MY FRIEND GEORGE DORRIS

Memories

d n english

I wanted to share with you a story told to me by my dear friend, Mr. George Dorris. George was a wonderful storyteller many of the stories were about growing up in Jackson. I am so grateful  for all the time I got to spend listening to his stories.


Mr. Dorris was born on May 2, 1930 in Madison County to the late Victor and Gladys Dorris. He received his education in the Madison County School System. As a member of the 5th Regimental Combat Team, he served two years of active duty in the Korean War. After returning home, he continued a family tradition of commercial sign painting. In 1968, he formed a partnership with friend Reggie Smith and they began Town and Country Realtors. Later, he became a home builder and property developer in the Jackson area. Mr. Dorris enjoyed many hobbies during his lifetime, but he especially loved to travel in his motor home

This story is about the time when he had his sign painting shop.

One of his clients was Mr. Pinky Cantrell. Mr Cantrell was what you would call a character ( George’s words). George went on to tell me Pinky was always coming up with a way to make money. 

The one he wanted to tell me about was the “cure” for Athlete’s Foot. The name of this product was “Ath-O-Len”

( not sure about spelling). Pinky would manufacture the 

product  in his building The Cantrell Building on S. Shannon St. Pinky Cantrell was a master at self promoting. In this case he made sure all the local drug stories had the product for sale.Then he came up with the perfect advertising. He got George to make a cut out of a foot of plywood Then George would paint  the name and purpose AthOLen on each foot. Pinky would have his employees take the “feet” and place them along the fence row on the major country roadways.

One afternoon George was working at his shop and he saw a man park and get out of his truck with one of the signs. “Now I knew this man, he was one of the bootleggers in the county” George said

( ok, explanation this was in the 50’s bootleggers at this time would have bottles of liquor not “shine”. Many would have a barbeque shack with booze in the back room or in the cellar)

“Well the man came in and sat down”said George

Then he explained he was moving his “operation” over to Hwy 70 west.( or as we use to say the Brownsville Hwy.)  His request was for me to paint the big toe on the sign bright red. He went on to explain this would be how would let his customers know where he moved. He said he was going to place the sign right before you got to the drive way.

“Well I made the alterations to the sign and was paid with a pint of Charter and $10.00. Now I know for a fact this man had a very successful side business for years. I only got called out a couple of times to repaint the toe and paint over the writing .

The reason the writing was taken off was because Pinky’s AthOLen was taken off the market. It didn’t work.”

This is just one of the stories George shared with me. After his sign painting business he entered and had a very successful Real Estate/ Rental Business. In his later years he enjoyed traveling around the country with the love of his life his wife Doris, she died in 2000..  George passed away in 2014.Now I like to imagine them  together again in heaven talking about their many adventures.

Such a dear friend who loved to share a memory of his hometown ,Jackson Tn. 

Hope you enjoyed this bit of history and a memory.

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