To successfully navigate the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, one must have a sponsor to keep them on the right path and stay sober.
My dad's sponsor is the guy in this photo.
Many times I've listened to my dad, through smoke-filled rooms, give testimony to his life with and without alcohol.
I preferred without.
I am convinced that all alcoholics really just trade the alcohol for coffee and cigarettes. For those familiar with the area, the house on Bayou Sara Ave, near Cedar Street, was where I heard him talk and where I learned to drink copious amounts of coffee.
Now, to the photo: you might be forgiven for thinking that the guy standing to the right of my dad was actually, COL Sanders. It sure looks like him. I half-way expect him to reach out holding a bucket of fried chicken - original recipe!
It'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 often drove to Memphis 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 state secret.
Regardless, Bud would tell us that his 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 good 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 this old story makes for a nice way to introduce the topic.