To successfully navigate the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, one must have a sponsor to keep the drunk from continuing on this path.
My dad’s sponsor is the guy in this photo.
I’ve listened to my dad, through smoke-filled rooms, give testimony to his life with and without alcohol.
I preferred without.
Thankfully, he did too.
After sitting through more than a few AA meetings, I’m convinced that all alcoholics really just trade the alcohol for coffee and cigarettes. For those familiar with the area, the house on Bayou Sara Avenue near Cedar Street, was where I heard him talk the most and not coincidentally where I learned to drink coffee.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the guy standing to the right of my dad was actually, Colonel Sanders.
It sure looks like him.
I halfway expect him to pull out a bucket of fried chicken – original recipe!
He’s actually a man named Bud Rose.
He lived in Memphis and I remember him talking to my dad in our house in Saraland about getting sober. He had a Big Book and spoke about admitting that he was “powerless over alcohol … and that his life … “had become unmanageable.
Yes. It was.
Dad drove to Memphis a lot to speak or to listen to Bud speak.
But Bud had a secret (sort of). And I’m hoping that this doesn’t constitute some old FBI secret.
Bud’s claim to fame was being a body guard for the American gangster from Memphis, George Francis Barnes Jr., better known as Machine Gun Kelly. Then he’d lift his shirt and display a large and gruesome scar on his stomach that was produced, allegedly, by a machine-gun.
For a similar visual, see Lyndon Johnson showing off his surgical scar to reporters.
Sometimes I get the chance to talk about terrorism and its history in the U.S. And Bud’s story makes for a nice introduction to the topic.