It was a sleepy little town, typical of many small hamlets that dot the landscape of the southernmost parts of the Country. Main Street was lined on either side with various stores and appeared, at first glance, to end at the courthouse steps. It was here that it gave way to a circle circumventing the two hundred plus years old building. Entering the circle at right angles were two streets that evidently led to the surrounding countryside. Traffic from the main thoroughfare was required to negotiate the circle before continuing and eventually connecting with congressman Jake Wilton’s pet project, the By-pass.
There was a time when the flow of traffic was routed through the town by way of main street. Very few merchants were happy about the construction of the by-pass and with good reason. What once had been a thriving city had now been reduced to a handful of presently operating businesses and many more vacant buildings. A number of the merchants were required to relocate, whereas, others had merely closed their doors and sought other means to provide for their families.
With the exception of a Saturday, when most of the citizens from the farm community came into town to transact their weekly business or to merely pass the time with their friends and neighbors. One could usually count the patrons who venture into town for the purpose of shopping, on the fingers of one hand.
Today, however, was different. Today was the day when the Circuit Judge arrived to conduct the business of the court. It was a big day indeed, for the inhabitants of the county, simply because of the forthcoming trial of one Peter J. Brigman.
“Pete” had been accused of shooting B. L. Jarvis in the leg with a twenty-gauge shotgun after an argument at the Short-Snort Cafe last May. He had been housed in the JAIL over in Mayport, since his arrest in June.
Probably the most unusual aspect of his day in court was the fact that “PETE’S” supporters had gathered on one side of Main Street and the supporters of “B. L.” were congregated on the opposite side. The air was charged with apprehension.
Vehicles representing local radio and television stations were parked adjacent to the courthouse, their wires extending across the circle and into any available receptacle.
Also present were several persons with identification cards denoting them as members of the press. The Progressive, The Telegraph, and The Weekly Responder.
The disgruntled members of the “Sons of Rest club,” that normally occupied the benches on either side of the courthouse steps had been displaced by a battalion of deputies from the adjoining counties. The controversial trial was about to begin.
Attorneys for both sides were careful in their jury selection. They were determined to have at least as many supporters for their client as the other side had. Awareness that half the community were friendly toward Pete and couldn’t stand B.L. and the other half felt just the opposite, made for a lively selection process.
At last, the jury was seated and trial began. In opening statements, both attorneys depicted their client as solid, law abiding citizens who would go out of their way to avoid a confrontation, but yet, the evidence presented by the prosecution would point to the guilt of the defendant and council for the defendant would claim that nothing could be further from the truth. Back and forth they went: Both questioning and cross examining witnesses.
The judge began to think that the trial was getting nowhere up until the time when “JETHRO PARNELL” was called as a witness for the defense. He was asked if he had witnessed the entire altercation. His testimony was short and to the point.
“Yep, your majesty. B.L., he had him a snoot full of that old rot-gut whiskey that Ben Tadlock bootlegs and he commenced a-raggin’ Pete about that bag of bones; whot he calls a bird dog. Pete told him to shut up but he never listened. Next, he commenced a’runnin’ down Pete’s wife. Said she was fat and lazy. Finally, he just went too far and flew in to cussing “DALE EARNHARDT:” and Pete just up and shot him.”
The judge then interrupted and addressed himself to the jury. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t believe that we have need of a jury at this time, thank you very much. Council will approach the bench.”
When the jury had left the courtroom, the judge turned to the prosecuting attorney and said, “You have wasted my time and the taxpayer’s money with this nonsense. Case dismissed. Hell, I’d have shot him myself, if I had been there!”
“Bailiff; Call the next case!”
GAS WARS IN REVERSE!
I have vowed to restrain from “playing politics” in my Blog, but I must get this off my chest. Dj.
In the late 1950’s / early 1960’s, service stations competed by lowering the price of gasoline. I can well remember seeing a posted sign in front of a neighborhood station advertising the price of their product at $.18.9 cents per gallon. Less than one hour later, I passed the same location and observed the station across the street changing their price to $.17.9 cents.
It was along about this time that Politicians seeking election / re-election promised to lower prices on all consumer goods in return for a vote. It’s funny, but those promises seemed to get put on the back burner as soon as the votes were counted. Little concern was given to the retailer that was selling gasoline for less than they paid for it in order to lure customers. Perhaps the reason was that service station owners made up a small percentage of the populace, and that the major oil companies were content with a normal margin of profit.
Just yesterday, I drove to the grocery. As I passed convenience store “A,” a clerk was changing the price on the gas pumps to to $2.49.9 cents. On my return the same clerk was boosting the price to $2.50.9 cents while convenience store “B”, just across the street, was in the process of changing their price to $2.51.9 cents.
After reading about the record-breaking profits earned by major oil companies, it makes us wonder who is scraping the cream off the top. To make matters worse, reports are that gas prices will surpass the $3.00 per gallon mark. (Not before the 2008 election, of course).
What do you think would happen to the price of gasoline if the salaries of all politicians were suddenly reduced to the level that “Joe Blow” receives for flipping burgers and “Jim Smith” gets for washing cars?
None of us expect for gasoline prices to again return to the $.17.9 cents, but our elected officials are doing us a great injustice by allowing the skyrocketing prices of everything and still seeking to make up the difference by curtailing the very limited incomes of the country’s seniors.
