Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kicked Off The Bus

I have previously written the following story, but this version, written by my friend Walton Haddix, recently appeard in the local newspaper and is worth repeating here.

Coach Bill Kidd came to Albany in 1954 after serving two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox. At 6’10, he had played basketball at the University of Louisville.  

Coach Kidd was a strict disciplinarian who allowed no talking during practice or on the bus traveling to and from basketball and baseball games (At least until the bus had passed a 'point of no return'). Although Coach Kidd lived and coached by the highest principles of human conduct and behavior, on one isolated occasion he followed the advice of Senator Everett Dirksen (Illinois Senator from 1950 to 1969) who said, “In politics you sometimes have to rise above your principles.” This also happens occasionally in athletic contests as demonstrated by Coach Kidd during one of our district tournament baseball games at Tompkinsville in May 1955.

As the story goes, two players who later became noted radio announcers, Sid Scott and my dad, Darrell Speck, were in the back of the bus on the way to a district tournament baseball game in Tompkinsville. They thought the bus had gone past the point of no return after passing Waterview in Cumberland County, so they broke the silence and started singing a country song. They were mistaken in the point of no return because Coach Kidd stopped the bus and kicked both off the bus. J.R. Craig, on his way to the game, noticed Sidney and dad standing by the roadside and stopped to inquire what happened. They hopped into the car with J.R. and got to Tompkinsville before the bus.

Sid and dad were sitting in the stands when our team bus arrived. The baseball game got underway. In the fourth inning, Clinton County was behind one run with two outs but had a runner on first base. However, our weakest batter was at the plate and this is when Coach Kidd decided it was best to rise above his principles (as done in politics) for the good of the baseball team. He called time out, walked over to the bleachers and motioned for Sidney Scott to come down.

Sid nonchalantly ambled down to the batter’s box where Coach Kidd pointed to a bat and then pointed to home plate. Not a word was said or exchange as Sid picked up the bat, then walked to home plate in his street clothes and shoes where he hit a double, scoring the runner to tie the ball game. Louis Dale Latham hit a triple in the sixth inning, bringing in what proved to be the winning run. Two days later, Clinton County won its first ever district baseball championship in school history.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Vietnam Verses

My friend, Mike Rogers, was a Sergeant with FMS during the Vietnam War. Recently, he stumbled upon a notebook of poems he wrote between 1969 and 1971. Below are a selected few of those poems.

The city is vacant as I walk through its streets
The area is empty, except for its seats
The taxis have left with their sound so blatant
And empty windows reflect the sun so radiant
Blunt has turned the point of the knife
And these would be the happiest days of my life


When I wake up, am I really awake?
I am disillusioned by the people's stares
The people to help me
The people to slowly deteriate my thoughts
The end is here to govern all the tranquil
And the obscenity is overpowering
the perceptive imagination
And why is the question to Poe's raven
And why is the question to all mankind


I walk into the wind to greet the storm
To admire the lightning and praise the thunder
It carries me to eternity and back
I find I had no eyes
My ears awaken to the fact that there is no sound
And I cry helplessly
As darkness is my leader, I stumble through the past
Only to find that the past is also my future
Laughter fills my mind as those who ridicule
For inside their thoughts
diagnoses their own limitations

To walk with the gently pushing wind
Is finding lifes ectasy and appraisal
And yet, I walk into the wind
Meeting what it has to offer head on
There can be no accepting without battle
But there is always disasterious defeat
And I stumble on, still searching


The inspectors are here again
Everyone is going wild
Hiding in corners and under chairs
The shop isn't taking it mild
Some ran outside, while the rest sat in shock
The inspectors are here again
working around the clock
Checking the floor and digging through files
Setting each book in different piles
They show no mercy and feel no shame
For only the toughest can wear the inspector's name
As the sweat roles from everyones face
They keep inspecting at a blinding pace
Ande then they are gone as fast as they came
Everyone's back to normal but not quite the same
Because in each there's still the hidden fear
Just knowing the inspectors are still near


Never a day can fight toward tomorrow
For tomorrow is yesterdays eternity
The sun's rays dives to the water
Only to be bounced back and absorbed by matter
Molecules hitting head onin mid-vaccum
Exploding into a million projectiles
This is the cycle's life
In which it is beginning is actually its death
For today the rats are angels and there are none better
Silent demons creep among the hills
and behind whats left of the trees

Flames roar through the heavens
The sound of breaking glass is everywhere
Beings run through the streets
giving no thought for one another

