Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend. After the rains came through, it turned out to be a great beginning of summer. The humidity has arrived yet the memory of this past winter is still too close to do much complaining. Summer will be in full gear after all the schools are out this week. The Primary program was held on Tuesday evening at Adairville and as always the students did a great job.
I accompanied Thurman to Lewisburg’s Alumni Dinner last Saturday night and it was great fun. They honored Bob Birdwhistle and since Thurman played ball for him, he wanted to go. Mr. B. was a man in the tradition of Adairville’s Jesse Richards. They were from another time. I guess God knew Mr. Richard couldn’t handle all the changes that Mr. B. has weathered and may have been the reason for taking him on home. Although, Mr. B’s health is not as good as it was, he took the microphone in grand tradition. He said he always gave the cheerleaders a hard time. He said he could get the beer out of the boys, the cigarettes out of the boys, but he could never quite get the cheerleaders out. He forbade them to talk to the boys before a game. At the conclusion of the program, Alice Lynn Forgy led the Alma Mater but not before telling him that she had done a poll and the cheerleaders did not accept his apology. In my opinion, which doesn’t amount to much, we need the kind of leadership today that the Bob Birdwhistle’s of the world could provide. Godspeed to you Mr. B.
The numbers are in and the Chamber did well on the Strawberry Festival. We have some projects that need tackling and will be getting right on them. We have an action packed summer full of activities coming up. Watch upcoming columns for information.
Debbie Neel is back at work at Headquarters. Glad to see her hand is better and she is able to return to work. Everyone missed you Debbie. So, just call Headquarters to schedule your appointment today.
Doesn’t our park look great? Everyone needs to give a big thanks to Danny Finch and Sarah Shoulders. They have worked very hard getting it to look as beautiful as it does. Tell them thanks the next time you see them or send them a note.
Remember the Walker family in your prayers this week. Don’t you know that heavenly choir is sounding good about now with Lan’s beautiful voice singing? I loved hearing him sing but in his later years, you could hardly get him to because he said his voice cracked. I remember when his family would do the talent show at the Strawberry Festival. The whole family would sing, even Landon if you can believe that. One of my fondest memories of Lan is several years ago, we had a play at the old Adairville School auditorium. Lan was playing JFK and was already in place with Tim Harris playing Elvis in front of the curtain. Well, as Tim cranked down on an Elvis song, Lan came out from behind his podium and grabbed me and started dancing. See, you never know what goes on behind the scenes. Love to you all as you deal with your loss.
Memories of the KT League
In my column last week, I talked about how ball games were so much a part of my growing up and I thought it would be fitting to talk to Paul Mayes about playing with the KT League. Little did I know that before the week had gone by one of the last living original players would pass away. As I talked to Paul, he said with the passing of Lan that he was the last one of the original players living now. He thinks that James David (Flea) Morrow, who was the bat boy, was still living in Biloxi, MS. Paul said during WWII, nobody played baseball because all the men were gone to war. When the war ended in 1945, people were so ready to have fun again. The KT League, which stood for the Kentucky-Tennessee League began in 1947 and consisted of (8) teams, Adairville, Russellville, Pleasant View, Adams, Guthrie, Springfield, Trenton, and Olmstead. On that first Adairville team were Lan Walker, Russell Robertson, Bailey Perry, J. W. (Skin) Baldwin, Junior Hesson, Buddy Hallman, Ralph Sharpe, Clyde Lee, Claude Dorris, Homer Rogers, Paul Mayes, and Pud Fuqua was the manager. Paul was the catcher and I remarked that it was amazing that he had never had to have a knee replacement contrary to having played a position that would seemingly be hard on the knee. The local businesses would sponsor the teams to help buy their uniforms. Every Sunday afternoon was spent playing ball at one of these eight ball fields. He said the following was huge, that there were always more fans there than you see at a Sounds or Hot Rods game now. Over the years some of the teams would drop out and other teams would fill their spots. Browns Store, Allensville, Franklin, Millersville, Cedar Hill, and Greenbriar were some of the teams that would jump in when one of the others dropped out. He said the competition was fierce, that most of the teams would pay professional or semi professional to come and play for them. Tom Morgan, a player for Austin Peay was one of the paid players that Adairville had at one time. Buster Boguski, who played for the Nashville Vols, played with Allensville at one time. I asked Paul for a favorite memory and he said it was just like a homecoming every Sunday and fun seeing how many people would gather and cheer on their team. He said an All Star Team was chosen every year by the managers.
Paul went into the Navy in 1948 during the Korean War. He was stationed in San Diego and when it was discovered that he played baseball, he found his way to the Navy baseball team. He played for them during his entire tour of duty in the Navy. Then when he was honorably discharged from the Navy, he came back home to Adairville and picked right back up playing for the Adairville team of the KT League. He said the league probably continued until the early to mid 60’s, he wasn’t sure when it ended. He said over the years, many stood out in his mind. Shine Richardson played for Russellville and maybe Allensville. Jimmy Young played for Adairville and he managed them after Pud Fuqua left. Ann Walker’s dad, Mr. Fuller, managed them for several years. As Paul looked through his scrap book, you could see and hear the joy the memories of this part of his life played. It was a simpler life when you enjoyed being with friends united in cheering on the Adairville KT League. Thanks Paul for the memories.
Note: Paul has donated his last uniform of the KT League to the Adairville museum and built a case for it. Stop by sometime and see it.
A hui hou kāko
“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand”