By Butch Hurford
As we got older our games on 5th st. changed. We went from toy cars to real ones. I was surprised one night when PaPa asked if I wanted to take his car. I got to take his car once a week. Eddie had an old car that we would work on during the day and then was lucky to get back home in, that night!
As I was working at the shoe shop one day when John Simmons came thru Augusta on his job and stopped for a short visit. He knew our football team wasn’t doing good but told me he would try to see me play sometime. John was working in Little Rock and couldn’t get to Augusta very often.
When I was in the 9th grade our school opened a teenage club in the old Smith Hotel. We were there one night when three boys from McCrory came in. In those day’s if you were not a paid member you were not allowed in unless someone signed you in. I was reluctant to do it but one of the local girls knew them and ask me to sign them in. At that time I didn’t know anybody from McCrory. Augusta kids and McCrory kids didn’t mix!
That night I met a boy named Mack McCuan. He became a lifelong friend. We started running around together at the end of our 10th grade. The summer before we were seniors I talked him into joining the National Guard. He didn’t want to do it but finally gave in. When we got there that night to be sworn in I tried to back out! Mack told me, I was not backing out and to get my butt in there right now!!!!(these were not quite the words he used)😂we went to summer camp in Folk Polk, LA for two weeks. During our free time we worked out getting ready for our Senior year in football.
McCrory had a good team that year and we had a mediocre team. The night we played McCrory the officials didn’t show up. After Coach King realized there had been a mix up he, Coach Matlock, Max Sallings and the McCrory Coach officiated the game. They beat us 34 to 24! Only two penalties were called the entire game, 5 yards against Augusta and 5 yards against McCrory.
Mack and I planned to take the six months of active duty and stay in the Guard. I did not go. I got a discharge because of my football scholarship and started college. I went to College of the Ozarks. I dropped out after a year. Mack graduated from college and later became my Health Inspector at the Augusta Grill and he did NOT cut me any slack!!!!!
We later officiated football games together with our friend Pedro Brown. Pedro was the head official. His pep talk before the game was “hustle and keep those d*** flags in your pocket”!!!