June 3, 2011
The announcement today of the death of James Arness (Gunsmoke’s Marshall Dillon) reminded me of an incident that occurred one Saturday night in March of 1956, during one of my visits home from the Air Force.
A couple of friends and I had decided to go over to the skating rink between Bonifay and Caryville, some twelve or fifteen miles to the west of Chipley, on US Highway 90. It was cold that night, and had started drizzling before we left Chipley. By the time we cleared Bonifay and headed for the skating rink it was raining pretty heavily.
About half way between Bonifay and the skating rink we passed a young fellow who appeared to be about ten or twelve years old walking along the side of the road with his head bent forward against the rain, and really stepping it off in the direction that we were going. Thinking that he was going to the skating rink, we stopped and told him to hop in..
After he had got settled down we asked him why he had started out walking on a night like that. He replied that he was going to his uncle's house, for his uncle had a television set and he was trying to get there in time to watch GUNSMOKE. We asked where his uncle lived, and he said in Caryville. I think we all decided at the same time that the skating rink could wait a little while, that the important thing just then was to get that boy to his uncle's house, which we did.