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That bologna and cheese sure was good!

LIFE HAPPENS

That bologna and cheese sure was good!

Posted Saturday, May 9, 2020 9:00 am

GARY MATHENY GARY MATHEN It has been 49 years this month since I graduated high school.  I guess time does fly when you are having fun, like working, raising a family, paying bills and dealing with a rigid daily schedule. One of my favorite sayings is, “technology is wonderful when it works,” and it does work ... well, most of the time. Like me, I am sure most of you have seen some phenomenal strides in technology in our lifetimes. I remember in the late 1970s, it took a computer the size of a small family bedroom to do what your handheld smartphone can do today. I don’t know, maybe the smartphone can do more. I know computers are very habit-forming. Computers can be fun, insightful, informative and frustrating. I like the ability to Google pretty much anything and get an instant answer, and find a place you are wanting to go using a satellite map. But, the best part is speaking to my grandchildren miles away and actually seeing them as we speak. There are a lot of things about social media that are irritating, annoying and silly, but I really like the fact I can find people I lost touch with 49 years ago. You know, old classmates. Recently someone from our graduating class posted a picture of us in our caps and gowns, and my first thought was, "Who are these people?" I began looking at Facebook profiles and I want to go on the record and say, “We ain’t what we once was.” Oh, the days of youthful splendor, the days when we were carefree and full of spunk. Now, that’s a strange-sounding word. Spunk ... full of courage and determination. Nope ... that, along with that youthful look, is reminiscent of the verse in the song Kenny Rogers sang,  "Ruby, it left cause I heard the slamming of the door." It’s comical ... when, as a young man when someone would tell me, “You favor your dad." I would envision him at the age he was and say, "Really?" Now, each morning when I arise and look in the mirror, I greet him by name. It’s uncanny how much I look like him. I received a message recently from a friend who now lives in Nashville, letting me know he reads my columns and asked why I never write about the things that we did in college. I was quite swift in my response, “Are you kidding?" Most of those things are like that saying about Vegas, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  Now, how many of you want to relive those youthful experiences that could open Pandora's Box ... a can of worms, a boatload of memories that one tends to shove to the rear of the cranial cavity. The small college I attended for a short time was a two-year institution — a junior college as it was labeled — in the small farming town of Cochran, Ga. Small it was. It had a Dairy Queen, Handy Andy, barbecue restaurant, theater, Holland House and Jazzebo’s. I attended this institution of higher learning for only three quarters before advancing to the larger scheme of things, and moving away to begin my career as a professional shoe salesman. I was a shoe salesman before Al Bundy made the profession famous! All newcomers to Cochran had to be indoctrinated with a trip to Jazzebo’s.  Jazzebo’s was a Walmart of goods in a store about the size of a Hardee's. It carried everything, and if it didn’t have it you didn’t need it. It was always a fun trip to see all the items someone could put in a store that size. Many years later Jazzebo’s burned, taking with it a legacy. As a college student, money was never plentiful. If you got to go to the Holland House, which sat directly across the street and walking distance of the college, it was a treat. Great burgers and fries, and the enjoyment of others who lived their youthful lives as college kids. However, my favorite was the Handy Andy ... yes, the little convenience store at the end of town.  They had the best hoop cheese and bologna around. Middle Georgia College was affectionately called Middle Diddle by the students and was really a suitcase college. Most everyone, with the exception of those few from other countries or other states, went home for the weekend. On most Sunday evenings when we came back to school, several of us would pool our money, head down to the Handy Andy and purchase cheese, bologna and bread for a great evening meal. What a treat! The school cafeteria was run by a guy we called Sarge. Why? Who knows?  Quality of food ... well, those bologna and cheese sandwiches were sure good. On Wednesdays, they served this meat. Not sure if it was chicken-fried chicken, country-fried  steak or road-kill 'possum, but we called it mystery meat ... and that didn’t set well with the cafeteria workers. All I’m going to say is that bologna and cheese sure was good. At some point during the meal, someone would stand and yell "food fight!" as about 800 rolls began to take wing across that cafeteria.  Sarge would go berserk, running around in his white dietician outfit yelling for everyone to stop. Yes, some things need to be left alone and forgotten. But, this has sparked my memory. More to come. ——— (About the writer:  Gary Matheny is retired after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry.  Now a Cleveland resident, he is the author of two books, "If The Shoe Fits" and "The Bullet." He also writes a popular blog, "Life Happens." Email him at gary.matheny@yahoo.com and follow him at his website, www.garymatheny.net.)

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