his new house.

Bogart has a set of lips you won’t believe. He can twist and screw up his lips so they look like a long straw and he can empty a 55 gallon drum full of water in just a few minutes.

But the greatest thing about Bogart is he has two humps. He is an Eastern Asia camel so that makes him eligible for a second hump. Dromedaries are from Western Asia and Northern Africa and they have only one hump. So now you know all you need to know about hump-backed camels.

We asked our young friend Mac, who is pictured above admiring Bogart, how she likes the new camel. She said she loved Bogart but the whole thing makes her kind of sad.

We said, ‘Sad, how in the world can Bogart make you sad?’

And she said, ‘People who have a hump day have hump day only one time a week on Wednesday but poor old Bogart has a double-hump day every day of his life.

It makes good sense to me and I don’t think Mac will be sad too long. I know I won’t.

Camel 2

Bogart checking out his new digs at The Parks at Chehaw – Wild Animal Park.

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Yo footbone is connected to yo headbone.

cow who moos shoes

My filled prescription for corrective shoes from the old people’s shoe store.

foot bones

There’s more than foot bones here but the podiatrist’s model of just the foot bones looks a lot like this to me. I think I see a couple of shoulder blades in there.

They’ve been telling me for three or four years that I am pre-diabetic. I just read that the ‘pre’ designation doesn’t mean a whole lot and if you’re diabetic you are diabetic ‘period.’  You may not know about the pros or cons of the ‘pre’ disagreement but I’ll bet you have heard that ‘period’ quote a lot lately, ‘period.’

Anyhow I have used those little strips for testing my blood sugar for years and they tell me that I am on the better side of the borderline when it comes to being diabetic.

Recently I cut my toenails and I did not do a pretty job. One reason is I’m so blind that I can’t see my toes. I cut too close to the outer edge on each corner of the big toe nails. Apparently a small amount of blood collected there and turned black. My dried blood, even that under the skin, has always been a lovely shade of burgamint as my secretary used to call it.

Black blood made me uneasy, being ‘pre-diabetic’ and all. I thought I might have a touch of gangrene and when you get gangrene I don’t think you can have the ‘pre’-gangrenous type. When you get it people in white coats with sharp pruning knives want to relieve you of toes and other much needed appendages. I was also having sharp pains in the ball of my right foot and I was beginning to suspect they might just want to take the whole foot off and if this stuff has spread they also would get the left foot as a bonus cut.

Well the guy with the model-of-the-bones-of-the-foot took a look at my toes and he said, ‘That’s dried blood.’ Wow, the first bullet was dodged in a flash. Almost but not quite a flash. I thought this guy was eventually going to name all those foot bones so I yawned and feigned sleep and almost fell off the examining table.

He steadied me and said, ‘Now let’s take a look at that sore spot on the bottom of your foot.’ I was sure this was a big ball of gangrene waiting to attack my right leg up to the groin but I was still winning at dodging bullets. He grabs that model of all those loose bones and points to one of the metatarsals and says, ‘It is not a growth it’s this bone right here that is driving you nuts. It would be perfectly okay but you walk like a Turkish goatherd who has never been on flat land.

He told me I was slew-footed, pigeon-toed, knock-kneed and extremely ugly. I didn’t care. I was superb at dodging bullets and that’s all that really mattered at the moment.

So how does all this prove yo foot bone is connected to yo head bone? It’s easy.Every time I took a step on the ball of that right foot my head told me my foot hurt. Now don’t try to tell me different. If my theory is no good then you think about this; why do your eyes water and your nose starts running when you stub your toe on a door jamb. Now how could that not happen if yo foot bone and yo head bone were not directly connected?

How to ruin your feet.

How to ruin your feet. Do not wear this type of shoe if you normally wear a size 12 in a man’s shoe.

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How to embarrass your feet

How to embarrass your feet….and the rest of your body. Do not wear these ever… or the shorts….ever.

