Published 1:55 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

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The time was 8 a.m. and the Board was meeting in the back corner of Synco Drugs.

All was quiet except for the rattling of metal on metal. Then a loud cheer and laughter.

Board member William Davis was congratulated for having the low board score and the opportunity to pay for the coffee all around.

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The Board is comprised of “pre-nursing home old men” and meets every weekday, with the exception of holidays, in the geriatric corner of Synco Drugs.

The Board meeting opens with each “old man” getting a turn at playing the board.

Playing the board is a Troy tradition that began around 1947 at Gam Green’s Sandwich Shop “or maybe it was his drug store.

Davis explained that the “board” is a handmade “contraption” that was made by “Perry Young, Sis Young’s husband.”

“Or it might have been made in Japan,” a Board member quipped.

“The board is made of monkey board that slants to the center,” Davis said. “It has all these small holes that are the size of these little ball bearings. You drop the ball bearings down through the tube that’s made out of a metal coat hanger and they drop out, roll around and go in a numbered hole. The player with the lowest score is the winner and pays for the coffee … usually around eight or nine dollars. “Depending on how many wives have let their husbands out of the house, “Eh, William?”

“There’s something carved in the board,” Mike Guillory said. “Looks like – John Key loves H.H.”

“Homer Hamilton!” was the collective jibe.

“Isn’t that carved on a tree somewhere?” Loud laughter. John Key even laughed at that.

The Board members around the table that frosty Alabama morning also included Ronnie Baker, William B. Key and Jack Norton.

Much of the ribbing was directed toward Larry Meeks, the Karate Kid whose “feet don’t match.”

However, Meeks took everything in stride and even seemed to enjoy the verbal jostling.

The Board’s agenda usually includes sports, politics, city doings, local gossip, and military service — “We’ve got a lot of heroes. Did you know that Milton McKeller got two ships blown out from under him?” Meeks asked.

“Who was it that served on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt?”

The group talks about local events and the traffic on Highway 231 and how to avoid it. They talk about the good ol’ days and about how all men carried knives in their pockets. “And, still do.”

The Board members proudly emptied their pockets of Case knives.

As if on cue, a Board member beckoned Charlene from the pharmacy and serenaded her with “Oh, Charlene-a,” and then it was back to Board business.

The talk centered around general good advice – “Buy low and sell high,” “Keep mama happy; if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “Don’t trust Larry Meeks.”

Somebody knew somebody who had found a cow and somebody who had sold a bunch of cows. Nobody could remember what they did the day before or what they were supposed to do the next day. And, it really didn’t seem to matter.

The Board members switched their conversation to the pitfalls of getting more senior and the security of knowing that one cannot be discriminated against because of old age.

“Here we are wearing hearing aids and bifocals and not being able to pick our legs up high enough to get off the curb,” William Key said.

“And our daily exercise is falling down and getting back up,” Guillory said.

“Health is an issue,” said Norton, the Board’s radio personality. “We all want good health. We want to stay on the green side of the grass.”

And, it’s better to be seen than to be viewed, Baker added laughing.

Laughter is the best medicine and the Board members open wide and take a big dose of the medicine at their meetings.

And although, they are not getting any younger, they enjoy each day and count their blessings.

They are fortunate to have had good and wise people around to lead and guide them and to have family and friends who love them.

The collective wish of the Board members is health and happiness for all those they love and a world of peace and prosperity for all.