The following was written for a dear old childhood friend upon the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY EDGAR!!! The good times continue!
It was the spring of 1975 and Olivia Newton-John was coming to Troy. I had been asked, by a girl from A O Pi, to attend a formal in Atlanta that same weekend. When I realized that Ms Newton-John, the Austrailian goddess, was scheduled for that weekend I had some apologizing to do. I had to back out of the formal. I had heard that a Camden contingent was headed for the Wiregrass and there was no way I was going to miss all this. Stick Dunham and Lyn Wheatly would be the primary hosts for our hometown gang. Excitement was abound. Here is the guest list of the guys I can remember were there…Frank “Woodchopper” Dobson, Tommy “Ompsy” McGraw, Frank “The Hammer” McGraw and our dear Edgar Alvin “Eddie Bo” McGraw.
The lines were drawn, the beer was cold and the Wilcox County crew was headed southeast. I’m not sure who was where that afternoon but I remember winding up with Little Buck headed up Three Notch St. in my 1970 Maverick listening to Linda Ronstadt singing, “When Will I Be Loved”. The Mav, of course, had been purchased from Johnny Webb and was well-equipped with three-on-the-column and no AC.
Somehow we all wound up in the Smith Hall parking lot as the concert was to be held next door at the gymnasium. Everyone was “juiced up” and ready to roll. Most of our crowd sat in the bleachers but “Buck 2” and I were more adventurous and made our way down near the stage. At one point Frank found some roses that were placed nearby and carried them to Ms. Newton-John personally. Also during a lull in between songs I heard Ompsy’s distinct voice bellow, “I love you baby!!!!”
Some quick background on our connection with Olivia… The summer before we had all become enamored with her. Little Jack Strother had opened a beautiful “Supper Club” in a double wide just west of the four way stop, on the bypass, on the way to Canton Bend, Miller’s Ferry, Catherine, or wherever one might be headed out that highway. Jack had some state-of-the-art video equipment and some footage of Ms.Newton-John singing, “If You Love Me Let me Know”. After hours at the “Supper Club” a large group of us would gather around the projection screen, watch the video as we sang along and lust after Olivia.
Those were the days of wagering on Major League Baseball. Edgar happened to be life guard that summer at our swimming pool located over by old Barnett Field where the “Youth Center” was located above the locker rooms. I’m not sure if Edgar saved anybody from drowning that season but I do recall us poring over the Sporting News and daily papers in an attempt to decide who we would place our bets on that evening.
Anyway, back to Troy. When the concert was over we headed back toward Smith Hall and our cars. Frank Jr. had parked next to me in his Gran Torino. We got in our respective vehicles and I noticed Frank waving and hollering at me frantically. I rolled my windows down and he turned his 8 track up full volume to “If You Love Me Let Me Know”. We then all roared and hooted and headed for Stick’s house where a good time was had by all.
Later in the evening, after many lies and beers, we realized that more brew could be in order. Eddie Bo and I were nominated to go to the Jr. Food Store and load up. We did. Edgar marched into the convenience store, found a dolly and loaded it to the top with Schlitz, “The beer that made Milwaukee famous,” and we returned to Stick’s house where the festivities continued until the wee wee hours of the morning.
I’m going to leave it at that before I get us all in trouble.