MILLEDGEVILLE — I was not quite 26 years old and working as a high school wrestling coach. The month was January. The date was the 17th, easy to remember for reasons that will become apparent soon. The outcome of the evening’s wrestling tournament escapes me.
On this particular Friday morning, I awoke at my normal 5:30 and began what I suspected would be just one of those regular 16- to 18-hour work days. Eight hours of teaching high school economics classes and then off to a wrestling tournament that would most likely wind down near 10 p.m.
Trudy was eight months and 29 days pregnant. The due date was Saturday — the day following the aforementioned Friday — but there was no indication that a trip to the hospital was imminent. Regardless, we planned for it just in case.
Grady Maddox was one of my coaching colleagues at the time. It was his off-season, and he had agreed to follow the school bus in my old 1983 pickup truck.
This was the contingency plan just in case Trudy went into labor. If I had to leave the wrestling tournament early, I would have my truck, and Grady would drive my team the 30 miles or so back to the school.
Looking back on it, Grady was a pretty good guy. I suspect, however, that he was put up to this nonsense by his wife, Janie. Janie and Trudy were coach’s wives, a bond that is hard to explain unless you have experienced it.
Grady tried to act like he wore the pants in the family, but those of us who know better, well, we just know better.
What happened next is a memory that is a little more than 28 years old. I say that to make the point that I am not at all sure I will remember it correctly. But, hey … that is what those of us in the business call literary license.