LINDEN, Texas - There is an old saying that I have found to be true. A man spends the first part of his life trying to get away from home, and the last part trying to get back. So true. And if you are not old enough to be experiencing that, the getting back part, hang around for awhile, and you will. Guaranteed.

About 50 years ago, in the "Biggest Little City in the World," I met a young man in Reno who had just mustered out of the service. He had been stationed at Stead Air Force base, and upon getting discharged, decided to stay in the Biggest Little City instead of returning to his Texas hometown. I had the definite privilege of meeting Kenny Ogle, and in the ensuing years, playing fast pitch softball with him on the Reno Idlewild softball field. Also playing pool and hunting deer and learning to play golf. Not to mention shuffleboard. We became best friends.

One year in the middle 60s we went deer hunting in northern Nevada's Elko County. A place called Jack's Valley, just south of Wildhorse Reservoir. We were camped about 7,000 feet elevation above Willie May's baseball playing field, Candlestick Park in S.F. The campfire at night felt good, the wind was blowing off the snow above. Then I decided I couldn't live without a bath. Hiking those hills in the heat of the day made me sweaty and stinky. Some of you deer hunters know what I'm talking about.

After dark, I said to Kenny, lets go to the creek and take a bath. "Are you crazy," he shouted, "That water is ice cold. You might as well go roll in the snow." So I went for a miserable bath, while he sat by the campfire and shivered. Then I sat by the fire with him and shivered. I was cold all night, and it was about noon next day before I thawed out. But I did get the biggest deer of my life that day. Guess the deer couldn't smell me after my bath.

Kenny said I need to take you golfing. It's fun, you will get addicted to the game. So we went to the Washoe golf course driving range, up on the hill. Learning to cream that little white ball was fun. Before long I was addicted. One day we were hitting balls down the hill from the driving range tee box. The groundsman was picking up the golf balls down below with the ball retrieving machine. He was surrounded by a wire cage, so there was no possibility of being hit by an errant ball. For that matter, from one intentionally hit his way.

I suggested to Kenny, it would be good practice if we tried to hit the moving machine. The guy figured out we were aiming for him. After awhile I bounced one off the cart roof. The grounds keeper acknowledged my bullseye by angrily waving at me, with one finger.

I left Reno, Kenny left Reno, and we lost track of each other. The years rolled by, and I often wondered where my old Reno buddy was living. It took some time and effort, finally I found him, living in a retirement community on the Colorado River, in Parker, Ariz. Two years ago, on my way back to Texas from vacationing in Nevada, I stopped by Parker to visit Kenny and his wife Annie.

Dang, was I surprised. Kenny's once dark hair was white like mine. Forty years can do that to a feller, if you live long enough. But he had the same laugh, smile, witty conversation that I remembered. We had a great reunion, And Kenny, I won't wait another 40 years to visit you again.

Hey McDonald, Booth, Abernathy, Norland, Copenhaver, Prichard, Hill, Lee, Jones, and Tanberg, 'ol Kenny says howdy from Parker, Ariz. (That was our fast pitch softball team in Reno). We had a blast, didn't we, when we were young and spry. Great memories to reminisce about once in awhile, in our golden years. Or is it platinum?

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Three old men, old ball players, were sitting and talking one windy March day. One of them said, "Windy, isn't it?" Another one said, "No, its Thursday." The third one said, "So am I. Lets go get a coke."

Roy Bale can be reached via email at roybalemail@yahoo.com.