 

For Nicky Lewis From Johann Bleicher – Albany, Georgia – My Home Town

Your very mention of ‘banana knife’ sent a shiver thru me and a pain to my right index finger. Seriously! One Spring day in ’61 I got paid from Radium Springs,hitch hiked to town,saw The West Side Story(all Hispanics live on the west side of towns,Nick) and was compelled to stop by the pawn shop to purchase a long,narrow bladed knife.Back at Radium behind the concession stand and filled with the illusion that I could move like Riff(Russ Tamblyn) and that Anita(Rita Moreno) would lust for me upon witnessing me skewer a coke cup with my blade, I proceeded: Cup on counter, knife in hand, an acrobatic head dodge and thrust! A very low thrust that stuck the counter sliding my sweaty hand forward and my finger along the blade.HOLY SHIT!! I still have the scar and never again postured as a PuertoRicanPachucopugilistpunk. And I never really liked AnitaRita all that much anyway.
But tomorrow Nicky,the collar gets flipped,at least for a day,in honor of one whose character far transcended style. Johann.

What Johann said in his first paragraph perfectly describes the high level of Nick’s inherent good character: he had an unusually kind disposition. The friendship he offered was always easy and he was, indeed, the essence of ‘cool.’

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Vic Miller, Johann Bleicher – Ellijay, GA 2012

 

 

 

 

Dan Holloway and How to Get Layed in Sowega.

You just can’t keep a good man out of the limelight. Dan Holloway of Albany, Georgia spent many years actually getting people to pay him for gas. He evidently had the best gas around because not only did people came from far and wide to get his gas, he went out and bought big trucks so he could go to them and unload his gas right into their home receptacles. Some folks will do anything for gas and Dan, even though a little bit retired, is still gassing folks all around Albany.

Now Dan is in the “Lay” business. That is a South Georgian’s unique way to spell “Lei”. The model below may show some wear and tear from a misspent youth but there is nothing old and worn out about Dan Holloway’s ‘Lays.’ You can see it’s logically constructed from goobers and pee-cans. I understand the supply is limited. If you’ve just got to have one, don’t kill for it. Let me know and I’ll check with Dan to see if his inventory is holding out.

He says, “Why pay thousands of dollars to fly to Hawaii and get layed when you can get a Southwest Georgia Peanut and Pecan lay for only $13.95. Now that’s cooking with gas, podnahs.

Dan is the master mind marketeer for this product in cahoots with founder and designer David Akstulewicz of national fruit and nut jewelry design fame.

I’m keeping mine in a safety deposit box at the bank. If you are wearing yours in Southwest Georgia and you have to leave and go far away you take off your lay and drive out into the middle of a big peanut field. Drive in a huge circle and throw your lay out the window. If the lay blows back into the side of your car in a big dust cloud from the peanut field it means you are an idiot and should never return. You shouldn’t be driving a car either.

Any respectable Southern boy should be proud to wear Dan’s ‘Lay.’ It’s made from the food sources that have kept us alive for many, many years. Thank you Dan Holloway for helping us pay tribute to Peanuts and Pecans………….and for keeping us gassed a long,long time.

Ben in Dan's Necklace

Kay and I fought over this necklace. I called it a necklace and she slapped me across the bald head with it. Then we both tried to put it on at the same time and now I have big scratches on the top of my head and a knot the size of a softball on my forehead but you see who seized and saved the lay.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Let Your Dogs See You Naked.

dog on motorcycle

This is animal abuse of the worst kind. You wait until I tell the SPCA what you’ve done to me. All my friends ride in big pickup trucks, SUV’s and at least compact cars .Look what you’ve got me in. You could kill me like this!

dog at computer

I’ve even got all their passwords. They keep muttering them over and over between curses. You should see what he’s been watching on YouTube and you won’t believe who she’s been private messaging.

 

Are you a dog lover? Do you have a dog or two around the house? This should be happy news for you if you love your dog.

Many of you chat with your sweet puppy everyday but are you sure you know what the dog is saying to you in return?

You’ll soon know what Rover thinks about what you’re saying and you very possibly may have the great opportunity of having him tell you himself.

Scandinavian scientists are working on a design of special earphones that can be snapped to your dog’s head. Snapped is just a figure of speech. I don’t think they actually implant snaps in a dog’s head but you get the picture.

They are analyzing waves, patterns and electronic signals emitted by the dog’s brain and supposedly they can determine if the dog is slightly melancholy, deeply sad, grieving uncontrollably or uproariously happy.

