Judy Kaye Morgan
Class of 1969
Judy Kaye (Morgan) Mann
THE ANGEL WITHOUT WINGS
Thanks to the many people who are responsible for this fantastic site, cradock.org, those who started it, who have maintained it in the past, today and will in the future. Thanks for keeping the spirit of Cradock High and the many memories of its Alumni who attended its classes and walked its halls alive today and throughout time so until we reach the eternal they will “remain and never die.” It is because of this site that I am able to bring to you a story that is very dear to my heart. Although its facts have been stretched a bit to make it a wee bit more interesting and written in a way only a good old boy from Tennessee could write it, this story does have some whole truths and some serious moments.
My story takes place in the year 1968 starting in the parking lot of Rodman’s Restaurant a popular hangout for area high schools. I was with my old friend and lead singer of our band, Rocky Smith, just recently listed among the pages of our Fallen Admirals on April 13, 2008 who once honored the halls of Cradock and now lives with our most gracious Father. I had only been out of high school for about a year when this story takes place.
Rock and I had been driving through the Rodman’s parking lot as usual looking for UFO’s, which were of course, “Unidentified Female Objectives.” When all of a sudden from out of nowhere appearing before my slightly impaired eyes this UFO that was not from this area but I feel was alien planet earth. The alien looked quite female alright with long brown hair as fine as that of angels and a smile that would have turned any enemy instantly into a foe the second it fell within sight. The alien was tall and thin which would have been perfect for flight wearing jeans and pink high heels but no visible sign of wings. Although the wings had probably been shed to hide her true identity there was still something quite peculiar about this beautiful being. She seemed to be chewing quite vigorously on something unseen to my eyes at this time. My impaired eyes could not hide the beauty she was displaying for even a blind man would have noticed the radiance that outlined the body of one of heaven’s elect. Now this is where it gets a little harder to believe. This lovely creature with pink high heels I would soon find out just that she was chewing on a ham bone that to me seemed to be a little on the strange side for an angel to be doing. Now this ham bone was of the general variety that you’d find in the middle of a thin sliced piece of country ham. I noticed it after I had first thought that this UFO had what I had first thought to be some type of speech impairment. I had just finished asking her a question that went like, “Tell me dear from what part of Eden did you originate and pray tell thee what did they call you in Heaven my foxy celestial”? I was trying to impress this lovely goddess showing off my intellect that was sure to win her interest while maybe even sweeping her gently from her feet, which were brilliantly accentuated by her high heels of pink.
Well, finding it a bit difficult to answer me, she then spit the object out from within her naturally splendid ruby red lips, that parted just enough to expel that which was interfering with her speech. While opening just enough to display at a glance this heavenly maiden’s front teeth, which were as white as pearls one gently and slightly laying upon the very edge of the other in the same way that gave her the same voluptuous resemblance of Ali McGraw. She raked most gently and smoothly the very tip of her tongue across their bottoms. When the ham bone hit the ground, it rolled right up next to the car I was in and then rolled over on one side. I was looking right out of the passenger side window of my Rock’s car looking down at it and couldn’t have been any further than three feet from it as I stretched down toward the pavement to exam it, as it just lay there in its motionless state. Yep, I thought to myself, it was not alive and that is a ham bone from where I come from.
Now she went on explaining and man there wasn’t a thing in this world wrong with that heavenly voice to say the very least. Her voice resembled that of the angels that I heard on the movie “The Bible,” produced two years prior in 1966. (The following I must add for no other reason but to extend the length of this narrative pushing the ending a bit further away from the beginning) This movie was the only movie I have ever gone to, to this day, after having already read the book, or at least all the top stories within its covers that had been highlighted in this movie. Like the voices in the movie, hers was as soft as clouds and as crystal clear as a bright and early fall day with just a bit of man-made amplification and a touch of reverb added. Man I tell you it was definitely celestial.
