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Archive for December, 2011

Jimmie’s Hot Dogs!

I have no doubt that if you placed me on island in the middle of a hurricane that was blowing sand and water in my face at 150 miles a hour, with water up to my chin, and you gave me a Jimmie’s Hot Dog and ask me to taste it, and tell you where it came from, I could. Put me in a room with a million different hot dogs, and I could pick out Jimmie’s. That may be overstating it a mite, but I have been eating those wonderful dogs for over 60 years and I can truly say that they taste and looked the same today as they have always looked and tasted.

I know, having said that, you think those dogs are the only thing I eat, don’t you? Actually, I mostly only get them when I go home to Albany Georgia for a visit. Today was such a day. We Butler’s have been gathering each year on the Saturday before Christmas at my parent’s home for the past six decades. My mom always cooks Brunswick Stew and we get Jimmies to go with it. That tradition has not changed in all of those years. Five generations of kids have eaten those dogs at their house, and I don’t know of one that doesn’t love them.

On many occasions my parents, when coming to Florida to one of my kid’s birthday parties, would bring a cooler full of the hot dogs. Two of my daughters rode up together today, and one said to the other, “I don’t know what exit is what around Albany, but I can get you to Jimmie’s.” At lunch today my wife Barbara Jo, and daughter Terri Jo, held up the Jimmie’s while daughter Candi Jo, took a picture of them and sent it as a ‘Goode Goode’ to Missy Jo, my daughter in South Carolina that couldn’t make it this year. They got the expected reply. I simply can’t explain the attraction to this phenomenal food. When we cook the dogs at home I may eat two, and if I get one at the fast food restaurants, I usual get just one. However, I can eat four Jimmie’s before I can even take a sip of tea.  

So, what is so special about them? I don’t know if I can tell you or not, without you experiencing one of those delectable treats yourself. While you can get them with all the modern trimmings, the two dogs that are the most sold, and also their flagship are, ‘All the way and without onions,’ wrapped in wax paper and put into a brown paper bag. And since people buy them by the dozens, the bags will have on the front something like; ‘16AW or 12 WO.’ All the way is a little red weenie on a toasted bun, sliced down the middle rather from the side, with mustard, chili and onions. Without onions is just that. They are sold from the same building across from the bus station with no tables or chairs, and behind the same counter by the same women as they were in the 1940’s. Well, maybe not the same women, but when I close my eyes and look back, I see the same set up of four to five women behind that same counter preparing the dogs. It starts with the pot of boiling dogs, and with a lady bagging them at the other end. And the line will be out the door. I doubt anyone would dispute that.

I loved growing up in Albany where one of my very first jobs was selling the Albany Herald on the city streets as a young boy, always earning enough extra to buy at least one dog and a coke a cola. However, I’m sad to say that I don’t know the town anymore. I fear that the ‘Grand dame of the South’ has gone the way of all the other ‘Progressive cities.’  You would think that you were in Detroit instead of Albany. I have never seen such division between people. I am just thankful that Jimmie’s is still around to bring back all those youthful memories. Some traditions are worth keeping and while I know there may be others around town, Jimmie’s Hot Dogs surly ranks up at the top where it never was about black or white, but rather about the little red Winnie.

Jimmy Baltas, you did good, Jimmie’s Hot Dogs may be the last business standing in town.

David Butler

2011

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“What kind of tree is that David?” “That is an Acer rubrum, or Red Maple. It has a broad, flat simple palmately lobed notched v-shaped leaves. Seeds are winged and about three quarters of an inch long. It is more common in the southwestern and eastern parts of Ohio.” “Un huh, and that one?” “Oh you mean the Castanea dentate? Or what you would call the Chestnut? It is native to the northeastern states. You can see it has broad flat simple not lobed coarse teeth leaves about 5 to 8 inches long. The fruit has a short stout stem, with its nut in a spiny husk 2-3 inches in diameter.”

 “Ok.”                                                                                                                 

“That one over there is a Betula nigra, or River Birch, which is typically found growing on stream banks and in swampy lowlands. It can grow to 80 feet in height and is sometimes use for furniture and woodenware. This one here is a Ginkgo biloba or Maidenhair Tree, which most people just call it Gingko. It is native to china and is mostly an ornamental tree in the states. Here is a Fraxinus Americana or White Ash, which is the largest of the Ash trees, with some reaching 100 feet in height. The wood from this tree is used to make the famous Louisville slugger bats.”

