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Hood's Winks – Daddy had some weird things to tell (Oct. 14, 2015 issue)

My Daddy was an interesting fellow who did fascinatingly weird things.
He was a school superintendent and education lobbyist who—with a lot of help from my Mother—published a national newsletter on the subject.
Once—on an airliner—he sat next to a man who, after learning Daddy lived in Brunswick, Ga., immediately asked him, “Do you know the school superintendent in Brunswick? That Hood fellow?” Daddy, recognizing the man as a “loudmouth salesman” from whom he did not buy school furniture, answered yes, and the man went into a tirade about what a scoundrel that school superintendent was. Daddy agreed with him on every word and even embellished the attacks a bit, advising the man to be careful, because it was rumored that Hood had had at least one man killed! When they got off the airplane, the man introduced himself and asked Daddy, “Now, what is your name?” Daddy answered, “My name is R. E. Hood,” then turned and walked away!
Daddy often flew out of the Jacksonville, Fla., airport. He quickly figured out that the Greyhound bus was the most convenient way to get to Jacksonville. The problem was that the bus did not stop at the Jacksonville airport, but did pass it on the way to Jacksonville. No problem; Daddy bought a ticket to Jacksonville, then just before they passed the airport he would tell the driver that he—Daddy—was sick and had to get off. The driver stopped, Daddy got off and—as he explained it—got better immediately and walked into the airport. He finally decided to stop that practice the day the driver asked, “Mr. Hood, are you really going to Jacksonville, or are you getting sick at the airport again?”
After he quit smoking, Daddy kept a cigar in his mouth constantly but never—ever—lit one. I always suspected it was his idea of a genteel way to chew tobacco. One day he got a bit upset with me as we drove down a country road. He gnawed on that cigar than turned to spit out the window. Unfortunately, the window was rolled up, not down. It was a heckuva mess.
As Daddy aged a bit, his feet bothered him if he stayed on them too long. He headed to Washington for some extended politicking in the halls of Congress, but feared his feet wouldn’t hold up. He decided he needed to rent a wheelchair.
Most people would’ve rented the wheelchair in Washington, but not Daddy. He rented it in Brunswick, then called Delta to see if they would let him carry it on the airplane. They said yes, if he couldn’t walk without it.
He went to the airport, pushed the wheelchair almost to the gate, then got in and rolled himself to the counter. They pushed him out on the ramp—early—then offered to carry him up the stairs (no airstair doors back then). He allowed as how he could get up the stairs if they helped him a bit, which they did. He gratefully sat down while they stored the wheelchair. In Washington he told them he felt a lot better, walked down the stairs and pushed the wheelchair into the terminal. He said it was a big help in the halls of Congress.
I could go on, but perhaps I’d better stop. He had a great reputation and I don’t want to detract from it!