She went on to tell me that she had just bought the pink heels before going to Rodman’s Restaurant where she had just ate the best slice of country ham on this side of Eden. Bingo, see I was right on about the ham bone, and did you read how she just said “this side of Eden.” Now that proves what I’ve been saying all along about her being angelic. She had just admitted to having been on the other side of Eden by making that statement. Only someone who has actually eaten a slice of country ham in heaven could have made a statement like that. She was saying in so many words that this was the first time she had ate a slice of country ham that was equal to that of the slices of country ham she had eaten in H-E-A-V-E-N. So maybe my hunch was right on and I had found myself an angel or I was more-drunk than I’d ever been in my entire young life.
Looking back now, I sure wished I had saved that old ham bone. I could have had it bronzed and it would have made a wonderful conversational piece and I know the children and the grandchildren would have loved to see the ham bone that drew their mom and dad/grandparents together. Anyway who would have thought I’d get anywhere with this here beautiful angel.
The pink heels she went on to explain were heels she had bought to match the dress that she was planning on wearing to some kind of big, what we’d call down home a hoedown, that she said was very soon approaching. And I thought to myself, “Right and I are Santa Claus”.
That night another girl was with this here beautiful angel and she was a girl named Sue. Now please don’t you go and get her confused with that boy named Sue by his father, the late and famous Johnny Cash back in July of 1969. Now tell me something, don’t you think that was just a bit too strange? This here Johnny Cash left this boy at the age of three and didn’t leave him or his maw much of nothing so you tell me why did his mom let Johnny name the boy and the first place fur? Now when the boy finally caught up with his dad he wanted to kill him but Johnny cuts off a piece of the boy’s ear as if he hadn’t already done enough. He starts to tell the boy the reason he had named him Sue. He said it was to make him tough. Now let me, if I can, try and get this here straight. Johnny had named his boy Sue to make him tough. Now you just go ahead and tell me that don’t just about beat everything that you have ever heard. This boy named Sue would have been a whole lot better off if his dad had left a whole lot earlier say like before he got this boy’s maw pregnant, or at least before the boy was born. So this father stayed and made things even worst for the boy. Why didn’t old Johnny, when the little boy was a baby, just give him a vile of cholera or e coli? Or better yet, why didn’t he just throw the baby boy one of them homemade rattles with the snake still attached? Heck, even the father of little boy Blue knew better than naming his son after a girl. I know I’d much rather be named after a dog versus having a girl’s name. I kind of like the name old Blue myself. It’s got, like them city slickers say, “one of them there natural sounding kind of rings to it.” Let’s just say now if a father wanted his son to go out and get the morning paper, he could say to his son something that would just roll quite naturally right off the tongue like, “Hey go and fetch me the morning paper Blue.” Seriously, you got to admit that fetch goes a whole lot better with Blue than with Sue.
Anyway, this girls name was Sue White and she weren’t half-bad but she seemed to have her eye on Rock. She said she was from Cradock and from the class of 69. Wow I thought, “What a coincidence, the same year that boy who shared her name was born. Now you can ask Sue about this night and I’m sure she would be more than happy to confirm almost every single thing I have said or going to say in this story and I really do truly mean almost, cross my little “pea picking heart.” Now that is a good old Tennessee saying I wish I had time to discuss with you.
Now by this time the girls had ask us for a ride home and we were in the process of taking Sue home first. Now Sue was the daughter of the Admiral, I think, because she lived in a very large house right inside the Norfolk Naval Shipyard right there in Portsmouth, say what? The shipyard is in Portsmouth and they call it the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Ok? Hey, while I’m talking about the shipyard I want you all too just grab a hold of your tongue and repeat after me. Now don’t be repeating this in front of your Maw unless of course you’ve got yourself some of that good tasting store bought soap. Ok here goes, now grab your tongue and read this out loud, “My Paw works at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.” Now that’s a word you wouldn’t be hearing on the radio back then in the sixties.