Trampling the life from the innocent
for ignorance is no excuse

Tomorrow will come and will be better
No one will be left


My legs have run away from me
Kicking in despair
I am trying to gain my senses back
And not pull out my hair
My arms are reaching far below
Tearing at the skies
Never before has such a fate
Stood before my eyes
Dishonesty, lies and deceit
In every breath of air
The right is heavy upon my skull
Far too much to bear
My stomach has moved to my head
My breakfast to the ground
As I listen to the fool
Swearing the earth is round
My blood has turned to water
The people stand and stare
And silently I flow away
Happy to breathe, no more, their air


From behind this tree I sit
Wondering whom I had met
For now I know that it was not you
That I so dearly knew
Your mind has died its loving way
And there's no truth in what you say
Your eyes once blue have turned to gray
And curse the sun, its blinding ray
Kindness and mercy are obsolete
For all goodness you must delete
You cast away in sickening splendor
Thge tought and need of the dying beggar
Like a spider you sit and wait
To engulf the smaller at a blinding rate
Don't you feaer, the time will come
When your days in this world will be done
Or, will your sould die and decay
With your body that sadly lay
The change in you has come so fast
As I peer from behind this tree of the past
But why must I hide from low to high
Unless the changes was I


Hear ye, hear ye, to my conception
Come to the great Disaster Auction
Glue your eyes to my vision screen
Things before you have never seen
Now before your very eyes
These items that lived gruesome lives
Firs, we have a liquid, greenish-brown in color
Once known as life's supporting water
Then, these masses of dead and charcoaled wood
Where long ago great forests stood
Debris of concrete and twisted metal
That were called cities and lived in futile
Here we have bones of creatures
that once dominated
This destructed land ladened with hatred
Notice the distinct grayness
to its contaminated atmosphere
Once used as a pure, clean-breathing air
Here I show you the greatest auction
Of a great disaster that can never function
Now I sell you deaths rebirth
Of this fatal planet, once called Earth


Oh angels can you hear my voice
Calling to you in utmost urgency
My mind no longer in poise
Losing my hopes and fantasy
Oh angels can you see my eyes
Searching in vain for flowers' bloom
Living so many different lives
And finding only hopeless doom
On angels can you read my thoughts
And not destroy my health
Through all my life, I've blindly sought
And disconcerned love is found through wealth
Oh angels can you reach my ear
For never have I heard you speak
Growing in me, the constant fear
Of never growing meek
Oh angels can you clear my head
I know not if I am sane
At times I think that you are dead
For slowly your spirit does wane
Oh angels can you show yourself
For love, faith and accomplishment I do know
Are met through wealth
And I must hate them so


You smile at me in loving grace
And promise me your lies
As I stare into your radiant face
Noting darkness in your eyes
Your voice has echoed in my ears
Many times before
Telling me your constant fears
Of your present love
I seek no more your way of life
Living as a leech
I know not what I seek in life
It's not within my reach
Let me be to live my way
That only I can understand
Turn your back from me today
And return to your awaiting land
To be alone until I die
The way that it must be
To trust in one that is only I
And at times not even me


You shook my trembling hand
And pierced my heart
You said you saw the land
That I've searched to never part
Then you walked away from me
Then you walked away
You told me that I did wrong
Living the way I did
You promised to guide and keep me strong
And my evil you would rid
Then you walked away from me
Then you walked away
At times it stormed and I could not see
And your presence before me lied
You grieved only for me
While you volunteered your eyes
Then  you walked away from me
Then you walked away
You heard me ask what life was for
And what life held in my path
You talked to tell me more
Though you only told me half
Then you walked away from me
Then you walked away
I stood afraid before the world
Like a lamb before the lion
And then I saw your eyes that swirled
Vowing your courage would be mine
Then you walked away from me
Then you walked away
I sailed high above the wind
And suddenly fell unrestrained
You told me your wings would land
Though your wings I never obtained
Then you walked away from me
Then you walked away
In the wood I stood lost
When you appeared bearing song
You led me through, free of costd
And I found you led me wrong
Then you walked away from me

Then you walked away
You lay dying upon the ground
Reaching your hand for mine
From your lips came a muttered sound
Asking for help with a despicable whine
Now I walk away from you
Now I walk away


You say our nation is dying now
But you are wrong, for it's already dead
It is now in the process of decaying
Leaving only faint memories of a sweet homestead
Loyalty has diminished through time
To a dwindling last drop of hope
Bravery has hung itself in shame
While excuses takes its place looking to the Pope
Democracy has flourished with the years
And has lost the people
Each thinking himself as a god
While the earthquake of minds tumbles the steeple
The dollar has become the almighty
While the needs of others are publicized
By all the wealthy...our leaders
But all the helpless are criticized
To listen to your talk in vain
Of the land that you will cure
Though now the time is much too late
For your deleted country, once so pure

Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...