“He was a fantastic athlete!” That’s how a former teammate described John T. “Butterball” Jones when told of the latter’s death Nov. 8. It’s an accurate description — “Butterball” still holds five Rushville High School football records. I’ll share those with you soon, but I’d like to get some comments from other former teammates as well. If you’re too modest to have your name included, I can use nicknames or initials. Now I know some of you were raised on John Wayne movies and are the “strong, silent type,” so if you want to be anonymous, that’s OK. Just let me know.

Getting out the old Holcads sure brought back lots of memories. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay much attention to football until No. 3 brother started playing. Basketball was the sport I watched. I think I started going to games in junior high, maybe sixth grade. It was as much a social event as an athletic competition, but I did admire the athletes.

When I was in grade school, the Boys Club only allowed girls for one Saturday a month, if that often. In high school, I was very active in the Girls Athletic Association, which was fun but nothing like the daily practices and interscholastic competition of today.

Anyway, anyone wanting to share their memories of “Butterball” or other athletes of the ‘50s, or of what it was like being in sports then, feel free to contact me at one of the addresses below.

Speaking of e-mail, Kokomo bro Don sent the following about an ape.

One day, an ape escaped from the zoo. His escape was announced on the nightly news and in the newspapers, but no one reported seeing the creature.

Eventually, zoo officials found him reading at the library. He had two books open and a puzzled look on his face. One book was written by Darwin. The other was the Bible. When the zookeepers asked him why he was reading, the ape said, "I'm trying to figure out if I'm my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother."

From the same source came a story of irony.

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

"I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."

"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.

"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.

"I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of." And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.

His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill. Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Let me end with some personal notes. Sherry W., glad you’re feeling better. Keep those e-mails going to DV so he can forward them.

To MAH, WLP and Janci, belated birthday greetings.

To all of you, dear readers, I’m thankful for you. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


Watch for Jan Voiles’s column Fridays in the Rushville Republican. Add a comment at www.rushvillerepublican.com.

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