Ok by now, this angel with the pink high heels had more than proven to me she “weren’t no Angel.” No man she wasn’t naughty, heck we didn’t even kiss. This was the sixties, not the seventies. She showed me her driver’s license, which was more than enough proof for me that she wasn’t an angel. Now everybody knows there ain’t no cars in heaven. Besides by now what I had drank before arriving at Rodman’s was wearing off and I was thinking a whole lot better now.
So here I was in the back seat doing the worst thing I could ever be doing, there you go again man getting that mind of yours down in that old gutter. I was lying down with my head in the pink shoe ladies hands, which she had resting in her lap. Everybody knows that lying down in the back seat of a moving car after drinking is the worst thing you can possibly do, it could prove to be very messy.
Now as I was saying we were in the process of taking Sue home, which was inside the NNSY. Well unbeknownst to me; man how I’ve dreamed of having to use that word in a sentence. Well like I was just now saying, unbeknownst to me, we were just coming up to the gate at NNSY when I knew I needed to get outside of this car immediately. So I sprang straight up and before I could tell Rocky to pull over, there we were at the gate and there stood the guard.
Now what I’m about to tell you is very embarrassing for even me to admit and to be honest with you I really don’t look for it to make it through old Janie’s strict censorship standards on this site, but I will go ahead and hit her with it just the same.
So everyone seemed to be looking at me waiting for the words to come out of my mouth to explain what had made me sprang up so quick. Well what was about to come out of my mouth I knew no one wanted to hear or see. Here my throat, which led to and from what I would call at this moment in time “my volcanic belly,” was just about to deliver an unhealthy bounty of substance that I did not want to share with anyone especially my guardian Angel in the back seat. I did not want this mother lode that my throat was just about to deliver ending up outside of Rock’s car upon the guard’s freshly shined boots that I could more than plainly see my puffed out cheeks that were getting ready to explode. So I did the only thing I had left to do. I quickly placed my hand tightly over my mouth and swallowed.
Ok did it make it through Janie’s censorship, if so can everybody say, “n-a-s-t-y”. Hey here’s a good one, can everybody say “moooooo”. Get it, the sound a cow makes, you know the cud thing man. And you city slickers think you have to explain things to us Tennesseans.
Well I thought to myself, I guess I can kiss this angel good-bye, second thought maybe a good-bye hand shake would be more in line seeing that everyone just witnessed me do my magical disappearing vomit trick. I’ll just shake her hand while saying something like, “it was sure good meeting you and all, I guess you probably wouldn’t want to get married would you, or maybe we could just start out by going steady and then kind of work our way up to an engagement or such, and like after that maybe marriage?” What could I do? I had always heard about first impressions, and I’m sure no one could ever forget this day. And then I thought, “Man no honeymoon,” and then just as soon as I got finished thinking that, I immediately thought, “What on God’s little green earth did I just think that for? And then I thought, “Tell me I don’t have the cart before the horse” which I thought wasn’t a bad little thought at all, what do you think?…..What ta?.
After thinking and as you can see nothing worth repeating coming out I just sat there not thinking or saying and acting real humble which wasn’t real hard for me to do considering what I had just finished doing. Oh I did think about praying but like if God was going to answer any of my prayers after displaying what a Christian should not look like by “allowing a thief into my mouth to steal away my brains.” Man have I always wanted to find the need to use that old saying. Remember hearing Kim Darby saying that one on the movie “True Grit,” back in 1969. Wow another coincidence, class of 69. Anyway Kim played the part of Mattie Ross and when old Rooster Cogburn, played by the late and great John Wayne, asks her if she wanted a drink of whiskey she replied, “I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains!” That was a classic film and a mighty fine old saying Miss Darby. Thanks Kim for the saying and I just love the name “Kim.”
