Remember the movie "The Blues Brothers?" Sure you do. It starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. They were "on a mission -- a mission from God." If you haven't seen Wayne Kerr and me portray Jake and Elwood, you haven't been entertained.
My daughter, Jenna, is on a mission from God this summer -- in Glorieta, N.M. If it wasn't already hot enough in New Mexico, they compound the problem out there by adding green chili peppers to everything they cook -- and then there is no sweet tea to wash it down. Jenna has said repeatedly that sweet iced tea is the thing she misses most about Georgia -- besides her daddy, of course -- and has instructed us to have at least a gallon on hand when she arrives home in the middle of August.
Her longing for sweet tea reminds me of Lewis Grizzard's tales about being held prisoner of war in Chicago for two years. Lewis was known to buy airline tickets for pretty young women just so they would bring him Varsity hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches from Sprayberry's in Newnan. At least that's why Lewis claimed he bought the tickets. Ugly old women could have delivered the food just as efficiently, but he never bought airline tickets for any of those -- or at least, not that I'm aware.
Now I told you all of that to tell you this.
I ran into my friend, Nancy Bogardts, in the Olde Town branch of the Conyers Post Office the other day. I love going to the local post office because the people are so friendly and Vickie, who works there, is so funny. Sometimes I mail letters to myself just to have an excuse to go in the post office, but that's another story for another day. I was talking about Nancy.
Nancy is one of my favorite people -- despite being about half Yankee. She was raised in upper state New York, and when I say upper state, I mean way upper -- in Massena, near the Eisenhower Locks, just a few miles from the Canadian border, eh? She immigrated to the Peach State about 26 years ago and graduated from Georgia State. She got her master's at the University of Georgia, hallowed be thy name, which practically makes her a naturalized Southerner, in my opinion.
Nancy is a social worker for Rockdale County Public Schools, which means that she helps make life better for lots and lots of children. Her office is at Heritage High School, which means that I get to see her from time to time. Before she relocated to Heritage, I only knew her as the lady who came in every year during pre-planning and gave "the talk" on how to recognize children who are having problems at home and the teacher's role in getting help for those students. It is an important talk, understand, but not one that is easy to hear. But that talk is always made more palpable when Nancy gives it because of her empathy and professionalism.
But now I run into Nancy more frequently and over the years have discovered that she and I share a love for horses and conversation. Amazingly, I learned things about her background in a five-minute conversation at the post office Tuesday that I had not found out in five years worth of casual greetings.
Please see the reference to Jenna, Grizzard, sweet tea and barbecue above if you have lost track.
Nancy was at the post office to mail a package of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to her father, Carl Scruggs. Yes, I said Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and let the record show that they were still warm when she mailed them.
Carl, who is a distant cousin of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, turned 86 this week. He is a native of North Carolina and a veteran of World War II. That makes him a hero in my book, and there aren't a lot WW II veterans left. If anybody deserves a box of hot pastries, it is a World War II veteran. Carl Scruggs found himself working for Alcoa Aluminum in New York State after the war, in what is now the longest continually operating aluminum facility in the world. He met Nancy's mother and yada, yada, yada ... and now he lives in a part of the world that doesn't serve Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
But his daughter has taken care of that, and if I ever find myself a stranger in a strange land, I hope someone will be thoughtful enough to send me a care package from time to time -- although I am not sure how well fried catfish will ship.
So what's the point of all this? Why must we columnists always have a point?
Just kidding. I do. The point is that in our journey from the cradle to the grave, we encounter a lot of interesting people and too seldom slow down long enough to know them. I am determined to do a better job of knowing the people I encounter -- and now I know about Carl Scruggs.
Happy birthday, Carl. And Nancy -- I look forward to hearing "the talk" next week -- for about the 38th time.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at email@example.com. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.