A Childhood Chum Pays A Visit

by Curt Kovener

Last Monday after the newspaper was sent electronically to the printing plant (a process that has become routine but still amazes me that the printed page you are reading with color photos gets sent over two tiny wires in a matter of seconds), I started off on my second job. Not to bore you with details but I travel several counties in southern Indiana doing home and business inspections for insurance companies.

It was while I was busy photographing and measuring in Jennings County that my cell phone rang. It was from Crothersville Chief of Police Richard Hanlin.

“Oh, oh,” I think. “Some big new event is going on and I already sent this weeks edition to the printer.”

But this was not a police-press matter.

“I have someone here at the station who is looking for you,” the chief said.

“Oh, oh,” I think. “Did I forget to pay some bill?”

“And he says you play a ratty trumpet,” the chief continued.

That confounded me a bit as I haven’t played trumpet since high school back in that other millennium.

Putting the seeker on the phone, I quickly learned it was a childhood chum who was visiting in the area.

Steve Huckleberry was one of the neighborhood guys back in elementary and junior high days. We both played in the band, he a trombone and me a not so ratty trumpet. We also joined in the neighborhood games of baseball, softball and football depending on the season. And we explored the woods behind our houses.

After some conversation we agreed to meet for drinks in Seymour where he and his wife, Dana, were staying.

From my perspective, I can say Steve hasn’t changed much in nearly 50 years. Some grizzled facial hair to supplant the thinning places on top of his head, but I quickly recognized him.

There were many laughs as we caught one another up on life and family.

He is retired from a city police department in Florida and recently retired as a county sheriff’s deputy in the Sunshine State. I told him it is ironic that the most mischievous, troublemaking boy in the neighborhood would grow up to have a career in law enforcement.

“Remember all the forts we built in that woods? Playing Robin Hood? Swinging from grape vines?” he asked.

“Those were fun times but that woods in now a soybean field,” I reported.

When he began asking about some of the neighborhood gang, was when some somber moments were spent. When he would mention some names and ask what they were up to I reported some had moved, one had been in jail, some were deceased, but that many had married had families and retired like he had.

But most of our time was spent in laughter. The two hours at the restaurant went incredibly fast.

So after taking some photos and exchanging cell phone numbers, we departed with a handshake and glad for the time together to reminisce…to be neighborhood kids again.