Everything but a Hound Dog

Posted on October 27, 2011


Drawing of Hound Dog, By Nicole Hebert

Hound Dog. Is it a who? Or is it a what?  Any dictionary would inform you that a hound dog is “any of several breeds of dog used for hunting typically having large droopy ears.”  For Croatan, the definition would be different. This is an interesting nickname for our sweet custodian James Nelson Smallwood.  He definitely does not have droopy ears or an aggressive personality.  But the name does fit him, and everybody calls him Hound Dog.
How did he get the name?  He worked on a commercial fishing boat for twenty-one years and when he got off, he decided he had enough money to sit back and enjoy life for a little while.  I guess his wife did not like the sound of that, and a month later his wife had two signs made for him on his truck that read “Hound Dog’s Yard Service.”  Hound Dog said, “She decided Hound Dog because my first cousin’s nickname is Bird Dog.”
He started working as a custodian at Croatan High School twelve years ago, about when it opened.  He is the person that keeps the school going and keeps everything nice and clean.  “I’ve always been a free talker,” he says, which is definitely true.  Everyone knows and loves our custodian because he makes our days a little brighter and he doesn’t know a stranger.  His positive attitude is clear: “I make it day by day, and try to enjoy life.”
His plans after retirement are to move to the mountains and find a small cabin near a lake somewhere.  “If I want to throw a rod and a reel in, I can,” says Hound Dog.
He is passionate about NASCAR, people, and life.  On the weekend he and his wife have all their friends over at their barn with the bonfire going, NASCAR on TV, and delicious food for everybody.  Hound Dog says, “I’ve always loved to party.”  And Ms. Diffee, a good friend of Hound Dog, says, “If you’ve never seen his barn, it truly is a sight and is nothing but a good time.”
“He has the biggest heart out of anyone I know, and he spreads joy.” says Ms. Diffee.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know Hound Dog, you are missing out on an amazing individual, a truly “big, lovable guy.”  

Reported By Nicole Hebert