Junction Boys

An excerpt from Jim Dent‘s The Junction Boys: How Ten Days in Hell with Bear Bryant Forged a Championship Team – Dent describes how it used to be:

At four that afternoon, the single-engine crop duster took off from a cow pasture about five miles from campus. It banked near the student center so Bryant, gazing from his window, could see it. The pilot dipped the wings twice. Then the plane disappeared into the high white clouds. The bagman had carved out a square block in a bale of hay. Ten thousand dollars in hundred-dollar bills had been tightly wrapped inside a Texas A&M flag. The hope was that the bale would break apart when it hit the ground. They damn sure didn’t want it cracking open in midflight. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars raining down from the heavens might be confused with divine generosity.

The engine whine loudly as the plane flew over the house. Strapped tightly in his seat, the bagman grunted and then pushed open the passenger door. The bale tumbled from the plane and rolled end over end as it plummeted toward the field of brown weeds. To assure the mission was accomplished, the pilot banked the plane once more and soared over the house. Through the bare trees, the men could see two people running from the front porch. The maroon-and-white A&M flag was lying in clear view amid the broken pieces of straw. The pilot and the bagman smiled as the plane hummed toward home above the flat, barren countryside of central Texas.

Back at A&M, Bear Bryant gazed at the drab buildings and watched the cadets marching in the fading afternoon light. He wondered if the mission had been accomplished — and if they’d gotten their man.

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