Soon dogs will be transmitting their brain waves into computers that can transform the electronic signals into real words. You will be able to understand your pet’s needs immediately. This is wonderful. Could life with old Spot and Fido be more perfect? Won’t it be wonderful that we will know exactly what dogs are thinking and their thoughts can be interpreted by computers and the animals will be able to voice their concerns and converse with us? Won’t this make it a more wonderful world for all of us?

dressed up dog

I guess you think this is pretty funny. Just remember who’s eating snacks under the table when you have your poker buddies over. I might have to drop a line about how I catch you cross-dressing every night.

Oh, but wait. Let’s back up and give this whole idea a little more thought. Do you really want to know what your poodle is thinking? What if you have the girls over to play bridge and your poodle innocently says to you, ‘You know Mildred, you have the worst breath?’ The dog doesn’t know any better. Who ever taught manners to a dog? And to think you get this horrific insult from an animal who delights in licking her own fanny. I wouldn’t be surprised if the poodle has worse breath than you do.

imagine having a cocktail party and you find one of your guests sitting on the floor in a back bedroom talking to your two schnauzers and the dogs are telling her how bad you look without any clothes. Can’t you just hear the dogs snickering and giggling over your jiggling rolls of fat and that big wart on your left fanny cheek that’s shaped like the state of Rhode Island.

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Just give it serious thought. Don’t ever let your dog see you naked and forget about ever, ever talking to your pooch. Your talking dog could define the most embarrassing moment in your life. Don’t do it.

 

 

A Goodbye to Nick Lewis – Albany, Georgia – My Home Town

Ben and Nick at Chehaw 2

Chehaw Park – Raymond Barlow’s famous 50.5 Reunion of 1960 AHS graduating class. Two and a half years after our 50th reunion in 2010. Nick and Ben

Nick Reunion

1960 AHS Reunion – Fairgrounds – 2010 – Albany Georgia – From Left – Nick Lewis, Ben Swilley, Vic Miller, Chan Chandler.

Ben and Nick at Chehaw

Another picture at Chehaw State Park – 2012

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Undated picture – Nicky Lewis probably Albany Junior High School in mid 1950’s..

50th Class Reunion 104

Nick sporting clown teeth 2010 – AHS 50th reunion with Rose Hancock Kemp

50th Class Reunion 070

2010 – Radium Springs-Albany, Georgia-AHS 50th reunion of Class of 1960. With Sister Miller, Rose Hancock Kemp, Ben and Nick.

50th Class Reunion 078

Radium Springs 1960 AHS reunion – 2010 – Ben, Spencer Lee, Nick Lewis.

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Nick and Linda Gray. Linda has also passed away after enduring a long battle with cancer. Rest in Peace Linda and Nick.

50th Class Reunion 080

50th class reunion AHS 1960. The group is pictured in front of the “boil” which is the source of beautiful Radium Springs.

 

Tomorrow in Jacksonville, Florida friends and relatives of Nickson Bruce Lewis will gather to memorialize and commemorate his life as they say goodbye to him. After battling a debilitating brain tumor for almost four years Nick left us Wednesday February 12. The eight years between the passing of his lovely wife Marsha Lynette Lewis and the time Nick’s brain tumor was discovered now seem so incredibly brief. Nick and Marsha had endured her fight with cancer for over fourteen years before she passed away.

But the time I want to strive to remember is the time of our youth. The time when we were growing up in Albany, Georgia.

The first time I ever saw Nicky Lewis it was a shock to my little self-centered red-necked existence. It was 1956 at Albany Junior High School. I was from the east side of the river and I think life was much

 

slower than it was for the cool cats on the west side and if there really was such a thing as a cool cat, his name was Nicky Lewis.

My memory is very dim at times but I believe the only Hispanics and Latinos we ever saw were in the movies. Nick Lewis looked exactly like a Pachuco and a Pachuco to us back then was a Hispanic gang member. They had a small tattoo in the webbed area between their thumb and forefingers that, as I recall, looked like a spider or a spider web. We only knew one guy like that and he was a phony because the biggest wus in our class whipped the Pachuco’s fanny one night after we got to high school. Shortly after the whupping the Pachuco left town.

