MT. JULIET – To say Harold Dee ‘Bubba’ Jones went out with a bang is a bit of an understatement.
Jones, of Lebanon, operated construction machinery and drove large trucks. He was killed in an accident June 23.
About 10 years ago, one of Jones’ friends, Joe Tomlinson, bought an authentic Civil War-era Confederate cannon.
“Bubba enjoyed using up my powder shooting it at the Circle P Ranch for special functions, such as the Mt. Juliet homecoming,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson, Jones and others got together April 13, 2013 and let fellow friend Paige Nash Morris shoot the cannon, knowing she would soon die from brain cancer.
On June 20, 2013, the group of friends started allowing others to shoot the cannon during a regular event used as a fundraiser to help the families of Ethan Page and Morris.
“Bill Sorey and Cindy Baker Collier won the right to shoot it at an auction,” Tomlinson said. “I then found out if you let one of your girlfriends fire the cannon, you have to let them all. You could tell by the smile on Bubba’s face it was special for him showing all of the girls plus his wife and one of his sons how to shoot it throughout the last year…always yelling right before they pull the lanyard, ‘fire in the hole.’”
At one point, Tomlinson said he wanted to be cremated when he died and have his two daughters shoot his remains out of the cannon. Tomlinson said Jones overheard the conversation and told his friend he did, too.
“I worked around the funeral industry earlier in life and read in the papers where people want to be cremated and their ashes strewn over their favorite fishing spot, on a golf course, out of an airplane, even in their backyard and many other places that were special to them,” Tomlinson said. “This made me think about what I wanted when I passed on.”
On Saturday night, Jones took a page from Tomlinson’s plans and got his wish.
“Fire in the hole was heard three more times,” Tomlinson said. “My friend, Lex Conatser, an experienced cannoneer, helped Bubba’s wife, Lisa, and sons, Tyler and Taylor, each shoot a portion of his remains over the grounds of Circle P, where Bubba helped so many have a once in a lifetime experience to shoot a Civil War cannon.
“Old friend, you got your wish. I know from now on when I hear thunder rolling in the heavens, it is you helping make it happen. Rest in peace, my friend”
Tomlinson said a memorial dinner also took place Saturday, and friends got together to feed Jones’ many friends and relatives.
“I have to thank all who made and brought food and desserts and helped serve all there,” Tomlinson said. “I also want to thank the Mt. Juliet police for answering all of the calls and explaining to all what was going on.”