Friday, May 02, 2008
I’m not exactly sure of the year but sometime in the early seventies Gary Oliver from Oxford NY made his first trip to Reynolds, GA. He has made a ton of trips since that day. He came to Reynolds to spend the weekend and to meet the parent s of his girlfriend, Nancy Whatley. Both Nancy and Gary were students at the University of Georgia.
Nancy’s parents, Ed and Rosemary Whatley, had to attend a function out of town that Friday night on his first trip and they asked my dad and mom who lived next door to welcome Gary to Reynolds and make him feel at home until they could get back that night. That was definitely right up my daddy and mama’s alley.
I don’t think Gary had ever met anyone quite like my dad. Daddy loved the fact he was from New York and had a different accent so Gary got the full treatment. And since my dad was an avid golfer, he also loved the fact that Gary played on the University of Georgia golf team. They hit it off quickly and became great friends.
Gary and Nancy also hit off as well and got married a couple or so years later.
One of the groomsmen who was supposed to be In their wedding had an emergency at the last minute and could not make it to the wedding. Being the good neighbor, I took his place. Not only did I take Gary’s friend’s place at the wedding but I also took his place at the bachelor’s party the night before.
Trying to exhibit the best southern hospitality possible, the groomsmen took Gary on the outskirts of town the night before the wedding and took his clothes off and left him on a dirt road. Of course we told the night policeman what we were doing and asked him to join in our little prank. So when Gary’s buck naked self came sneaking back in town in an attempt to get back to the Whatley’s house, the policeman picked him up for indecent exposure. We were across the street from the City Hall when Gary was taken out of the back of the police car with a sheet (provided by the policeman) wrapped around him. Gary, not knowing the policeman was in on our prank, was trying to explain to the policeman that he was marrying Dr. Whatley’s daughter and his friends did this to him for his bachelor’s party. We heard the policeman reply, “I don’t know a Dr. Whatley.”
We laughed but Gary got the next laugh.
About 4AM I was awakened by a bucket of cold water being poured on my face. I was asleep on the sofa in my Mama’s formal living room. Gary could not have cared less at that point if he ruined the sofa or not. It would be safe to say I woke up rather quickly.
Gary, being the good natured fellow he is, took it all in stride. But after he broke out from head to toe with poison ivy on their honeymoon, I did make sure he was not invited to my bachelor’s party a few years later. I have no doubt that Gary would have gone to great lengths to see if I was as good natured as he had been a few years earlier.
When Gary moved from Oxford, NY to attend the University of Georgia, he never went back home. Of course he visited from time to time but he quickly settled in the south and blended right in with the rest of us.
In a few weeks Gary and Nancy are scheduled to enter the ranks of the grandparent club.
And Gary's southern roots will run as deep as they can get.