Bud wasn’t home at the time when a couple of my 7-year-old friends coerced me to make the move. His house had a section that was low to the ground that made it easy for kids to maneuver their way to the top of his dwelling.
That’s when one of my friends, who I will refer to as Big T, ripped a single shingle off the roof. My other friend, who I will refer to as Pugs, and I looked on and thought “cool.” Within seconds we began ripping shingles off when Bud and our new neighbor Wayne Garner suddenly appeared.
“I thought Bud was going to kill y’all,” said Garner.
We did too. Bud, who served in the Normandy D-Day invasion, gave us a colorful talk. We ran away and regrouped under an old magnolia tree in Carol and Mac Martin’s yard. My gang then began to strategize about what to do next. We waited awhile and decided to walk to Garner’s house to share our strategy.
“Wayne, we want you to go whip Bud,” I said on behalf of my friends.
“I’m not going to do it,” Garner said. “Boys, y’all need to get your tails down to Bud’s right now and apologize.”
We did. After Bud gave us another stern lecture, he did what he always did when we visited. He asked us to go to his refrigerator and get him an adult beverage and offered us a bottled Coke. We all shared a drink together and made Bud a promise that we would stay away from shingles for the rest of our lives. I’ve kept that promise since 1977 until last week.
I’ve always heard that “what goes around comes around.” When I was 7 years old, I attacked shingles. Last week, however, the shingles attacked me. No, I’m not talking about roof shingles, but the kind that grows on your body.
The day before the shingles appeared I ran my very first 5k road race in a fundraiser for the University of West Georgia. That night I felt great and felt like I could justify eating a big, juicy cheeseburger from Billy Bob’s Barbecue the next day.
The next morning, however, I noticed an outgrowth on the left side of my face that looked like poison ivy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It was the shingles. Or, as I now refer to the virus — Bud Arnold’s Revenge.
I still don’t know why we pulled shingles off of a roof when we were elementary school students. Then again, since I have four boys — I’m not sure I understand half of the things children do. Recently, I found my 7-year-old son ripping the foam protection pads off his trampoline for no reason.
So, we learned from our experience and have refrained from damaging roofs. As for Big T and Pugs, they’ve yet to encounter this virus. But their day is coming. I caught the chickenpox, which is the culprit of my shingles, from Pugs when I was 6 years old.
As for Garner, he would go on to serve a stellar career as a state senator before becoming Carrollton’s current mayor. He’s even played a role in the Carrollton Depot renovation, which by the way was Bud Arnold’s office for many years when Bud worked for the railroad.
Today as I drove past the train depot renovation, I noticed a brand new roof with high quality black shingles right above Bud’s old office. I knew Bud would be happy. It was the least Garner could do for his old friend.
Garrett is a Carrollton resident and businessman. You can read more of his columns at joegarrett1.wordpress.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.