Glenn Ringstaff loved to go fishing. It wasn’t long before he joined me on treks to my favorite fishing holes. Since I am just a poor man’s fisherman, I have just always owned three methods of getting on the water, so to speak. Let me explain. I own a little two-man boat that fits in the back of a pick-up, a canoe and a pair of hip boots or waders. Glenn and I packed my two-man boat many a distance through woods and such to get to secluded ponds. One time Glenn and I went to fish a pond that was surrounded by trees and full of leaves. The water was nearly black looking. I proceeded to slip on my hip waders and walk into the pond and start casting. Ole Glenn said, “Hey I don’t have any hip boots but I don’t guess I need any.” He simply took off his tennis shoes and walked into the water with his blue jean shorts on. (You see it really helped to be able to wade into this pond to get better casting angles and get to the best spots.) About an hour after we began fishing we both walked out of the pond. Wouldn’t you know it? Glenn was covered with leaches. He must have had 25 on him. They had gone straight to the uncovered skin on his legs. He liked to have never got them off. A couple he even had to burn off.
There was also the time that we backed my dad’s old truck Dodge truck down an abandoned stretch of railroad track to get closer to a huge pond, so we wouldn’t have to carry the boat so far. We ended up getting the truck off the cross ties and stuck in the gravel on the track. It was quite the engineering feat to get off that railroad track. We had to jack the truck up and slide boards or whatever we could find under the tires in order to get back on top of the track so we could drive.
Let’s skip from fishing to hard work. Glenn Ringstaff was a member of our coaches hay crew. Glenn along with guys like Dixie Jones, Neal Cummins, Matt Ladd, Ralph Stevens, Bruce Perkins, George Radford and myself made up what was known as the Coaches Hay Crew. We hauled in bailed hay for area farmers for many summers. Glenn fit in great. He was both strong and a hard worker. One hot day at Sonny and Jackie Davis’s Cerulean farm, Glenn worked to the point that he had to be hospitalized. He had been telling us he didn’t feel good. Our crew was not the most sympathetic group of men in the world. As we kept working, Mrs. Davis came and picked Glenn up and took him to cool off. To our surprise we later found out he had to go to the hospital and get some fluids. Glenn Ringstaff was a tough man in the hayfield, a hard worker.
I could go on and on with my Glenn Ringstaff stories but I will close with two of my favorites. Glenn was coaching the middle school girls’ basketball team at Trigg County. He had a good squad and the middle school district tournament was at Caldwell County. It just happened to be the era where every time a football or baseball team won a championship game on television, the players would sneak up behind coach and dump a cooler of Gatorade right on his head. Keep in mind that football and baseball games are generally held outside. They are also not played on hardwood floors costing well over a hundred thousand dollars. Well, Glenn’s team played well and won the district championship at Caldwell. You know what is coming, don’t you. His players sneaked up behind him and dumped a 10-gallon cooler of Gatorade on ole Glenn. The liquid quickly made the biggest mess you have ever seen as it soaked the hardwood floors of Caldwell’s Butler Gym. There may still be some wet spots there today, 25 years later. Glenn just smiled and shook his head. There was no way he could get to mad at his youthful players for the good-natured gesture.
Of course my all time favorite Glenn story is the one where he as assistant principal was interrogating the 8th grade student that was purported to have a giant rubber band. The rough kid had been terrorizing the middle school. Glenn called me in to witness him question the young lad. Glenn said, “Son I know what you have in your pocket and if you don’t’ turn it over you are going to be in ten times more trouble. Glenn could have the sternest of looks when he wanted to. He was determined to find that rubber band. The 8th grade student said, “Well I don’t know how you could possible know but I can tell that you do, so here you go.” With that said the student pulled out a switchblade knife, some brass knucks, a Chinese throwing star and last but not least the infamous rubber band. Glenn was shocked but he put on his best poker face and said, “Thank you, I knew you had them.”
As I said last week, “Glenn Ringstaff was a good man and he will be sorely missed by many including myself.” Thanks for the memories Glenn.
OT: I ask that you pray for Glenn’s family.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.