Sunday, October 03, 2010

Saga of the Ringing Bell...

I left the field of accounting in 1963 and embarked upon a career in banking.

My new work home was First Security National Bank, in downtown Beaumont. Jack Darling, a close friend of mine used to proclaim, “The bank with enough difference to make a difference.”

Earl Jones taught me to count currency with accuracy and speed. Then I was transferred to the Collections and Exchange Department managed by Emil Weaver. I was trained in that department by Paul Cain and G. A. Wimberley, Jr. The job description for that department was far too long to include within this space. I’ll just say that Emil was an outstanding manager and it was a pleasure working with him.

After two years with Emil, I transferred to the auditing department located on the third floor. I had thought that I might be going to the trust department to work with Guinn Busbee. Anyway I was glad to work with Bob Finley who was manager of the auditing department. Never were there two days alike. Most of the time, I enjoyed not knowing what to expect next. Kept me from getting bored. My co-workers in auditing included Tommy Leicht, Rex Taylor, Mary Jane Boyette, and in the proof department, Murrie Morgan.

An unusual event transpired during my first week in auditing. I was at my desk dutifully reconciling our bank’s accounts with other banks. Suddenly there was the soft floating tone of a bell. Not a series of rings but just one soft “Boinnng.” I looked up and saw nothing unusual. Everyone else was busy with their tasks at hand. I dismissed the occasion and went on with my reconcilements.

Ten minutes later another soft tone said, “Boinnng.” Again I looked up and saw nothing. I asked the lady sitting next to me if she had just heard a tone. She did not know what I was talking about. This puzzled me because the bell seemed to be coming from nowhere. This bell thing happened occasionally but not consistently.

Another event took place a few days later. I was in the men’s room washing my hands. I just happened to notice the restroom door ease open and a hand slide in and turn off the light switch. There I stood in the dark. Did I mention that I was washing my hands? If you believe that then I want to sell you a lease to hunt whales in Oklahoma.

Anyway I recognized the coat sleeve of the hand that turned off the light as belonging to Tommy Leicht. It was at that moment I came to know that Tommy was full of mischief.

Later that afternoon I told everyone in the department that I planned to work late and get caught up on some busy work. What I really had in mind was locating the source of that tone. Tommy had tipped his hand by turning off the restroom light. Once everyone left, I went over and sat at Tommy’s desk. I was convinced that he had something to do with the soft tone that had begun occurring on a more regular basis. I began touching stuff on his desk. I knew that he always was sitting at his desk when the event happened. I crawled under his desk looking for anything that might make a tone such as “Boinnng.”

Then I discovered that toward the bottom of his chair there was a little rim of metal. I sat back in the chair and pushed my foot against that rim. “Boinnng.” I had solved the Saga of the Ringing Chair.

You have just read a story about Tommy and his Leicht Brigade. Allow me to assure you that there are hundreds more just waiting to be shared.

Winston Hamby


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