Cookbook holds more than recipes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2003

It sounded like a good idea at the time; and at the time I was a full fledged sophomore attending Auburn University, full of vim and vigor and ready to conquer the world!

The year was 1960; the month was February. At that time I did not have a car, but my fraternity brother Claude did -- a 1956 Pontiac with that swept back windshield. It was a cool dude of an automobile. Claude was from Selma, and I was from Safford, about 25 miles southwest of Selma. The town of Orrville lay halfway between Selma and Safford. Turn in Orrville and go south for about ten miles, and you were in Five Points.

There was nothing in Five Points -- well almost nothing!

Two cute girls who were good friends lived in Five Points. They were high school seniors, a good dating age for two nifty college sophomores. Claude was already dating one of them. She would fix me up with her friend.

But, there was a problem. My dad sent me to Auburn University to get an education -- not to play. My father was at Auburn (then Alabama Polytechnic Institute) in 1931, the height of the Great Depression.

He had to drop out of school – no funds. So, his instructions to me were to stay in Auburn 24 hours a day seven days a week, study and get an education.

No, if, ands or buts!

It was a Friday afternoon. Claude paraded the idea in front of me that his Five Point's girlfriend could fix me up with her girlfriend. Claude and I could leave Auburn, drive to Five Points, pick the girls up, take them to a movie in Selma, take them home and then we would return to Auburn; and nobody would be the wiser.

Hmm, it didn't take much persuading for me to say yes.

So, off to Five Points we went on a dreary, misting rain, overcast evening. Claude drove kind of fast. It was in the dead of winter. The very narrow road from Orrville to Five Points was paved, but that is all I could say about it. Claude was hitting 65 mph so I was a bit nervous, but I allayed those fears every time my mind drifted back to that cute date to be of mine. I tried not to think about daddy. By then it was foggy, and Claude's headlights did not penetrate the fog well.

About two miles from Five Points we topped a hill and what did we see? Mules -- yes mules -- everywhere!

On all sides of the road, in the road, facing us, tails to us, sideways to us! All I had time to do was close my eyes. Glass shattered everywhere -- in me, on me, over me! And, I felt a heavy object hit my chest.

The next thing I remember I was lying on Dr. John T. Moore's examining table. He was our family doctor in Orrville. He was picking glass out of me and sewing up a nasty gash in my right arm. And, he was on the telephone. I heard him say: "Yes John, it is your son: John. I am sure it is him. I am looking at him." (My father's name is John.) At that moment, I was hoping that I could expire right there on the table. I was supposed to be in Auburn studying; however that was obviously not the case. Daddy was not a happy camper!

Then, Dr. Moore said: "I have a new nickname for you." It is: "Mulehead!"

Claude said that one of the many mules in the road was standing perpendicular to our direction of travel with his front feet planted on the edge of my side of the road with his head sticking out into the road. The swept back right windshield of Claude's Pontiac severed the mule's head just behind his ears, and the heavy object that hit my chest was the mule's head: ears, teeth, tongue and all! According to Claude, the mule's head came to rest in my lap. Dr. Moore called me "Mulehead" forever. A more correct name would have been mule brain!

I guess this true story stands for the proposition that "a mule head in the lap is better than two in the road"!

Oh, for you city slickers, how do you get a mule? You do not breed a mule to a mule!