West: Full of hockey, uh, cow patties?
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 10:37 am
By MIKE WEST
"Cow Patty Bingo." One could say they've heard it all, but that wouldn't exactly be true.
This particular game, which apparently isn't illegal in Tennessee, involves what we always called "cow piles" back in the day.
Here's the basic layout.
However, most of us aren't accustomed to relating cow piles to cash. (Seems like some comment about Congress would be appropriate here?)
Now the grandsons are downright fascinated about the process. Their pointing and jabbering quickly turns into roaring laughter.
My story today is about my late Father and his brother and sisters.
Like most men of his age, Pa was drafted into the Army and he served in the South Pacific during the brutal battles with the Japanese.
But back before he was draft age, there were the "Maneuvers"held in 1942 with soldiers from all over the country staging in Middle Tennessee. Area families would often invite soldiers over for dinner.
On one occasion, a couple of "Yankees" visited my Grandparents West. Being from "Up North," these young soldiers were fans of an unknown sport, "hockey," and constantly talked about it.
My late Uncle Jack West was a little boy then. He didn't know about ice hockey, but he did know about "horse hockey." That prompted the question, "Mama, why do those men play with ____.
So back to my Dad.
He was a young man when drafted just 18 years old. He had never traveled far from home outside of Woodbury. Oh sure, he had been to ol' Murf-town, McMinnville and even Nashville, but not much farther.
Once in the Army, he trained in the hot, hot Georgia climate and next thing he knew he was on a troop train headed for Washington D.C. And then the West Coast. It was a long, long train ride with occasional stops like the night he slept on the floor of Union Station in Washington D.C.
Next thing he knew he was aboard a converted cattle boat headed to the South Pacific. He managed to get over his sea sickness just in time for the typhoons to roar in. Everybody was sick then, even Navy veterans.
Combat followed. He never talked much about that.
Then came the atomic bomb. His unit was marched into Hiroshima where they witnessed the devastation.
Throughout it all, he was homesick for Cannon County.
Finally, when he got back to Woodbury from all the way in Japan, first on his agenda was a little payback.
He chased down each sister and carried them to the nearest cow pile and plop ... he stuck them right in. Oh, they resisted mightily but the strong, young soldier wasn't about to be refused.
Yes, it was turn-about from the days his bigger and older sisters used to do that to him. His sisters cried, but not because of the indignity.
Things would never be the same again in their little corner of Cannon Count