January 11, 1965, was the coldest day of the winter. The sun was out, but it was below zero. It was the second Monday in January and Inauguration Day for Governor Warren Hearnes. The Honorary Colonels were lined up in alphabetical order for the Inaugural Parade.
For many years, the Democratic governors had named Honorary Colonels to their staff. Normally they named two per county and sometimes more. They had a colonel’s uniform and marched in the Inaugural Parade. At the Inaugural Ball held in the rotunda of the Capitol Building, the Colonels and their ladies would promenade down the spiral staircase and past the state elected officials. It was a colorful ceremony and cost the state nothing. The Colonels also paid for the painting of the First Lady’s portrait which would hang in the mansion and would participate in functions throughout the governor’s term of office.
The Colonel next to me asked if I was cold. I replied, “I’m freezing.” Out of his inside coat pocket, he pulled a pint of whiskey, which we thought warmed us up. He name was Pat Jones and from that day on, he was my favorite “colonel.” He owned Modern Security Insurance Company, a 7,500-acre ranch near Rogersville, and later built the Exotic Animal Paradise east of Springfield on Highway 44.
After the inauguration at high noon, we adjourned to one of the state senator’s offices and continued to warm up by consuming some of the senator’s stock. During this period of time, Pat related to me how proud he was of his two children. His girl he was not worried about, but he said he didn’t think his boy Jerry would ever be worth a dime because all he thought about was football. Jerry was playing that year on the University of Arkansas Razorback team as a guard. Little did Pat realize 25 years down the road his son would own the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t know what the Cowboys are worth, but it is estimated the Jerry Jones’ net worth is 8.6 billion dollars.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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