Me, Rob, Bud, & OJ

Posted: December 8, 2008 in my experiences, sports

June, 1994.  I had just recently graduated from high school, and my youth minister, Rob, was one of my closest friends.  On the evening of June 17, which I’m guessing was a Friday or Saturday night, Rob and I were hanging out, doing pretty much nothing.  Which is all there is to do in a farming town of 2500 people.

Not too long before this, in a town next to us called Lebanon, Lebanon Christian Church had hired a new senior minister.  Bud Owens.  Yep.  Bud.  And whatever you probably think of to hear the name “Bud”, he embodied it.  Bud was about 26 years old, big, burly, liked to wear a cowboy hat, drove an old truck, talked country, the works.  Lebanon Christian is my grandparents home church, and we had already worked a week of camp together, so I knew Bud fairly well. 

Anyway, it’s probably 9:00pm, and Rob and I decide to go visit Bud unannounced.  He had been renting this old, run down house in the boonies of Lebanon.  It took us a while to find the house, because we only knew the vicinity it was in, but had never been there.  Finally, probably around 10:00pm, we found the house, and recognized the truck in the driveway, assured we were at the right place. 

It’s dark outside by now, even in June.  We knock on the door.  Knock again, harder.  We hear a sort of grunt in the room on the other side.  Some movement. 

“WHO’S THERE!?” yells a loud, gruff, angry voice on the other side. 

“Bud, it’s me and Jason!” yells Rob. 

“Who!?  What do you want?”  Another angry yell.

“Bud, open the door!  It’s Rob and Jason.  From Springfield.”  At this point, we’re not exactly sure if he just awoke from slumber, doesn’t recognize our voices, or maybe is on drugs. 

“Damn it…hold on!” comes on another yell.  Rob and I are laughing.  Bud’s a weird character.  In fact, he’s still at Lebanon Christian today, 14 years later.  He dated my cousin Dianna once or twice.  She was infatuated with him actually…up until the night they went out.  She was soon un-infatuated. 

Finally, the knob turns.  The door opens.  And Bud is standing on the other side, wearing only a pair of boxes shorts, with a shotgun held to his side, pointed straight at us.  Now, I once shot a guy in the nuts with a bb gun (by accident, true story), but I’d never had a gun pointed at me.  Neither by a friend nor a foe.  Rob and I both jumped to the side of the door, yelling euphamistic profanities at Bud, ensuring him it’s just us, not intruders. 

Bud rubs his eyes, realizes who we are, and as if he had never stood in the door in his boxers with a shotgun trained on us, invited us inside. 

We laughed about the event.  Soon, we headed went into his living room, sat down on an old couch and chair, and Bud proceeded to turn on his 9″ color tv sitting on the coffee table. 

And there it was.  OJ being chased down the interstate in the white Ford Bronco, police cars in pursuit, helicopters flying overhead providing the footage.  The boxers and the shotgun were forgotten as we focused our attention for who knows how long on the bizarre event on the tiny tv screen.  OJ had apparently killed someone, fled the scene, and was now on a futile car chase in southern California. 

A few months later, I remember my roomate Andy (we called him Buddha) and I running full speed back to our dorm room from class to catch the OJ trial and the verdict….not guilty.  I remember feeling stunned, not necessarily knowing if he was guilty or not, just having come to the conclusion that he would be “found” guilty. 

And now, 13 years later, The Juice is off to jail.  I never saw him play, although I did see him act, and he was a bad actor.  I have no personal feelings toward The Juice, only to think it sad that someone of such great stature in the world of sports has fallen so far.  And, at the very least, I’m thankful for the night that he diverted my thoughts from the barrel of a gun, and instead directed them to a 9-inch television.

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