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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Barbaro, MKat and the May 16 Girls Softball team of Collinsville 2017

     Barbaro is a horse, MKat is Mary Katherine Patton, valedictorian of Momma's alma mater Collinsville HS class of 2017 and a top five Coker.

    I always wanted to give a commencement address somewhere but nobody ever asked me. My sister beat me out by 40 years and counting as she spoke for her High School graduating class, 1974 at Gaffney High. I was there but didn't make it to my brothers.

    Mary Kat Patton according to her loved ones once considered the Methodist ministry but looks to be leaning toward anesthesiology now. She has a scholarship to play juco softball.

    Last weekend, she and her Collinsville Panthers conquered Tuscaloosa Alabama, not losing a game in the state semifinal round. They went on to Montgomery May 17 in the state finals. with 7 other teams.

   They were in the winners bracket.

     But as the 7 inning came in the first game against Horseshoe Bend, they hit a brick wall and lost 3-2. Were a threat in the top of the 7th but couldn't get a runner across the plate to send into extra innings.

   And early afternoon  they hit a thud and a shellacking. Lost to ignominious Leroy, Alabama 16- 1. I haven't seen the details of that game but it must not be pretty. As Lupe said last night at Jack's "They only got one run" with her index finger held up for emphasis, just one.

   That's why I'm calling them the May 16 girls.

 To hell with May 17. On May 16 the Panthers were in team full of aspiration, excitement anticipation with hopes of bringing the state Trophy back to town. May 17 never happened. Always live with the expectancy of May 16, that's the key.

   Class of 2017 is a good bunch. From my stay in Collinsville they rate with memorable groups Class of 91 and 93, 97 and others with outstanding characters and students sprinkled through other classes. Before I got to town folks said a lot about the class of 83, but that's just hearsay.

   I witnessed the others in some fashion.

    When I went to my first state tennis tourney in Columbia SC in May of 1970 I was awake all night. Got up early for the ride down. Won two matches on fumes, the only winner on our team and got a headline in the Gaffney Ledger. Whole team got to stay overnight and we went to see Little Big Man. Next day Bob Brearly, a Presbyterian Minister's son who later married Mary Anne Kesecker took me out 6-3, 6-0; and that on a good nights sleep.

     That's why I remember the first day and Little Big Man. Bob Brearly never happened.

    Ted Kennedy said when he was Eleven he and a friend abandoned a schooner in the ocean. His Dad was not pleased at all. Ole Joe Kennedy in the face of Teddy's tears sent him back out the next day to get the boat. He and his buddy brought the boat in.

    Ole Joe said: Let this be a lesson. Always do the Best you Can and Then To Hell with it!

     The Collinsville Girls played their hearts out this year week in and week out. The whole town got excited and followed it all especially the last three weeks. I got to have some good chats with Bobby Welch's friend Munsey Box in the stands , proud grandfather of the sterling pitcher Emma Barkley. Even Thomas Barksdale came out for a game and he goes back to the Bear and Bobby Bowden.

    My nephew is graduating in Easley SC. He and friends Reagan the singing Baseball player and top five, and the Gifted  pre engineer , Pace, with the full ride to Mercer and Caroline Sargent whose politics differ from mine but may be the first female Governor of South Carolina though I'm backing Ben Branham, Eagle Scout up the Street.

   I'm going up to see bloodkin take the walk and eat some bbq and see Mac and Little Billy and Parks, maybe take a photo opp at Furman in Memory of Leon Russell.

    Passing the Torch as it were. My friend Dick Doody in Ft Lauderdale texted his approval.

   At one point I thought I had a speech worthy of an Episcopalian baccaureate. You know the frozen chosen are a tough crowd.

   But I do have this thought. In horse years the Kentucky Derby is a good metaphor. Three year olds roughly on the human timeline of 18 year olds, graduating High school seniors.

    Barbaro was supposed to be the next Secretariat. Won the Derby going away and then came to a tragic end at the Preakness.

     They asked the owner what was his favorite memory. He said the announcer at the Derby on Barbaro's glorious day as they rounded the last turn and coming down the straightaway where Barbaro had passed the field was in first place and pulling away.

   The Announcer said: "And Here Comes Barbaro!!!!!"

    That's where you are now. Around the last turn in the first big race in the prime of life. Take it in. Delight in it. Bruce Springsteen said Aint No Sin to be Proud you're alive.

    Proud of you all and God Bless

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