Old-timers gather at M&M to chew the fat

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 13, 2013 - 02:00 PM

Photo: The Port Haywood parliament, from left, Tommy Owens, Robert Roland Hudgins, A.J. Hurst, Ronald Coles Burroughs and Grady Hudgins, can be found just about any morning at M&M Building Supply in Port Haywood, discussing the problems of the world—and solving some of them. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

The Port Haywood parliament, from left, Tommy Owens, Robert Roland Hudgins, A.J. Hurst, Ronald Coles Burroughs and Grady Hudgins, can be found just about any morning at M&M Building Supply in Port Haywood, discussing the problems of the world—and solving some of them. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Just about any work day, a gang of five old-timers hangs out at M&M Building Supply in Port Haywood to chew the fat.

The members of this "Port Haywood parliament" talk about growing up together, about the work some of them still do, about politics and the problems of the day. Sometimes they just good-naturedly aggravate each other.

A.J. Hurst of Bavon, a commercial waterman, said he used to long for the day when he would be eligible for Social Security so he wouldn’t have to get up early and go to work, but he’s found that sitting back and relaxing all day "is a whole lot worse."

"All I’m doing is eating and sleeping," he said.

Tommy Owens of New Point, is a retired civil servant whose grandfather was a pound netter, while Grady Hudgins of Susan is partially retired from M&M, the building supply business he owns together with his son, Sterling.

Ronald Coles Burroughs of New Point spent most of his life working as a pound netter alongside his father, the late Walter Coles Burroughs. When the business dried up because of a problem getting workers, Ronald tried menhaden fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, but he didn’t like that, so he’s back home now, gill netting.