Wednesday, July 3, 2013


          I have told tales for my friend, Jeff Ragsdale, before. He’s my old frat brother and part of the infamous Cruise Ship Tacky Tux night story as related here. Over the years, Rags has become one of my closest friends and since 1989, many of my up and my downs have been experienced with him by my side.
Halloween 1994
John Gideon aka Greg Allman, me, Randy Arnold, and Jeff Ragsdale

            Rags recently bought an old house and had it renovated in Darien, GA which is only an hour away from us. For months, we’ve been trying to synch our schedules to get together. We’ve been especially anxious because we both have 9 year old boys that Rags and I hoped would hit it off.  

            Seeing that the Geeky Hut had a busted AC unit and we had a clean schedule, Jude and I hoped into the Black Pearl and headed down to the Ragsdale Ranch South.
           I figured Jude would have no problems getting along with Rag’s boy, Sanders, but I still had my worries mainly because this was something Rags and I wanted so badly. Two old frat brothers watching their kids run off and play together and the adults complained of grown up stuff like property taxes and how our beautiful wives tolerate us.
            I’m not sure if Sanders and Jude enjoyed being around each other. What do you think?  
Raising the Proverbial Roof....

               Yesterday was filled with moments of immense joy for me. Bonding over Legos, Sanders and Jude had the best time yesterday. Rags took us to Skipper’s Fish Camp which was awesome and a few blocks from Rag’s new home.
              Skipper's is located right on the river front so of, course, exploration must occur followed by a few game of corn hole. The Dads played the Sons for ice cream. Shocker when the Dads lost. Hmmmm.......

Jude loves oysters

Sanders amazes me at how much he looks like his Dad and his Mom

Ragsdale for the lose...
As we left, Rags suggested the boys walk home. My first instinct was to nix this idea but Rags re-assured me it would be all right. I realized quickly how much the sleepy town of Darien was much like the Savannah I grew up with and knew there was nothing to be worried about. (Even though I did keep an eye on the boys most the whole way home). Here the boys are trying to race the Black Pearl back to the house.
"On you mark, get set
After some frozen treats courtesy of the good folks at Dairy Queen (Rags wonders why there is no Dairy King. There is a Burger King after all), we headed back to the front porch. Sanders and Jude took off on bikes for some riding around the neighborhood.
Watching Jude take off on his borrowed bike, soared me back to childhood and a time before I-pods and cell phones. I can remember riding around Grandma and Pop’s neighborhood for hours back before Harrock Hall had paved roads. Hours were spent kicking up dust on those roads as I take the old one speed around.  It made me more than a little sad that we don’t live in an area good for Jude to ride like that nor have any friends close by.
This picture really summed my day up for me yesterday. Every now and then you take a picture which captures that moment and this is mine. Somehow watching Sanders and Jude walking along the road under a canopy of live oaks and a curtain of Spanish moss resonated inside of me.
That little voice in the back of my head which I now pay attention to me told me something important was happening here. At first, I thought maybe a story idea may pop up from this image and it may still. For some reason, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn running along the muddy banks of the Mississippi came to mind which made me smile. When I tried to go coastal with that literary image, the best I could do was Toomer and Ben Meecham from The Great Santini which somehow didn’t quite hit the mark though a hell of a story.
Jeff Ragsdale and I met in the Fall of 1989. I’ve have watched this guy go from being the life of the party (which he still is) to a respected member of his community teaching Sunday school and even the treasurer of his PTA. (Hell, I can remember a time when our fraternity wouldn’t even accept a check from Rags)
Rags and I have stood by each other when our girlfriends dumped us, making a dreaded call to the West GA Registrar’s office to figure out the minimum GPA we needed to be eligible for graduation, and at many other times. This was the guy who was in the waiting room at Crawford Long Hospital and held my sister, sobbing when we got the news the Big Guy didn’t make it. A few times, Rags even blessed me out about getting my act together when it came to my health and gave me a much needed wake up call.  
Quite truthfully, I could write a blog alone on my hysterical friendship with Jeffery Howell Ragsdale, Jr. For a quarter of a century, we’ve woven in and out of each other’s highs and lows. Though, I do my best to be my own man, I fall into the same trap all adults create for themselves where they compare their lives to those around them. Rags has always been my litmus test for adulthood.
Yesterday, I sat on a front porch in Darien GA while enjoying a pleasant coastal breeze with my life-long friend where we experienced yet another milestone. I watched my step-son hopefully make a life-long friend for himself but at the very least, I watched Jude have a blast and maybe a memory or two on our Guy’s Day. The words escape me today to wrap this one up in a clever way. Maybe I’m being too emotional. Maybe I just can’t find the words. I have no real idea.
I do know that once again I am reminded of how lucky I am in my friendship with Rags. I thank him for giving me yet another milestone in our big ol’ bucket list of life and I look forward to what my future brings with all of this.  Whatever happens, I am betting there will be creases in my face from all the laugh lines.
And now Sanders and Jude rapping "It's Raining Ice Cream" :



  1. Love this!! A friend and I have been talking a lot lately about how we wish we could go back to childhood and how "these kids today" have no idea what they are missing. It's great you can give Jude a taste of that fun, uncomplicated life. It is truly wonderful that you and Rags have stayed so close. I have some amazing memories from my very short time at West Georgia and hanging with the ATO guys. Great post. And tell Rags I said Hi!!!

  2. Thanks, Regina and thanks for always saying that just right thing when I need to hear it. I really do appreciate you reading my blog and have enjoyed getting re-connected with you via FB.