Senior Spotlight: Meet the Dodsons, part 2

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An old family photo shows Barry Dodson, Judy Dodson, Radginal Dodson and Tracy Dodson. (Courtesy of the family)

Read part one at www.cullmantribune.com/2019/05/29/senior-spotlight-meet-the-dodsons.

By the early ‘70s, Radginal and Judy Dodson were happy at home with their two young sons, Barry and Tracy. Radginal and Judy both worked hard to provide for their boys while creating wonderful family memories. Life was good. The boys eventually graduated from Vinemont High School and both attended Wallace State.

In the summer of 1991, the Dodsons experienced a terrible tragedy.

Radginal and Judy shared their story:  

“In July of 1991, Tracy was fixing to go to Auburn for school probably,” said Judy.

Radginal added, “How many times do you have an 18-year-old son want to go on vacation with you?”

“We took him to look at Auburn,” Judy remembered. “He was going to see what would transfer from Wallace down there. We went to Savannah after we left Auburn.”

“They did a good job down at Auburn. They took him around and showed him- he wanted to be an engineer- they took him and showed him and we spent the better part of a day on campus,” said Radginal.

Judy then recalled, “He kind of got sick, seems like. He had a sore throat or something. But, we spent the night at St. Simon’s Island not far from Savannah. He played on the beach a little bit.”

Radginal added, “And we fished.”

Judy continued, “We came back through Atlanta-Stone Mountain area where my sister lived- and spent a couple of days with her. She had supper ready for us. She had made the BEST chicken pot pie. Tracy was not real crazy about green vegetables and it had English peas in it. He ate it, and he was hungry, but he never said a thing about those peas being in it. He was real polite and ate it. On the way home, he said, ‘Mother, don’t you get any ideas!’ and I said, ‘About what?’ He said, ‘I’m not eating them green things.’”

“He didn’t like green things,” Radginal said softly. “Tracy was a fine son. He wasn’t a saint. He was a mischief. If I could wish a man a son, I would wish him Tracy. He was as wide open as a case knife. His mind would just wrap around something. I mean, he didn’t have a bit of a problem with mechanical things. I reckon because I made a living with my hands all my life, the two boys are mechanically inclined, but that’s all I had to give them. I wasn’t that smart and I didn’t go to college. Both of them managed to have an ability to work with their hands,”

He added, “Tracy was a pistol ball, boy. He was a dandy.”

On Sept. 10, 1991, Tracy was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in Vinemont.

“He borrowed a motorcycle at Vinemont School and rode it across the bridge to see a friend. The friend wasn’t home so he went back out, and on his way back towards school had the accident and was killed. We don’t know what happened; nobody saw it. He was all by himself. When I get to Heaven, I’m gonna, if I think of it… I’m probably gonna be so happy to see him when I get to Heaven, I won’t care what happened. He’s a good boy,” Radginal said.

The Dodsons’ oldest son Barry still lives in Cullman County. He has worked at REHAU for more than 20 years.

The Dodsons’ friend Gary hired both boys at his lawnmower shop in the summertime.

Radginal said, “Barry went to Wallace to study computers, but he learned from Gary how to fix them lawnmowers the old-fashioned way where you fixed it rather than replace something.”

Barry has one daughter, Sydney, and his wife’s name is Cynthia. Sydney is now a student at Wallace State. Besides spending time with Barry’s family, the Dodsons enjoy traveling. They have traveled all over the United States, including Alaska. Judy has made several trips to the beach where she meets her sisters and nieces for some girl time.

The Dodsons also own the The Ole Store in Vinemont where Judy sells collectibles, glassware, antiques and other unique items.

She explained, “We bought this building from his cousin in 1998, but his grandfather built in around 1910.”

The original tin ceiling and shelves are still in the store. The store was a general store originally and according to Radginal, “Herron, my uncle, had a cash register there. You would tell him what you wanted to eat and we would go get it off the shelves and put it in a sack for you. Between this one and the one across the street, just about everyone on this end of the county, this is where they did their grocery shopping.”

Back in those days, people could run a tab and pay when they got paid.

“There was no telling how much business he did in my lifetime that was done on a handshake that was law. You didn’t violate that law,” Radginal recalled.

Radginal is currently the mayor of South Vinemont and he never had to run for it.

“They didn’t have any opposition,” said Judy.

Radginal added with a laugh, “Me and J.D. (Marcum) just swapped jobs, but there was nobody opposing the council so we saved the town $4,000 for the whole hullabaloo to have an election.”

The Dodsons love the town of South Vinemont and have built a wonderful life and home in the town they love. If you ever want to know where something was located or interesting history, find Mayor Dodson.

They enjoy having more time to relax and spend together these days.

“It was an interesting life. I don’t reckon I have too many, what do you call them, regrets, or things I would change if I could,” Radginal said.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com