Montgomery—I’m sitting beside Judge Jimmy Pool at a baseball game. He’s wearing a ball cap. We’re talking during the third inning.
“Montgomery’s downtown wasn’t always this alive,” he says. “The downtown used to be dead in the water.”
I remember those days, back when tumbleweed rolled down Coosa Street and shop windows were vacant.
My cousin and I came here long ago to visit some friends. The downtown felt empty. A man wearing a trash bag asked if we had a few bucks. My cousin gave him a five. The man thanked us, then showed us a dandy little knife.
“How about a little more?” the man said.
My cousin gave him the rest of his cash. I gave him all my pocket change, a rubber band, some plastic-wrapped Saltines, and an expired Florida Lotto ticket.
The downtown is very different now. It is hip, and vibrant. The Hank Williams statue stands near the river, overlooking bustling streets and nice barbecue joints. Acoustic music comes from a sidewalk
“I can tell you exactly when this town changed,” says Judge Jimmy. “It was when Mayor Bobby Bright said, ‘I’m gonna bring baseball to Montgomery.’”
And so it happened. Fifteen years ago, the quaint stadium became a reality. And that, by God, was that.
Locals voted on a mascot. Lots of choices were offered, but the buttermilk biscuit logo won by a country mile.
“We’re really just a big small town,” says Jimmy. “And the Biscuits bring that out in us, we’re like family at this park, sometimes this stadium is my living room.”
I see what he means. In this small park, I am lost in the bygone era of our grandparents. Maybe it’s the gruff voices of umpires, the smell of stale beer, or the sounds of children laughing.
The food isn’t bad, either. Here they serve Conecuh Sausage.…