Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
‘Bout 30 miles or so west of the EastWing there’s a town called DeMotte. Now DeMotte’s kinda special to us Howards, for a few reasons. One being that’s where #1 son operates part of the family businesses. That business being BUB’S BBQ.
Several days ago Mother Nature displayed the power of the Force right there in DeMotte Indiana. Ya had to see it and ya had to live thru it, to really believe the power of the Force. Massive oak trees snapped like green beans as the Force walked thru DeMotte Indiana on an otherwise typical summer day. The power of the Force was displayed on the Indiana flat lands over there in Jasper County.
RJ started BUB’S BBQ in North Judson back in mid 2010. It just never generated the volume of sales necessary to continue. Knowing that we had a great product, and knowing that RJ had the ability to make it a successful business, we were faced with a decision. Stop or go.
We’re Howards, we never look back, nor do we ever stop, we just reload. We can only go one way and that way’s forward. Maybe I got that from my Grandpa Bob Howard.
When Grandpa Bob, who had learned to drive a car only after he was an old man, met a Kentucky State Police Officer on a gravel road just one lane wide. The road was high upon the mountain side there in Breathitt County, a few miles up Quicksand.
While both cars sat nose to nose, Grandpa Bob got out of this car, walked over the Kentucky State Police Officer and said “son ya gotta back yours up, ‘cause I can’t, and I can only go one way and yours is in my way”. The Kentucky State Cop backed up. Grandpa Bob went forward. As Howards we don’t back up very good.
Bub’s BBQ is working out well for us, over there in DeMotte. Up there on 8th Avenue. That the last cross street on the north side of town. The last cross street of Halleck Avenue. I’m not sure if it’s Halleck Avenue or Halleck Street. Either way, the north south street thru Demount is called Halleck. It’s highway 231 running north thru Demount. Just go to the last cross street (8th Avenue) and turn east, (right, as ya go north) and it’s the first BBQ on the north side of the road.
Wow! When I spoke the word “Halleck” up above, it brought back such fond memories of a couple old friends of mine. Two brothers, born and raised over there in the DeMotte area. Charles and Harold. Such friends of mine.
Now we didn’t go out and play together as little boys, me and them Halleck’s, ‘cause those fellers were a lot older than me. They played in the depression, I played after the war. But we sure became good friends as adults, me and the Brothers Halleck.
Charlie was the political type in the family. Some of ya may remember Charles Halleck. Charlie served in the United States House of Representatives as the Congressman for the 2nd Congressional District from Indiana for many years. In fact, Charlie was the Majority Speaker of the US House of Representatives for a long time. I met Charlie thru his brother Harold.
Not as many people have heard of Harold Halleck as have heard of Charlie Halleck. But lots more have heard of Doc Halleck in Winamac. When I went to work at the Pulaski Memorial Hospital in Winamac Indiana, the senior physician on the medical staff was Dr. Harold Halleck.
He was old, I was young. He took a liking to me, right up. I took a liking to him, right up. I’d not been in that hospital more than a week when he came into my laboratory and said “ since we’re going to be working together, guess ya need to call me Harold, or you can call me doc if ya want to, ‘cause you’re way, way too young for me to call you Mr. Howard. And so it was from that day forward, Harold and Bob, just me and doc.
The more I got to know Harold, the more I loved knowing Harold. I came to that hospital as a lab tech and left as a hospital administrator, all the while my biggest fan and best friend of mine was Harold Halleck, MD. Harold supported me in every move up and every decision I made at that hospital.
Harold served in WWII. He was assigned to the medical team charged with the responsibility of keeping General Dwight Eisenhower alive for the duration of the war. Harold served within arm’s reach of the general thru out the war.
Such stories he told of the difficulties Ike had in figuring out how to keep the generals under his command all shooting in the same direction rather than at each other. Seems the American and British Generals preferred to shoot at each other to gain Ike’s favor, more so than any other direction, but somehow Ike was always able to convince ‘em to shoot the way he wanted.
According to Harold, when one particularly obstinate American Soldier came to have dinner with the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Eisenhower had to resort to the threat of ordering a special surgical procedure be carried out on the soldier which would render him unable to reproduce.
Then General Eisenhower asked the soldier if he understood the significance what he had just said. It was at that point in the conversation that the soldier, got up from the table, stood upright, and at full military attention, saluted, and said in a loud, clear voice “YES SIR, SIR”
Harold said he was glad that General George Patton had responded the way he did, ‘cause he was the Medical Officer on duty that night. And it would’ve been his responsibility to carry out the orders of General Eisenhower.
I laughed and asked Harold if he’d done it. Harold said “when Ike spoke, the course of the war changed. I’m just the doctor on duty that evening. Guess if the MPs held ‘em down……….as Harold smiled and thought ‘bout things that might’ve been, had Patton not said “YES SIR, SIR”.
Another reason I loved Harold so, was that he delivered my first baby boy. One of the good things ‘bout working at a hospital and your wife being pregnant is when ya wake up one morning and she saying I’m having labor pains. Ya just say “I’m going to work anyways, so ya might just as well come along. That day the She came along to work with me.
