Lomax and Billy Joe: The True Dynamic Duo
I Was Okay When Lomax And Billy Joe Were Around
The much-storied and powerful, DC Comics dubbed the famous crime fighting team of Batman and Robin as The Dynamic Duo. That was a mistake of judgement. But after all, comic book empires such as DC Comics can get away with pretty much anything because their texts and pictures are fictional.
Personally, and without any apology, I happen to know the 'real' Dynamic Duo when I was seven years of age and attending New Home Community School near my hometown of Hamilton, Alabama. Yes, a real Dynamic Duo by the names of Lomax and Billy Joe Carroll. Two of the finest boys (and now men) that God ever designed. And God has designed a few men and women in His time.
Let me describe for you now, Lomax and Billy Joe. And by the way, this was and is their real names. Lomax and Billy Joe always stood about the same height. Lomax had bushy, blonde hair and talked with a slow, gravely-edged voice. And love to tell jokes. Billy Joe had dark hair and was pretty much quiet most of the time. Billy Joe was a thinker. Not like Lomax and myself who spent our recess time laughing at Lomax' jokes and watching the pretty girls as they played 'house', Jacks, and other girlie games. Billy Joe was always involved with baseball or just sitting by himself somewhere and when asked what he was doing, he would halfway smile, and say, "Just thinking," I have to be honest with you, his phrase was, and I do mean this with all respect and sincerity, "Gest thankin'" but we all knew what Billy Joe meant.
Neither Lomax or Billy Joe were known for their trouble-making-skills. Both came from a big family, with their dad, Leburn, mom, Hazel, their older brothers, Donald and James L., they made up the fine hard-working farming Carroll family in the New Home Community. They mostly stayed to themselves as they were not that social with other people. Not that the Carroll's were uppity or snooty, they just did their work and minded their own affairs, but when a neighbor was in need, Leburn and Hazel were the first to offer help in whatever form or goods they had. I can safely assume that this "Golden Rule" trait was passed down to Donald, James L., Lomax and Billy Joe for these Carroll boys all knew how to treat people and how not to interfere with anyone's affairs. Honest to God, it just wasn't New Home School without the Carrol boys and in my first-grade class, it wasn't the same without Lomax and Billy Joe.
Many was the time that our first-grade teacher, Mrs. Gertrude Ballard, let Billy Joe and Lomax do the task of "fetching in the coal" as Ballard was prone to say. And the two boys, Lomax and Billy Joe took pride in their fetching the coal. They did it promptly and efficiently. Actually all of the Carrol boys were great workers. All prompt, punctual, and keenly-efficient in everything they did by way of jobs. I wish that these traits that belonged to the Carrol boys were present in today's American workforce. Guess I'm being a daydreamer, but I do miss the days when I would get such a thrill of working with Lomax and Billy Joe when they would sense that I wanted to help, would ask Mrs. Ballard if I could help with getting in the coal for our huge, pot-bellied heater in our room and she would nod to them as her way of saying yes. We three would bring in coal scuttle after coal scuttle* until Mrs. Ballard would signify that was plenty and sweetly say thank you, boys and those three words from her would make our day. Especially Lomax and Billy Joe's day.
I can recall the very first time that I felt the compassionate side of Lomax and Billy Joe Carrol. It was on my first day of school, in the first grade at New Home Community School, and my first time to actually play the game of baseball. I heard a guy named Bobby Stovall yell, "We need a cather!" And I, seizing my first opportunity to be part of group, jumped at the chance. An event that I would live to regret--even today in 2011. I really didn't know what a catcher did, so Stovall, being an older, wiser student at New Home, told me, "Squat down behind the batter--the boy holding the bat there, and catch the baseball that the pitcher there will throw to you. Okay? You go that?" Stovall was very articulate in his coaching. Charles Deline was the batter and I forget who was pitching, but when the ball left the pitcher's hand, Deline caught "all of it" which means to you non-baseball experts, he hit the ball with all of the big end of the bat. As Deline left home plate, he unintentionally threw the bat away from him hitting me in the forehead with the big end of the bat giving me my very-first psychedelic trip without drugs--I lay motionless on the ground and saw the most beautiful stars and orbs in my life. "Is he alright?" "Is he dead?" "Is our game over?" I heard several New Home students say. I didn't remember much after that.
I came to myself in my desk being fanned with a funeral home fan by Mrs. Ballard who had soaked by aching head, now with two huge knots, with Red Cross rubbing alcohol, her cure-all for any cut or sickness. I truly believe that the medical scientists who are doing Cancer research, would use some Red Cross rubbing alcohol in their mixtures, they might succeed in finding a cure for Cancer.
Then Lomax and Billy Joe, played the parts of New Home School EMTs as they continually asked if I were alright and reassured me that I wasn't going to die. And to seal the deal, they used probably the best remedy of that day in lifting my spirits as they started giving me piece after piece of their Blue Horse notebook paper they had bought in Hamilton the previous Saturday. "This will make ye' feel better," Lomax said in his gravely voice. Billy Joe only nodded in agreement with Lomax, but their redemy worked like a charm. I did feel better, but Mrs. Ballard played it cautious and sent her husband, L.J. Ballard, who served as New Home School's principal and fourth through sixth grade teacher, to drive me home in his two-tone Chrysler. Mr. Ballard explained to my mom when we reached my house, what had happened and told my mom that I needed to lay down for a spell as he put it. I didn't want to lay down, but go back to school with him, but he only laughed and said I could come back when I felt better.
All that evening and into the night I thought about the kindness of Lomax and Billy Joe Carrol. In years to come I learned to love (and that wasn't hard to learn) their brothers, Donald, who passed away years ago with cancer that also took the life of their brother, James L. Lomax and Billy Joe Carroll worked for years at a Hamilton, Alabama factory called Buccaneer Homes, a factory that produced mobile homes. Lomax had to retire on disability for his loss of hearing while Billy Joe, in years to come, was severely-injured on the job, but was denied his Workman's Compensation by some slick shuffling of some paperwork, but Lomax and Billy Joe are still living in Hamilton. I see them every year on the second Saturday in August when we, the former students of New Home School gather for our school reunion that we get to have in our local recreation center.
Lomax and Billy Joe still recall that near-fatal injury that I received in my first day of first-grade and we now laugh about it.
But I am also quick to still say "thank you, boys," to two of the finest, truest, salt-of-the-earth guys I've ever been blessed to know: Lomax and Billy Joe Carrol.
And it's true according to the Book of Hebrews 13:2 that lovingly warns us that 'some of you have entertained angels unawares," and I attest to this scripture's validity.
I not only met, but got to love two of God's very best angels: Lomax and Billy Joe.