One Toke Over The Line


First of all a disclaimer. I do not advocate the use of psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, cannabis or any other mind altering/expanding substance. That being said…

I love Auburn. Anybody that knows me would surely reply “DUH” or some other equally inane term if you or I told them that. But after spending the fall of 1970 and the winter and spring of 1971 as a student at API, ole AU released me gently into the night. It seems they didn’t like my study habits. So long Terry Beasley, who was in my Math 100 class, and so long to all my rowdy (and not so rowdy) friends on the Plains. I’ll be back a few times this fall. War Eagle!

In spite of not developing academic discipline at Auburn I had begun to cultivate another habit in that spring of of 1971. It was the use of cannabis sativa, mary jane, marijuana… “the assassin of youth”, as she was labeled in the movie “Reefer Madness.”

An aside… if you want to watch a truly hilarious propaganda film then check it out.

As mentioned in the “See Me, Feel Me” blog, I truly wanted to be a part of that hippie scene and I was becoming an “A” student in that course. Yay ! Success !

Back to Auburn for a moment… The second time I partook of the evil weed in early 1971, a friend of mine who had procured the joint, and I had become ravenously hungry. I learned that this was called “the munchies.” So munch we did.

We wound up at the Burger King on Gay Street which has remained in the same location to this day. We could not contain our giggling as we entered the overly well-lit establishment and made our way to the line to place our order. Somehow we came up with said order. Both of us decided on a hamburger, french fries and a coke (it didn’t matter what soft drink you wanted back then you just called it a “co-cola”).

The cashier twice repeated, “burger, fry, coke… burger,fry, coke” in a slightly effeminate voice. Uh oh ! Peals of laughter burst forth from the both of us. And for the rest of the night we would blurt out, “burger, fry, coke… burger, fry, coke” and we  laughed each time as though it were the funniest thing we had EVER heard.

It turns out that was not enough to satisfy our hunger though. We went back to the Delta Chi house, on Glenn Street and diagonally across the street from my house, and made our way to the room of an older fraternity brother. We were pledges. He worked at a deli in town but he was gone for the weekend. We opened his mini fridge and found… A SACKFUL OF AN ASSORTMENT OF SANDWICHES AND COOKIES ! The Cookie Monster himself could not have made more ecstatic sounds than Frank and I did that night while DEVOURING those delicacies. Gobble gobble, yum yum… COOKIE !!!!

But I digress. The spring of 1971 soon gave way to summer and a job with Great American Homes in Camden. My best friend, Hal Huggins, along with Johnny “Stick” Dunham, Ronald McGraw, Scott Beasley and others were part of the crews who insulated houses, dug foundations and picked up yards when the houses were complete. This was neither mine nor Hal’s calling but, it turns out, it was for Stick.

It was during this summer and the coming fall that I began to hone my skills as an habitual user of the herb. It was also a time when the world of rock ‘n roll and, in particular hard rock and psychedelic music, took this “Bird” in flight. Tom Kimmel became a musical mentor for me and helped open the doors to a wide range of sounds. Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, the Allman Brothers Band, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and the Moody Blues were but a small few of the great bands that were to become a soundtrack for that time in our lives.

Ok… not being able to return to Auburn I wound up at, what was then, Patrick Henry Junior College in Monroeville, AL. That fall of ’71 became the winter and spring of ’72 which morphed into the fall of ’72. During those four quarters havoc was wreaked at Oak Arms Apartments there in the Hub City. All of my friends there were not hip to weed in those days and, therefore, those of us who did partake found ourselves in various trailers, travel alls and secret hideaways to indulge in our “source of enlightenment.” I won’t name names (Mike Jellison, Terry Sims and Ed Starkie) but many of you know who you are and you are having a really good laugh right now.

Also I know you remember something of those hazy days, and I know that you remember them as fondly as I do. “IBJWE” was a phrase we coined and that acronym stood for “Iron Butterfly Jamming With Edward.” You had to have been there.

In the next episode our anti-hero makes a not so triumphant return to Lee County, AL…


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