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Old 06-21-2017, 08:56 PM
Joe21 Joe21 is offline
MR Perfidity - Clemson Insider
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Clemson, SC
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Default Bobo

Bobo and I were stationed at Drew Field, Tampa, FL in early 1943. We were going to a special school and were together only for the school term. RADAR was a new tool and top secret. We had to be checked by the FBI and we could never use the word off base. Bobo was his surname. He did have a given name but I don't remember it nor do I recall anyone calling him by his given name. It was always just Bobo. When I think of the name Bobo, I imagine some one who is short, stocky and with a jolly disposition. That description fit Bobo to a "T".

Growing up in Florida and having relatives in Tampa and the surrounding area, I was familiar with the Tampa area. One of my favorite places in Tampa was and still is the Columbia Restaurant. Their Spanish Bean Soup is among one of my favorites. While at Drew Field, I recommended and took many of my military friends to the Columbia Restaurant.

Bobo had heard me talking about the restaurant and asked if I would go with him some time so he could sample the food. We set a date, got our pass and hopped aboard the bus for Tampa. There was a military bus system between the base and a downtown terminal. Bobo gave the restaurant a five star rating and announced he would visit the restaurant the next time he went to Tampa.

After our meal we decided to return to the base so we began walking to the bus terminal. Our path took us by a small fruit and vegetable store. Bobo saw some watermelons and decided he wanted one. He looked over the melons, pretending he knew how to select a good melon by thumping it, He made his final selection, a melon weighing about 20 -25 pounds. He told me he needed to make one more stop before we got back to the bus terminal. That one stop was a liquor store where he bought a half pint bottle of booze. I reminded Bobo that booze in the barracks was a major offense; He informed me there would be no problem.

Bobo asked the clerk if he had a trash can. The clerk went behind the counter and with a puzzled look on his face, gave it to Bobo. Bobo pulled out his pocket knife, plugged the melon, reached in with his hand and removed some of the edible portion. He then put the half pint bottle of booze in the melon, replaced the plug and said he was ready to go. There were the two of us, walking down the sidewalk and Bobo carefully cradleing the melon.

We boarded the bus for our return trip to Drew with everyone on the bus giving the hairy eyeball to Bobo holding that melon. No one could ever guess what was on the inside of that melon. Rather than getting off the bus at the main gate, we went to one of the secondary gates because it was closer to our barracks. There was no one else at the gate other than the two MPs. Showing our passes as we entered., one of the MPs remarked that Bobo had a good looking melon. Bobo was a generous sort and asked the MPs if they wanted a slice. Fortunately, both said "no". Until I heard their response, I was beginning to think we would spend the night in the brig if they had said "yes" and discovered that bottle of booze.

After we were out of earshot, I asked Bobo what he would have done if they had accepted his offer. His simple response, "I don't know". We had just a short walk to our barracks and it was a good thing because Bobo was getting tired and I had not offered to help him. I didn't want to get caught holding a melon containing a bottle of booze.

We entered the barracks and someone shouted, "Bobo has brought us a melon". Of course that got the attention of everyone because we seldom saw a watermelon in our barracks. Bobo now had their attention and he played it to the hilt. He announced to the men he had a very special melon and the seller of the melon told him everyone would be surprised when they saw the contents of his melons. Bobo was laying it on thick and had the undivided attention of every man. He took out his pocket knife, removed the plug, put his hand down in the melon and said, "I feel something strange in here" And with that he pulled out the half pint bottle of booze. Bobo received a resounding ovation.

The watermelon? No one wanted to eat the melon after Bobo's hands had roamed around the insides.

Last edited by Joe21; 07-18-2017 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 06-23-2017, 08:17 PM
TigerPoss TigerPoss is offline
Two Deep
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 719
Default Re: Bobo

Joe, I enjoyed reading your stories. It is a fact that the truth is stranger than fiction. Don't leave us here at TCI. I am sure there are a lot more like me that reads and enjoys and never tells the author how much he liked the post. Will try to do better.

I love Clemson Football. Going on 83 and I remember back to the 40's. At that time, if you were high school age and played on any kind of football squad, you could see the game for .10 cents. I was standing at the gate one Saturday when Carter "Scoop" Latimer, The Greenville News sports editor came by with his typewriter box. He handed me the box and said follow me. I lugged that box to the top of the hill to the press box for him. He game me .50 cents and a lifetime memory. Just like yesterday.

You keep on writing, it is more enjoyable to people that never tell you than do.

Ken Crane, Class of 76. That's another story. 18 years to graduate.
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