Dr. Halleck was at the hospital when we got there, me to work and the She to get settled into the having the baby department of the hospital. Now hospitals are like mini families in the since that all employees know everything ‘bout each other. Who’s doing what to who and who’s sleeping where, and all that family type stuff. I’d not yet left the OB Department and every employee in the whole house knew the She had arrived to have the baby.
When I walked onto the medical floor to collect early morning fasting blood samples, not a single person said “good morning Mr. Howard”, ‘Course ya gotta keep in mind nobody ever called me Mr. Howard anyhow, but they didn’t even say good morning Bob, just “how’s Regina?” Told ‘em “don’t know, I left her in OB, it’s her and Harold from here on out, I’ve done my part of the deal”.
It was as if the day was on slow time. Noon came and went and there was very slow progress being reported. Harold came back to the hospital 4 times before noon to check on Regina, each time stopping in the lab to give me an update. He kept saying we’re gona be a while.
Somewhere ‘bout 3:30 or so that afternoon, Dr. Bill Thompson came to me in the lab, and told me that Harold was scheduled to receive the Sagamore of the Wabash Award that evening in Indianapolis. The award to be given by the Indiana Governor, and the dinner was scheduled to start at 6:00 PM.
Now if ya don’t know ‘bout the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, it’s the highest civilian award that can be bestowed upon an Indiana citizen. It’s not given out lightly. It’s reserved for those who have truly made a major impact on the lives of Hoosiers. Harold Halleck qualified in spades for the Sagamore of the Wabash Award
Dr. Bill asked if Regina and I would consider him taking over the delivery so Harold would be able to go to the award dinner in his honor. Now it was not like Dr. Bill was a new doctor to us, Regina had in fact seen Dr. Bill a couple times in the past when Harold was out of town. Both me and the She had all the confidence in the world in Dr. Bill. He too was a friend of ours.
Dr. Bill and I went back to the OB Department and talked it over with the She. The She and I both agreed that we were comfortable with Dr. Bill taking over the delivery. Dr. Bill and I went to talk it over with Harold. We went to his private office and waited our turn to see the doctor.
One of his staff people put into a little exam room and told us the doctor would be with us shortly, like we’d never heard that old song before. Pretty soon Harold came in, took one look and said “ now this is a pair to draw to if I ever saw it in my life. What you boys up to now?” Dr. Bill made the presentation. He proposed he take over the delivery of the baby for Regina so Harold could go to Indianapolis.
I’ll never forget Harold’s straight forward response. He just smiled and said “Bill, every delivery I’ve started, I’ve finished, and the track record’s not gona be broken today. So what else you boys wanta talk ‘bout?” We didn’t really have anything else to talk ‘bout and both realized we’re now just wasting Harold’s time ‘cause he’s gona delivery Regina’s baby no matter what we said. I went back to the laboratory and Dr. Bill went back to his office to finish the remainder of his patient appointments for the day.
Minutes drug by as hours thru out the hospital as me and the whole staff waited for the progress of the She, and so far this day, the progress had been slow. Yet little hospitals, ya gotta love ‘em where everybody knows your name. kinda like “Cheers” in scrubs. Ya laugh or cry as a family, ya feel all the joy, ya feel all the pain. Where everybody knows your name, in scrubs and lab coats.
‘Bout the same time Harold should have been in Indianapolis for his Sagamore of The Wabash Award, things got really busy in OB. Doc had told ‘em to call him when certain benchmarks were met. He was called at 6:00. ‘Bout 10 minutes after Harold arrived at the hospital, Dr. Bill walked into the lab, smiled at me winked and said “think I’ll go see if Harold needs a hand”. Dr. Bill had told the OB Department to call him 10 minutes after they called Harold. The baby arrived at 6:25.
It was 10 minutes to 7 o’clock when Harold walked in the room, smiled and said “everything’s fine, it’s hard to tell who’s the better shape, mama or the baby, and I’m thinking they’re both keepers”.
Then Harold said “Bob I’m gona let Dr. Bill take care of Regina and the baby tonight, ‘cause there’s some people in Indianapolis who’s offered to buy me supper, and all I gotta do is show up and eat, so I’m gona take ‘em up on it”.
So off he went into the late November night to receive his Sagamore of the Wabash Award, all the while knowing the baby delivering record was still intact. A more deserving citizen never existed in Indiana than Harold Halleck.
Harold told me one time he delivered a baby, and way paid 1 and ½ dozen eggs, and thought he got the better of the deal, ‘cause he didn’t have another mouth to feed and times were tuff.
An old school doctor who once told me that he kept his accounts receivable written in sand, just in case the winds need to blow in a different directions when times got hard.
The sands of time treated Harold well, that old school doctor, that friend of mine who damn near operated on General George Patton, who told me “you’re way too young for me to call you Mr. Howard, so guess you’ll just have to call me Harold so I can call ya Bob. A special friend of mine, Harold Halleck, MD.
Them Halleck boys from DeMotte, friends of mine, knowing them was such a time.
Just when I tell ya all my EastWing friends have left the desert, a week later, deployment changes that tune. Guess God didn’t want me to stop praying for those in the sand. We know you’re there Sam.
Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan
From the EastWing, Bub’s BBQ, Grandpa Bob & the State Cop, The Halleck Boys, General Patton, RJ and The Sagamore Of The Wabash
I wish you well,