Friday night Harold E. “Warty” Warren will be just that, “Forever 50,” with the retirement of his jersey as one of the very best to ever put on a football uniform for Alexandria High School.
In my years as a sports writer, I was privileged to watch some of the very best prep players to ever play in this area. In any list, Warty would be in the top 10, maybe even the top five. He was that good.
To put it in football speak, Warty was a headhunter, rangy and quick and fast.
The accolades were many:
All-County and All-State, 1958-59; county lineman of the year, 1958-59; Wigwam High School All-American, 1959.
But his biggest contribution to the Valley came in the 27 years he was commissioner of the Alexandria youth baseball program. He ran a tight ship, an outstanding program.
Warty died in April of 2012.
Retirement ceremonies are Friday night at 6:30, just prior to the game with Etowah.
There is a special invitation for those who played with Warty or coached with him to join the on-field ceremonies.
“Also serving Chinese food.”
I have no idea why, but that hit my funny bone.
SIGNS II: “Eggs $1 dozen.” That on a crudely lettered sign near Frog Eye. The blonde says that’s a bargain and I should have stopped.
SIGNS III: It wasn’t exactly a sign, but the flag hanging from the front porch of a home near Frog Eye got my attention. One-half of the flag was Auburn; the other half was Alabama. A home divided, huh?
He sits down and, before he does anything, he removes his cap.
On my way out, we talk for a minute and I wish I’d gotten his name. I would love to know more about a man who was raised in the old way of good manners and respect for those who did the teaching. He made me feel just a bit better and for that I thank him.
A few days later, seated at a restaurant in Gadsden, I passed that story along to seven others at the table. Right in the middle, it hits me that the man just to my left is wearing his cap.
Yeah, I can put my foot in my mouth without a lot of effort, but he got a good laugh out of my discomfort and then told one on himself:
“I remember one time I was eating in this restaurant somewhere in Tennessee and had my cap on. I was asked to remove my cap or leave. I started to leave, but I was hungry.”
Made me feel just a little better about my careless mouth ... and my own lack of manners.
A SPECIAL birthday in our family this week was Tuesday (Aug. 27) and Susie Robinson Smith got all the attention. She’s our daughter-in-law and Barry’s lady. Not only do I love her; I like her a lot, too.
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org