And now back to the story at hand. Talking about hand, we had let Sue off and left the shipyard and now we were just now pulling up in front of my angel’s house on Prospect Parkway right in the heart of Cradock. With my hand between my mouth and her most attractive little cute and pretty nose, I said something along these lines dropping the Tennessean accent of course, "hey I'm real sorry about tonight, you know the cud thing and all. I was just thinking if I could please call you sometime and try and make it up to you somehow"? You talking about a good sport, man she said something like, "hey don't even think twice about it. It has happened to the best of us and I would love for you to call me and then she handed me her home phone number since there were no cell phones way back then…can I get one Amen for no cell phones and a long and loud Hal-le-lei-ah for “second chances”. And now this is a good place to say as it has been said so many times before, "And the rest was History" or "Now you've heard the rest of the story,” Almost that is.
And in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Seventy One, June the 12th, I Clifford Wesley Mann had the distinct honor, one that changed my life forever wonderful, and gave to me the answer to a dream since my angelic encounter of 1968, had granted the one wish that all men live for after finding their Father’s choice and one true love, I married and gave to my wife the name passed down by my father to me, to the new, Mrs. Judy Kaye Mann.
On December 2, 1972 with the help of our Father in heaven she gave to me a son, Clifford Elton and on March 1, 1980 with the blessings once more of the Father she gave me a “mini-her” a tiny little angel baby girl without pink high heels, our daughter, Kimberly Denise. “Kim” Our children are of course married now and have one son each one 4 and one 11 and two little precious Angel daughters one 6 and one 7. That makes a grand total four amazing and precious little grandchildren.
Judy, this precious daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend Angel sadly and most unexpectedly went back from where she came to us on October 2, 1993. Just last month marked the fifteenth year since she was granted back her set of wings. She was only 42.
Yes on October 2, 1993, Judy became listed among the pages of cradock.org as a Fallen Admiral. However, way back in the year 1968 there was another Fallen Admiral. Now however you would like to say it, “I had fallen” or “I was falling,” I surely fell in the greatest way any man can fall, most deeply and passionately in love with the lady that would be my wife and boys and girls I fell hard, “and I couldn’t get up.” So I too was a Fallen Admiral but I lived for 23 years after my fall beside my Fallen Angel.
I had found the girl my Father had picked for me, and I should have known it from the very start. No girl would be wearing pink high heels with jeans back in 1968 gnawing on a ham bone unless God had a awesome plan that He wanted me to see. He had put us in the path of one another and had marked the trail with so many signs. Even that same blind man I spoke of earlier could have seen that this would be the girl that I was to marry. Oh do I have lots more wonderful stories about those 23 years with Judy, some of course like every couple in this old temporal home of ours not so good, but then again a lot of them left me standing high on cloud nine and a few that put me flat on one side, just like that ham bone that fell to the pavement back in 68. No I was not lying there idle; for I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe.
So I thank you dear Lord, for giving to Cradock High such a sweet and beautiful, and sometimes silly daughter, to honor its halls and give rich beauty, joy, and laughter to its class of 1969. And Father I thank you for 1968 when you showed me the girl I was to marry and then when you finally gave to me your awesome gift of marriage, a gift only second to your greatest gift of all, your beloved Son, Jesus.
And now my Angel rest in His Mighty arms as you were once trusted to mine, to have and to hold as long as we both would live and when my day comes or if our precious Lord comes first, I will again hold you my Fallen Angel, in my arms and this time it will be, forever and ever…Amen and Amen
Clifford Wesley Mann
Rocky you too saw the miracle our Father performed for me that night. Thanks my friend for driving that night, helping me first find and then getting my newfound Angel safely home. Take care my old friend and take care of my Judy Kaye.
I had just finished playing Sainta Klaus at a nursery my grandchildren attend and thought I’d stop by and visit Judy’s grave. And then one thought led to another and presto, a Christmas present for my darling. Judy loved Christmas, baby Jesus, Santa Claus, and I know she would have also loved Sainta Klaus. I do know that Sainta sure loves and misses her at Christmas time.
Merry Christmas and I wish and pray that you have a wonderful 2009.