Grandpa- At the Movies
Sunday afternoons were generally quiet in Augusta, Kansas, our small town of 5,000 people. The skating rink would be open and the Augusta Movie Theater would show a matinee’. Only the best movies were shown on Sunday. It might be a musical or a drama or a big-time western with big box-office stars performing. People usually started lining up at 2:00 P.M., the ticket booth would open at 2:15 and the movie would start at 2:30. If it was a good movie, the line might be 1/2 block long or longer. Sundays were family time so the whole family would be in line. There was always a lot of visiting as the line always contained people that you hadn’t seen for a week or two.
Grandpa, A.A. Thomas, didn’t go to the movies but he liked to be up there on Sunday afternoon to catch up on his visiting. In a town that size you knew everyone so it was easy to feel at home wherever you went. Grandpa loved to talk and joke so he was really in his element when in front of the movie house. He teased all the kids, flirted with all the women (even if their husbands were standing right there) and joked with all the men or started an argument just to liven things up.
One balmy Sunday, Grandpa had started an argument and he and a couple of men were getting pretty loud. About this time, a rookie cop came strolling up on foot patrol. The kid had been hired from out-of-town so he didn’t know anybody and no one knew him. You could see how green he was and that he probably just learned to wipe his chin and tie his shoes last week. He didn’t know that Grandpa and the other guys were just blowing and having a good time so he thought he should put a stop to it. Since Grandpa is the loudest of the bunch, the cop gets up in his face and tells him to quiet down. Grandpa pretty much ignores him and keeps arguing and that makes the cop mad. He starts talking tougher and reaches out to grab Grandpa’s arm. That’s when it got serious…Grandpa hauled off and decks this kid with one punch. All the men around started scrambling and some grabbed Grandpa and some grabbed the cop. They escorted them both around the corner to the Police Station and called the Justice of the Peace at home. The J.P. came down to the Station and did some preaching to both of them. He told Grandpa that an 80 year old man ought to know better than to hit a policeman. Then he told the rookie cop to never challenge one of these old guys unless you are ready to go to war. The J.P. then sent Grandpa home and told the cop to go back to work.
Three different people told this story to my Mom the next day so I think it’s pretty accurate.
April 25, 2013