1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


My Space

Alex McLaughlin  Nov 29, 2010

I was wandering in the woods one day and wondering about all the stuff going on in the world. “Death and taxes. ”A fool and his money are soon separated”. "Water doesn’t flow upstream.' ” No one knows what goes on in the minds of men or other unspecified species.” Now I wondered how I could really figure out what was going on in the world in an up to date manner, if I stayed in the backwaters of West Virginia contemplating all these worldly things. I have made some time travels in the past. Well maybe I could actually make space travels.

Barry has hinted that maybe Toby Keeney was a space traveler. People could go from one end of Alderson to the other and see Toby many times. A feat that could only be explained by the fact that he was a space traveler. I once worked with Jimmy, I never knew Jimmy’s last name but Jimmy must have been a space traveler. Jimmy was also a janitor at the state house. Jimmy’s light didn’t always shine real bright but he was still pretty darn observant. At the office we always had fund raisers for charitable causes: United Way, breast cancer, the heart association etc. Jimmy saw all this and he came to the conclusion that if everybody else raised money for charitable reason why couldn’t he. So, Jimmy would go around and ask all the workers for money for cancer. A few people gave money to him before they realized that Jimmy was pocketing all of the money. He wasn’t being dishonest. He thought that that was the way everybody got money when they were a little short.

We also had a runner we will call Robert the Roan. A runner would run the mail from building to building at the state house. Robert was also our in house bookie. Robert would take our money and go place our bets on football games with a real bookie in Charleston. It was a wonderful relationship. I almost never won on the bets and most of my friends didn’t win either. One day I did win on 4 way parlay bet. I looked and looked for Robert and never could find him. I later learned that was part of the deal. If you actually won a bet you were likely never to see Robert again because he never would place the bets with the bookie. He was relying on our ignorance of college and pro football. The odds were normally with him. He figured he could cover in those rare instances that we won. But apparently he would spend the cover money. He was kind of the reverse of the space traveler who you would see all over the place. You never saw Robert again. The part about me betting on games is really fiction.

We also had a runner named Pickles who everybody loved. Pickles got his name because in earlier life he was pretty regularly pickled. He loved the Cincinnati Reds and always wore a belt with a big picture of Pete Rose on the buckle. Pickles always wore a brimmed hat tilted on his head so the brim was at a 45 degree angle towards the sky. Our regular work hours were from 8:30 am to 5pm. Pickles would take his wife to work early and always show up at our work place at 5 am and he would leave at 1 pm. This went on for a number of years until our new boss wondered what in the heck Pickles was doing from 5 to 8:30. None of the other buildings were opened during those hours so Pickles couldn’t deliver mail. The bottom line was that Pickles was an institution at the state house. He also ran personal errands for the boss and he kept those hours until he retired.

Actually, Robert the Roan was hired to give Pickles cover during the work hours from 1 to 5pm. That worked out pretty well except during football season when somebody theoretically won a bet that they had placed with Robert. Then we would be without either Pickles or Robert during the afternoon hours and the mail would have to wait. “The Governor‘s office needs the letter this afternoon”. “Yeah well Pickles or Robert will try to bring it tomorrow”

Back to the space traveling. As we said earlier before I sidetracked myself, Jimmy was a time traveler. You could go from one end of Kanawha County to the other and different people would see Jimmy three or four times. Until Barry talked about Toby Keeney I always thought that there were two or three Jimmies because everybody saw him so much. Now both Toby and Jimmy were what you would call local space travelers. In the world of today you can’t be a local space traveler and really know what is going on. So I have decided to become a world space traveler. Now I am trying to build up the expertise and courage to head out into space. If I am successful, the first person I am going to let know is Barry via the Aldersonian.

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