During my five weeks at the NCO Academy in Orlando, Fla., we had very little free time. When I was not in class I went to the day room and shot pool.
As a young teenager, I was taught how to shoot pool by the best play in Jenkins. Bud Blizzard ran the pool hall in the Jenkins Rec Building. I don’t know where he learned to play pool, but he was the best this old boy had ever seen.
In the two years before I went in the military, I played left field for his traveling baseball team, and he taught me to shoot pool. I became very good.
A T/Sgt. David Butcher wanted to play pool with me. He told me he went to school in West Virginia with Jerry West, the L.A. Lakers basketball hero.
After we played a few games he wanted to play 9 ball for money. A couple of other men wanted to play. Needless to say, I cleaned their plow and made enough money in the five weeks I was at the Academy to pay for my gas and motels on my trip back to California.
Butcher was stationed in the Azores, an island in the north Atlantic, west of Portugal. He asked me if I could get him transferred to Travis Air Force Base.
After I returned to Travis, I went to our personnel offi ce and talked to the officer in charge, and within 90 days Sgt. Butcher was assigned to Travis. He moved into base quarters a few houses from me. We started shooting pool a couple of nights a week, and sometimes on the weekend.
I had a part-time job on the weekend and this new friend of mine was wearing me out. My wife was very upset with all my time away from my family. I cut my pool shooting down to a couple of days a month.
We were in the same headquarters for eight years. We were on the same bowling team and softball team. We were old hillbillies who liked each other.
I then went to Germany for three years and he was assigned as the sergeant major of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co. He is now a car salesman in Denver, and visits me about once a year.
He still can’t beat me shooting pool.