Saturday, December 29, 2018

Drinkin' A Little Beer, Fryin' Up Some Bacon

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Perhaps the toughest loss for us in 2018 was the passing of the legendary "No. 1" Paul Jones. David and I had become friends with Paul in the last 15 years of his life, and David especially had kept in close touch with Paul over the last year.

With Paul Jones in 2003
My best memories of knowing Paul revolve around our phone calls in the mid-to-late 2000s, after he left Charlotte and moved to Florida. Paul and I talked on the phone almost once a week. On most occasions when I would call, I would ask him what's going on and he'd say something like "Oh, just drinkin' a little beer and fryin' up some bacon." This always amused me and I used to ask him, "Is this all you eat?" And he would generally reply something like, "What more can you want out of life at this point?"
Actually, that doesn't sound bad at all. Livin' easy in the Sunshine State, drinkin' a little beer, fryin' up some bacon.

But that lifestyle eventually contributed to some serious health issues for Paul and he moved to the Atlanta area in 2008, where his son could keep a better eye on him. After he got situated there, Peggy Lathan took Ole Anderson down to visit Paul, and invited me to go along. It was a fun trip and I loved seeing these two old friends in a completely relaxed setting, still ribbing each other after all these years.

Paul Jones and Ole Anderson visit in Atlanta in 2008

Paul and I had a little falling out not long after that trip, and we didn't talk for many years. David stayed in touch with him through most of that time. We reunited at the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte in 2016, and began to correspond again. He had given up beer at this point (not so sure about the bacon) and I enjoyed a long conversation with him at the University Place Hilton. He seemed like he was in a really good place.

At the 2016 Hall of Heroes Awards Ceremony & Banquet Fanfest, Charlotte NC

The loss of "No. 1" Paul Jones hurt us. He had become a real friend of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. He is a part of that group of wrestlers we've lost over the years that were the core group during the years David and I first became wrestling fans in the mid-1970s - - Gene Anderson, Tim Woods, Wahoo McDaniel, Rufus R. Jones, Blackjack Mulligan, many others. We hope they are all in a big ol' battle royal in the great beyond, maybe in some smoke-filled arena just like the old days, sold out and hanging from the rafters, or so they will surely claim. And hopefully having a big New Year's Eve party - - drinkin' a little beer and fryin' up some bacon.

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