Jim Young was a friend of mine back when I was a kid. His family went to my church, Bellevue Methodist Church, he was a member of the same scout troop (Troop 54 where are you), and we attended the same elementary school together (R.A. Mitchell). His mom died of cancer during the time I knew him. Jim's dad had a Septic Tank service (remember his "Honey Wagon") and is a real nice and funny fellow. Jim's dad liked to chop up Volkswagens and ride them anywhere (ANYWHERE!). I don't know how many he had. He also had some old VW buses. I remember Big Jim driving me and Little Jim up to Cumberland Caverns in his micro-bus. It was an old bus back then and smelled of stale old cigarette smoke. He had magnificent cigarette butt collection up front. I remember when we got hungry, Little Jim, cut open the top of some Van Camp's Beanie Weenies. I wasn't really into cold Beanie Weenies - but it seemed part of the adventure. Every time I see a VW bus - I think of that ride - probably the first and last time I ever road in one.
The photo above is of Jim (in the red, white, and blue pants) and me (in my scout patched jacket). That blue chopped VW was Big Jims. I didn't spend the night with many folks growing up and I remember this visit well. Big Jim picked the two of us up after school and drove us home. He drove us down Fairview Road and then without warning, took a sharp right into the woods. There was no road mind you - just woods. That was the good thing about that little car of his - you didn't need infrastructure to travel. He liked taking unconventional sight seeing trips. The detour was a cool thrill ride for me. I'd never been driving through the woods without a road before.
During that visit, Jim and I didn't hang around the house much, he liked to play in the woods around his house. We always got along fine because we liked doing much of the same things. Jim's bedroom was wallpapered (pretty much) with 18 wheeler and hot-rod posters. He knew back then that he was going to be a trucker and that's what he eventually became. Most of the pictures that I drew as a kid were hot-rods. This wasn't because I was into hot-rods - but because Jim was always wanting me to draw them for him. The picture above was taken at our house at 2624 Scenic Hwy after Big Jim returned me home after my overnight stay. Can you make out the WALLACE sticker on the front of his blue bug? You can also see the back end of Brook's red bug in this photo. The patches on my jacket were from Boy Scout camping trips. I can make out two from Shiloh Trail patches, an Alabama Jamboree patch, and a Cumberland Caverns patch. By the time I was finished scouting - the jacket was too small to wear. I guess that jacket was tossed somewhere down the line - the more camping exploits - the more I wore it with pride. I notice that I am wearing my old Dingo boots. Brook told me that that's what The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) wears when gunning down Italian cowboys. I just had to have them.I haven't seen Jim in years.
I think the last time that I saw him was outside of the old SING convenient store on Noccalula Mountain - probably 25 years ago. We talked on the sidewalk for about twenty minutes. He said he was in town visiting his dad and sure enough - was driving a rig. I guess it was about ten years ago that I got an email from him. Where ever you are Jim - I hope you are doing well and keeping it between the lines. God bless you!
The Late Christmas Present
3 months ago