Ramblin' with Fergie by John Ferguson
Who’d a thought that resurrecting old Ramblin columns would be such a task? Certainly not me. But here I am, going back through my archives in search of gibberish I submitted about a quarter century ago in hopes of coming up with enough words to qualify as a column. Back then I was told that meant about 4000 words. I’m not counting, but here goes.
Here’s a subject I’ve been thinking about Ramblin on for quite some time, hometown nicknames. You’ve gotta admit, some of them are unique.
For instance, Doodle McDonald. I have no idea what his real name was, nor why he was known as Doodle. He made a living painting houses and was accomplished as a poet and a story teller. He was also a pretty hard drinker and the more he drank, the more colorful his stories became. Where the name, ‘Doodle’ came from, I don’t know.
Some of the other more unique nicknames at the time were Scab Bailey, Spatsy Simpson, Moot Maupin and Pood Dimmitt. As with Doodle, I can’t testify as to the origin of any of those monickers. I knew quite a few guys called Shorty, like Shorty Reed and Shorty Bruce, but I only knew one called Short, a former baseball teammate of mine, Short Thompson, whose real name was Royal, and Short’s brother, who was known as Razor.
Honk Gude was a local legend as a pool shooter and we also had the Breedlove brothers, Sheepy and Fuzzy, as well as the Case brothers, Snipey and Chink. We had Chigger Brown, Scrawny Bridgeford, and Lippy Gardner. We also used to have Fireball Nielson, Baz Foster, Scud Spittler, Tuffy Beam, Tuff Meek, Bungy Lloyd, Jiffy Holliman, Tater Simpson and before my time, Snowball Reynolds, a lawman. More recently, Eugene Dale Tiemeyer was known to me only as Homer, which made it one of those ultimate nicknames that nobody knew was a nickname. Others that come to mind are Popeye White and Turk Kamman. One of my old classmates, Porter Hamilton, came to be known as Raunchy and that came about like this.
We had just lost a basketball game in a contest that Porter didn’t get to play and were loading the schoolbus for the ride home when Porter broke out singing the hit song of the day, Raunchy, by somebody whose name I can’t recall. The basketball coach didn’t think Porter’s singing was appropriate for the occasion and sarcastically told Porter that he should be in the chorus. Porter replied that he was in the chorus and that sometimes he got to sing. Even the coach, Don Fitch, saw the humor in that response, but he only quietly smiled.
From first wife Hallie’s side of the family, there was Aunt Ick, Aunt Stub and, of course, the world’s best mother-in-law, Hallie’s mom, Squeak Cully.
And speaking of Hallie, she suggests that I sign this one off with the only nickname my family ever had for me, Tubby Lardtail. I’m outta here.