Every now and then I get to feeling that I am not up to date on trees as I should be, so I go see my friend and neighbor, David. We always take a stroll around his property and look at his trees. All 500 plus species of them!  And my friend will tell me about and name every one of his trees. All of them, including the scientific names. He has 50 species of Oaks and at least that many of the maples. He even has a Cedar of Lebanon, ( Cedrus libani ). I can not imagine anyone out side of some professor in some college that knows more or has as many different species of trees as David. I cannot even pronounce the scientific names much less remember them.

To say that David was different would be understating it a mite. Along with the trees, I also don’t know of anyone anywhere in any country that has as many record albums as David. All of them are in the original cardboard covers and in protective plastic sleeves, on shelves, cataloged according to type of music. Part of the collection is in a semi trailer that has shelves from floor to ceiling on both sides with two rows of shelves in the center from floor to ceiling. The rest is in his large studio with the same type of shelf set up. I do not think 50,000 will touch the number.

He has a record player in his studio with all kinds of amps and big, (very big), speakers and he listens to every album when he buys them. I have listened to many of the old ones with him. He asked me the other night, when I was over there, did I have one that I wanted to hear, and I thought that this was a good time to test him. So I said, do you have ‘Old Dog Tray?’ He asked who recorded it, and I said I don’t know, but Stephen Foster wrote it. And yes, he had an album of folk songs by him. I guess the love of music just comes natural to David who as a junior in high school played First French horn for the University of Florida’s Orchestra, also having co wrote and recorded 14 songs. David was even invited to audition for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, but at the time he was hoping for a spot in the major leagues as a catcher. That dream died when he blew out his knee.

Hoarder he is, but in a fanatical organized way. Workaholic also. Always working in his trees during the day, and on his album collection at night. David is a retired correctional officer and stone cutter. Stone cutter? Yes a stone cutter, then again not just any stone cutter, but an award winning stone cutter, having pioneered the famous Tri-Mead and Fox Cut in precious stones. He even made trips to Africa to purchase his stones. Rumor has it that he even cut some for the mafia, or maybe it was that he was approached by them to cut some. If you want to talk precious stone cutting, he is your man, just be prepared to stay awhile. He will also show you his trophies and awards, along with some of the stones he cut.

Yep that is my friend David, (Plant a tree for me), Mead. There are none like him anywhere. Well suited to the life that he and wife Dawn, with daughter, Hunter live, along with their two dogs, a three foot long iguana, 50,000+ record albums and all those trees.

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

ad lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poem are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

-Alfred Joyce Kilmer-

 

David Butler

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How did we get from a nation of ‘Earn what you get,’ to a nation of ‘Give me what you got?’ I guess I am out of touch with a society that thinks there should be no losers, only winners. A nation that believes I should have as much as you, and if you have more than me, then you should give it to me. Every child should have a ‘Participation trophy,’ as if getting a little plastic trophy makes them feel good about themselves for just showing up.  I don’t care how hard he works for his wealth, I want my share. My dumb mistakes are everyone else’s fault.

How did we turn out this generation of entitled hellions with their inflated sense of what they have coming to them, (as someone said).

 I am a master of failure. While I do not cherish that title, I also know it has made me a better person. I look back on the failures as learning experiences, and it gave me a sense of drive to do better. I have flaws in my character, but whining about failures and envying what others have is not one of them. My parents taught us that you work for what you get, and to respect others that do the same.  

I think about my little 8 year old niece, who is going to the state championship in gymnastics this year. She has had to go through many events, where she did not always win, to get there. Her failures only made her stronger and more determined.  Her strong desire for excellence, while it may or may not take her to the Olympics one day, will certainly take her down the road to a successful life.  

Then we have the ‘Have not,’ occupying Wall Street, demanding their participation trophy, just for being born.

I think about George Dawson, a black man who learned to read at age 98, after working 90 of those years and raising seven children, all of them college graduates. His story is one that should shame anyone who thinks ‘He is entitled.’

Then there’s my dad, who retired for the third time at 82, and only then due to my mom’s failing health. He never had fame or wealth, but he is known as a ‘Working Man.’ A title that ‘Occupiers’ have no desire to achieve, who would rather spend two months in a tent demanding their fair share, than flipping hamburgers to earn a days pay.

Ok David, tell us what you really think!

In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul said “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Someone said, “Give a man a fish and he will eat that day, but give him a fishing pole and he will eat from now on.” I say, “Tell the man where he can find the bamboo, hook, line and bait. Go get it and start fishing.”

Our country is on the verge of going socialist, with our president leading the way. But show me a country where it has worked. Don’t give me the banking Scandinavian countries where all the money is either. You want to see socialism failure, just look at Greece, a country of lazy incompetent idiots who want everything handed to them. Sound familiar? Occupiers maybe?

We are a better country than that.

David Butler

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