My Old Buddy, Dale.

Jubal Sackett

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I had the misfortune of having to go to a friend's funeral yesterday.

Dale and I first met about 1974. He was a couple of years older than me and played center on the local high school football team. We had that kind of relationship where we picked at each other about everything. It would always wind up with both of us laughing uncontrollably. He went on to play center in college and we lost touch for a few years. After I started practicing law with Dad we wound up representing Dale's employer on some insurance matter and we reconnected. After Spitfire and I married Dale kept after us to visit the Sunday school class that he taught for young married folks. We visited and stayed.

One day the conversation turned to the fact that every time we have a tornado the local news media always manages to interview the dumbest hick that they can find. After that we would always greet each other with the phrase, "I seen the tornado." A couple of years later we had a small tornado do some property damage in Dale's neighborhood. Sure enough, here came the news trucks of Nashville. A reporter and a camera man approached Dale who was cleaning up branches in his front yard. They asked him what happened. He looked right at the camera and in his best dumb hick voice replied, "I seen the tornado." He went on to give an Oscar worthy performance of how it sounded like a freight train and how his ears popped as he hid in the bath tub while wearing a steel pot army helmet. The reporter then asked Dale his name. He looked right at the camera again with a sly grin and gave them my name. He called me right after and told me to record the 6:00 news on this particular channel because they interviewed him about the tornado. We watched it while we were eating supper and both of us spit our iced tea we were laughing so hard. That tape became a mainstay at every class gathering from then on.

Time passed. bad things happened at the church and the class broke up. We all left for other churches and other classes. A few years later I ran into Dale and his wife. I hardly knew him. He was a shell of his old self. All those years of getting hit in the head had taken their toll. Dementia was rapidly taking his mind and body. He knew me but the old spark was gone. The last time that I saw him at my daughter's wedding he had no idea who I was. Dale died peacefully while watching TV last Saturday evening. His wife played that tape at the funeral got everybody laughing through their tears. At the end as the pall bearers stood to take their places Dale got the last laugh. ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man came over the sound system.

So long, Buddy and until we meet again, "I seen the tornado."

Jubal Sacket
 

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I had the misfortune of having to go to a friend's funeral yesterday.

Dale and I first met about 1974. He was a couple of years older than me and played center on the local high school football team. We had that kind of relationship where we picked at each other about everything. It would always wind up with both of us laughing uncontrollably. He went on to play center in college and we lost touch for a few years. After I started practicing law with Dad we wound up representing Dale's employer on some insurance matter and we reconnected. After Spitfire and I married Dale kept after us to visit the Sunday school class that he taught for young married folks. We visited and stayed.

One day the conversation turned to the fact that every time we have a tornado the local news media always manages to interview the dumbest hick that they can find. After that we would always greet each other with the phrase, "I seen the tornado." A couple of years later we had a small tornado do some property damage in Dale's neighborhood. Sure enough, here came the news trucks of Nashville. A reporter and a camera man approached Dale who was cleaning up branches in his front yard. They asked him what happened. He looked right at the camera and in his best dumb hick voice replied, "I seen the tornado." He went on to give an Oscar worthy performance of how it sounded like a freight train and how his ears popped as he hid in the bath tub while wearing a steel pot army helmet. The reporter then asked Dale his name. He looked right at the camera again with a sly grin and gave them my name. He called me right after and told me to record the 6:00 news on this particular channel because they interviewed him about the tornado. We watched it while we were eating supper and both of us spit our iced tea we were laughing so hard. That tape became a mainstay at every class gathering from then on.

Time passed. bad things happened at the church and the class broke up. We all left for other churches and other classes. A few years later I ran into Dale and his wife. I hardly knew him. He was a shell of his old self. All those years of getting hit in the head had taken their toll. Dementia was rapidly taking his mind and body. He knew me but the old spark was gone. The last time that I saw him at my daughter's wedding he had no idea who I was. Dale died peacefully while watching TV last Saturday evening. His wife played that tape at the funeral got everybody laughing through their tears. At the end as the pall bearers stood to take their places Dale got the last laugh. ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man came over the sound system.

So long, Buddy and until we meet again, "I seen the tornado."

Jubal Sacket
Oh, man, I don't know either of you guys, but that made me laugh and cry.
 
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