Anyhow that’s how Nicky Lewis looked. He looked exactly like a banana knife wielding Hispanic killer. He had coal black hair combed into a neat, chiseled duck tail. There was not a Vaseline covered hair out of place. He was a fearsome looking dude. I always gave him a wide berth until one day in the restroom I missed the urinal and wet down one of his black engineer boots. You know, the boot with the single strap and the silver buckle across the top of the instep.

I thought then, “Oh my precious Lord, please do not let this greaser cut off my head with a banana knife.” I looked down at his shoe and then up at him and he was laughing so hard he almost fell into his urinal. I didn’t know what to think but he helped me out by saying, “You can’t see very well, can you?” I answered, “I can’t see at all on odd days of the week.” It was a Wednesday. He said, If you would step over to that sink and wash all of that crap out of your eyes, you might be able to catch an occasional glimmer of light.”

We were steadfast friends from that moment on and I can tell you a nicer, more gentlemanly and kinder Pachuco never lived.

I never really asked him why he had adopted the persona of a really bad Hispanic hoodlum but I will always believe that he was basically such a good person that the way he dressed and looked afforded him protection and grief from older, bigger guys because they were more afraid of him than we were.

These were the James Dean, “Rebel Without a Cause ” years. Everybody wore a red jacket like Dean wore in the movie or they got as close as they could get to that shade of red. The black engineer boots were hard to find because so many teen-agers were buying them. White T-shirts were hot items in department stores for years after the movie was released.

Just prior to the movie hitting the theaters, kids were shod mostly with black and white saddle oxford shoes. Everybody wore combinations of pink and black. The girls wore those ankle length black a-line skirts with a big pink poodle appliqué stuck on it. Even Elvis loved pink and black. His managers got him to hug a girl or two while he was wearing pink and black just so we would all know he was straight.

So it was a squeaky clean Pat Boone kind of world until James Dean and company topped our horizon driving a 1949 black, blocked, chopped, and dropped Mercury.

After that it was a Nick Lewis kind of world and he sauntered and moseyed into it dressed exactly like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.”

He was one of a kind and totally the opposite from the image he conveyed at your first sight of him.

I keep hearing that old adage, “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” and it’s not Bo Diddley I hear singing it. It’s the voice of Montine Martin my favorite teacher at Albany Junior High School who taught me so much about people in such a short time.

She told me that after I had told her Nicky Lewis was a super-good person and lots of people had pegged him wrong because of the way he dressed. I failed to mention to her that I had become his friend by peeing on his foot in the restroom. I didn’t feel it appropriate to share that with her.

Goodbye Nick. I wish I could be there for the memorial service. You were always much loved my man and the memory will not die while we still live. I keep hearing the Mills Brothers singing, “The Song Has Ended But the Melody Lingers On.” And that it will my old friend; The memory and the melody will go on and on and on.

 

 

My Tooth Fairy Was Dracula.

Dracula 3

I’m not sure which of the old Draculas we have here but this guy was pretty smooth. She looks like she might have been having a good time but then when you lose a lot of blood I understand you tend to get a trifle faint.

The scarier ones are always in color. That way you   know exactly where he’s looking and you can feel your jugular vein twitch because you know he needs to replenish his blood plasma and fresh platelets from your priming pump.

Dracula 2 Has it ever occurred to you that you can get an old tooth pulled, have it cleaned and polished up and slapped back in your head and it will continue to flourish and grow and someday it will once again become a  productive contributing member to the rapidly diminishing community of usable teeth you possess. No? Well it didn’t occur to me either.

You too can have an incisor re-implanted in your jaw just as I did. This is a true story with little to no embellishment. It’s too weird to be a lie.

It began with an abscessed tooth on the lower front. It was bad. I knew it was bad because it scared the hell out of my dentist and he said so. He said he was afraid to touch it. The area beneath my tongue was so swollen my tongue was protruding like one on a hungry pig. I tend to watch a dentist’s eyes and I saw fear in this fellow’s eyes. I thought he was scared I had cancer.He prescribed me antibiotics and sent me to an endodontist in another town.

