The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Mack and Tucker Goad

By William P. Swartz, Jr. © 1985

Issue: July, 1985

When Tucker Goad finished dental school, he set up his practice in Bristol, Virginia. He was a likeable fellow and soon his practice was doing well. On one occasion he met an attractive young lady named Myrtle. Tucker had been seeing one or two other girls at the time, but he and Myrtle seemed attracted to each other.

After some three or four weeks Myrtle told Tucker that she had been going with a man named Jim, that he was very jealous and somewhat belligerent. Tucker said, "I told her, you let me worry about Jim. I am not afraid of him or anyone else for that matter." This was certainly true as he was somewhat quick tempered, had done some boxing while in college and his brother Mack said, as a boy, he was somewhat like a banty rooster.

Shortly thereafter on a Friday night, Tucker had eaten supper at a popular restaurant, Huffines Cafe, I believe was the name of it. He was paying his check when Jim walked in the door. He greeted Tucker with, "I have been looking for you," and made reference to Tucker's genealogy. "Myrtle told you she was my girl."

Tucker said he could smell that he had been drinking and he told him, "Well, here I am. What do you want to do about it?" With that, Jim threw a punch at Tucker's head and the fight was on.

Tucker always said that they fought for thirty minutes before the police arrived, but I expect fifteen minutes was more like it.

In the meantime, they had upset several tables, overturned chairs, cracked a wall mirror, overturned the cigar showcase and broken out the glass top.

The police took them to jail and charged them with public disturbance and destroying private property. By nine o'clock, Tucker had gotten Dr. Reynolds, who was probably his closest friend in town to come to the police department and bail him out. When the police opened the cell and Tucker was leaving, Jim began calling from his cell, "Now Tucker, you are not going to leave me here by myself, are you? It was only a friendly fight. Don't leave me in here tonight."

Tucker said, "I told him, I hope you never get out." But the following day, Myrtle called Tucker and said, "If you will get Jim out of jail, he will never bother us again." Tucker told her, "He has had enough anyway. He won't bother me again."

Tucker had been thinking about specializing in orthodontics. Within ten days, he had arranged to close his practice and had entered orthodontic school at Northwestern University School of Dentistry. He arranged with Mack to go to Bristol, pay for the cafe damages and clear his charges with the police department. He set up his orthodontic practice in Roanoke, Virginia, where he was most successful.

In later years I would tell him, "I saw some of your friends in Bristol. They want to know when you are coming back?" He always gave me the same answer, "I will tell you a little secret if you promise not to tell it. It won't be next week."

Mack always said, "Dad and I were sorry that Tucker had that fight. Dad, also told me to go to Bristol and clear things up before Tucker did. But one thing about the situation, it really settled Tucker down. He might never have specialized in orthodontics if the fight had not occurred."

I asked, "What happened about him and Myrtle?" Mack said, "Tucker never wanted to talk much about Myrtle or Bristol either one afterwards. I think that hour he spent in jail cured his case."