IN MY EARLIER grade school years, there was a time when I spent quite a few Saturday evenings at a large, crowded house in Montgomery which I knew as “Aunt Goldie’s”. Goldie Edwards was my father’s older sister. She and her husband Henry (Uncle Hank) lived in the big old house on S. River St. with their many children, ranging from my age to the oldest, Cousin Bob, who was a grown-up; old enough, in fact, to own his own blacktop business.
It was a custom for a while that my parents, with Aunt Goldie and Uncle Hank, would spend Saturday evenings at Shannon’s Tap in “downtown” Montgomery. In the early 1950s, I’m sure this represented the authentic old-time honky-tonk experience. My father didn’t listen to music all that much, but I know he liked the contemporary country singers, particularly Hank Snow, whom I have no doubt was well represented on the jukebox. In the meantime, I got to spend a fun evening with my cousins. Those not out on a date were either in my age range, or old enough to baby-sit.
We always left for Aunt Goldie’s at about 6:15 on Saturday evening; right in the middle of “Beat the Clock”, a hugely popular TV show, hosted by Bud Collier. Contestants vied for prizes by performing moderately difficult and visually hilarious tasks, usually involving whipped cream or water, within a proscribed time; usually one minute. Time was clicked off by the large clock for which the show was named. Sound familiar?
The concept has been expanded and proliferated to ridiculous extremes, but in its day “Beat the Clock” was amusing and entertaining, especially for the small boy I was then.
It seemed that always, at the most critical moment, it was “time to go to Aunt Goldie’s”, and by the time we got there, of course, the show was over. But I quickly forgot about it as I got together with my cousins. While watching their older siblings, the teenagers, prepare to go out on dates and such, we eagerly planned the evening’s fun.