The following compilation of stories is based on true happenings. Some of the events may be slightly exaggerated but for the most part they really happened. The names may be changed to protect the innocent. Now there are a few stories from grammar school and high school that personify bubba but the true measure of a modern bubba is found in his college days. Ah college, the heady days when one learns that his bed need not be made up every day and that drinking beer any night of the week is accepted. Going to class is an option and generally becoming involved in foolish and sometimes dangerous acts is commonplace. The most memorable bubba I have ever know was an acquaintance of mine during high school and once in college we were able to forge a friendship that has lasted for 4 decades. (If I forgot to mention it Bubbas are loyal also.) For the sake of saving a marriage and preserving some dignity I will refer to this individual as Jerome.
Jerome and I managed to squeak by our freshman year in college with minor bouts of debauchery and alcohol abuse. Little did we realize we were in training for our sophomore and junior year? One must keep in mind that the Vietnam War was in full swing and the military draft was alive and well. For example in April of 1968 the total number of individuals drafted was 50,000. The United States Marines were even taking draftees in 1968. This was the largest draft since 1943-44. The draft is important because the only way most of us stayed away from the draft was to make decent grades in college or as an alternative, get married and have a baby. We were so young and stupid we envisioned the marrying and baby idea as worse than going to Vietnam. A key comment in the prior sentence is the “decent grade” comment. Now this seems like a fairly simple task. All one must do is go to class and study enough to keep their young ass in school. If this feat was accomplished then no worries concerning being shot at by some 5 foot oriental who was protecting his homeland. Fail to keep up your grades and it was “GOOoooood Mornin VietNam.” We somehow managed to make it until spring quarter of our sophomore year before the reality of the real world set in. (More on this later.)
Fall quarter of our sophomore year. Man what a great time. I had a grade point average of about 1.7, my roommate had about the same and Jerome and the rest of our crowd had all achieved the sought after status of being drunk and stupid, but well liked by the student body, the local bartenders and some of our professors. This distinction was not lost on my mother who often lamented that she hoped I saw her tears in the bottom of every beer that I drank. ( No, she is not Jewish but would have made a great Jewish mom.) The art of assigning guilt was finely honed in our family and since I am an only child I managed to be on the receiving end more than the giving end. After receiving my 1A status (eligible for the draft) she once told me that if I did not straighten up that I would go to Vietnam and end up coming home in a box. Instead of feeling guilty I was now determined to prove her wrong. Several circumstances during my sophomore year helped set the stage for my remaining college career. One of these circumstances involved drinking beer at a local slop shoot, (a redneck bar). Four of us, including Jerome, had ventured to an establishment we had named The Star. The Star got its name from a beat up old fluorescent sign that was shaped like a Star. This fine establishment would serve alcohol to anyone tall enough to reach the top of the counter and lay down some money. The legal age in Georgia at the time was 21 and we were all between 18 and 19 with ID’s from various colleges that said we were 21, not that anyone at The Star every asked us for and ID. Anyway after a few rounds of beers, the door to the bar opened up and one of our buddies said “ohhh Sheeeit! A neighbor from his home town over 220 miles away had dropped in for a cool one. Upon seeing Mac, the neighbor came over and spoke to all of us and asked if we were having a good time prior to sitting down with his group. Once the neighbor left our table Mac said, “Son of a Bitch.” And it was at that point that we knew were in deep kimchi. As it turned out the neighbor was a state revenue agent and a great friend of Mac’s family. During the dark ages of 1967 you could get into real trouble by drinking under aged and returning to the college campus drunk.
A couple of more pitchers of the local draft beer took our minds off of the potential trouble we faced and once the locals arrived and cranked up the juke box we were all lost in the frivolity of the moment. Hell, once we quaffed several beers we all were too tan, too tall, too smart and too good lookin. We could do no wrong. Then we screwed up big time. We returned to campus to find the dean of men and his assistant waiting at the dorm steps for us. When asked by the Dean if any of us were drunk Jerome spoke up, or rather the alcohol spoke and said “hell yes I am drunk and so are the rest of us.” We did not receive double secret probation but social probation was tacked upon our records and believe it or not we were put on a curfew and relocated next to the dorm mother. Our dorm mother was a closet wino and this turned out to be a great move. More on that subject will appear in the next chapter. Life ain’t brain surgery but is sometimes more complicated.