The new dentist said as soon as the infection cleared that it might not happen again and if it did it might be a pretty good while before that happened. He was wrong. It abscessed again in a couple of weeks. Antibiotics saved me again and now the dentist tells me it will happen again and he will try something new.

That tooth abscessed four times before the new man told me he was very successful ten or twelve times each year pulling a tooth and cleaning up the tooth and the socket from which it sprang and putting it back in the patient’s jaw. He said new bone would form around the tooth and it would work once again.

I should have known better. This endodontist was a great guy. I really enjoyed talking to him but I noticed his office staff had at least two kinds of audial pollution blaring in his office. They had a TV roaring out front and some kind of funky rock on a radio. I was beginning to worry that his brain might be somewhat scrambled.

Another thing that bothered me was the guy never wore socks. Rumor had it his partner did not wear shoes when he worked on patients. Maybe I had the best one. At least he wound up with the shoes.

He did his magic on the tooth and he wired the tooth to adjoining teeth to keep it in place while all this new miraculous bone formed around to make it as solid as a rock. For one year I went back and forth to the endodontist who faithfully x-rayed the tooth and told me each time we needed to leave the tooth in a while longer. It was pretty obvious my jaw-bone growth was not cooperating with me and the dentist.

I moved to Athens, Georgia and got a friend in my old home town of Albany, Georgia who happens to be one of the world’s best dentists to take the wire off my teeth. Only a few months later the tooth bit the proverbial dust, or in this case, the corn pone. The corn pone was pretty hard. It was harder than the new bone that was supposed to have formed around the hapless tooth.

The broken off tooth did not come out of my jaw. I had to go see a (guess what) yep a dentist. Then my real problems began.

A cardiologist told me I had afib which is atrial fibrillation. Because the heart valves all become tired of each other they refuse to beat in rhythm. You can help control the thickness of your blood by taking coumadin which is warfarin which is rat poison and is the active ingredient in D-Con (that’s right, rat poison). Warfarin thins the blood.

They have a coumadin clinic where they often check your blood so they can tell if it’s of the proper consistency. Too thin, you can bleed to death. Too thick, you can have a heart attack or stroke from a blood clot.

The new dentist would not pull the tooth until I had just the right amount of thick in my blood. I thought he was being overly cautious. I was wrong. We finally hit his number on the INR chart that guides you through life with bloody warnings of too thick or too thin.

So the first thing I asked the new dentist was does he wear socks to work and he said, “Oh, yes sir, I always have my socks on at work.”

So he pulled the tooth and everything was cool. I went home and I felt fine. The dentist’s nurse called and wanted to know how I was doing and how I felt. I told them I felt fine and I was fine at that particular moment.

Thirty minutes later I was bleeding from that socket like a stuck pig. I bled for eight or ten straight hours and at the risk of being totally gross I can tell you if you bleed like that in your mouth and you continually pack your mouth full of gauze, the gauze will turn horribly black from the old blood.

I was up and down all night .I looked under my bed several times for Dracula. I never saw him but I’m pretty sure he was nearby the whole time. I would have been a feast for him but he could tell I was scared and if you scare me I will beat you half to death with a sharp stake right before I drive it through your sorry heart.

And that’s my sad story. The really pathetic part is I’m about five grand shy from doctoring a tooth I never could stand. It was the ugliest tooth in my mouth and I always hated it. Well it got me back for all that ill will I dealt it over the years. It cost me five thousand dollars to get rid of it.

This should be a good lesson for all of you old timers especially. Chances are you are not going to grow enough new jawbone to securely hold an old ugly tooth in your mouth so don’t let anybody talk you into trying to get the tooth to take root in your jaw again and be damned sure your dentist wears socks.

Ben and Dentist 4

Notice how nonchalant and casual I am in a dentist’s chair. This was shortly before I broke off one of the arms on this chair when he kept poking me in the mouth with that big old needle.

Ben and dentist

I think the offending tooth is gone in this photo but you can easily see how ugly those bottom teeth were. They are still pretty ugly but I have always counted on my natural good looks and other handsome features to carry a person past the first shock of seeing those strange teeth.

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