Has it ever occurred to them to reduce their own lavish salaries and bonuses as a gesture of concern for their constituents? By doing so this could be characterized as “leading by example” and would be a start in the right direction.
Don’t you just hate it when you enter an eating establishment and find that the menu is printed entirely in an unknown language? To those of us who are not “worldly,” this presents a problem. Searching the entire menu offers no explanation as to what the “Baked Chitlins alfredio” or the “scalipiota personified” consists of and does not even indicate that it is edible.
It would seem that they would include a translation somewhere for those of us who know nothing of the exotic terms used by famous chefs. It need not be elaborate, just tell us what we would be eating when we point to an item and say, “I’ll have that.”
It does not stop here. Small print below the selections of entrees, offers the “Vegetable of the Day.” What is this? Can they not spell mashed potatoes or green beans and corn on the cob? And do they really cook the “Fries” at “Home” and then bring them to the restaurant?
Also, it would seem that the longer the name, the larger the price. I have tried to figure out just what the going rate per letter in their “special of the day,” but to no avail. This too, is a closely guarded secret. To call a potato by any other name should not increase the price by one half.
Many of us enter a restaurant for only one reason. We are hungry. We do not care if the food is called cuisine or simply victuals. It matters not to us if the items are served with an exotic sauce or plain gravy. If the food is tasty and the establishment is clean, we will beat a path to your door. A sample of what we are looking for is—
Ham and ‘tater salad with okra and squash…$1.69
Steak and black eyed peas with turnips and mashed ‘taters…$2.45
Meat loaf and gravy over rice with collards and pinto beans…$1.89
Fried cat fish with fried squash and fried ‘taters…$2.22
Beef stew with stewed ‘maters and hominy…$2.16
All of the above served with biscuits, corn bread, tea and/or coffee. Large slice of apple pie included.
Take heed, all of you restaurant owners. This could mean the difference in success and failure. There are thousands of us who want nothing more than a good, tasty meal. It’s up to you.
Will you succeed or fail?
Mostly Unheard Of Today!
Slew-footed: Someone who walks with their feet turned outward. Example: “He’s so slew-footed that he walks like he’s raking corn shucks.”
Teddys: An item of underwear worn by ladies. Example: “Mavis was walking around outside with nothing but her teddy’s on.”
Bodiacious: A huge amount. Example: “I’ll bet that car cost Jim a bodiacious pile of money.”
Coming up a cloud: An impending storm. Example: “You young’uns get in the house and wash your feet; ‘They’s a’coming up a cloud.”
Tainted: Anything that has spoiled. Example: “Throw them hot dogs into the hog pen. They’s tainted.”
Parson: A preacher. Example: “Our Parson has moved and we’s got to find us another’n.”
That Way: Description of a pregnant lady. Example: “I’ve heard that Eunice is “that way” and won’t tell who’s the daddy.”
It’s that old bomb: Placing blame. Example: “The reason we’re having such bad weather is that it’s caused by ‘that old bomb.”
Liquored-up: Inebriated. Example: “I saw Bob yesterday in front of the dime store and he was all “liquored up.”
Pigeon-toed: Walking with the feet turned inward. Example: “That young’un of Miz Hylton’s is as ‘pigeon-toed’ as anybody I’ve ever seen.”
Croup: As having a bad cough. Example: “Jethro has got the ‘CROUP‘ and I can’t sleep ’cause he coughs all night;”
Gimp-legged: A person that walks with a limp. Example: “That ‘gimp-legged‘ boy of Miz Starnes ain’t getting no better.”
Smart as a whip: Showing intelligence. “He might never get any better but he’s; “Smart as a whip.”
Swimmy-headed: Unstable. Example: “I was so “swimmy-headed” this morning, I could hardly get out of bed.”
Blind staggers: Same as above. “I noticed that; but I thought you had a bad case of the “blind staggers.”
Re-liners: Inserts for automobile tires. Example: “You had better put “Re-liners” in your tires ’cause the air is showing in two of them.”
Lumbago: Leg or back pain. Example: “I’ve got to get up from in front of this computer ’cause my Lumbago is giving me a fit.”
Any more questions?
After retirement, my wife and I lived in Sunset Beach, North Carolina for fifteen years. While there, I became friends with Sam; who was the owner of a thriving Hardware, Garden Center and Real Estate & Rental Agency.
I suppose one could characterize him as a good old boy since his attire was usually overalls and denim shirt, and with a baseball cap perched on his head. At first glance, it was hard to believe that he was the boss because most of his employees were dressed better than he. When I went into his store for a couple of items, it was not unusual to spend an hour or so reminiscing with him about the good old days.
Once, he related a true story to me. A non-resident Homeowner called one day and ordered one yard of gravel and wanted it delivered immediately. Sam explained that all his drivers were busy with other deliveries and he would send the gravel as soon as possible. The man became indignant and demanded service right now! Sam told him that he would do what he could to deliver as soon as possible.
Hanging up the phone, he told Marie; his wife, and bookkeeper; to look after the store and he would deliver the order himself. He went into the yard and loaded the gravel on the spare truck with the front end loader and drove across the floating draw-bridge and onto the Island.
The Homeowner was standing if front of his ocean-front cottage when Sam arrived. He had no more than gotten out of the truck cab until the man “lit in on him.” He began cussing about the poor service from people and businesses in the South and especially in and around Sunset Beach. “My time is much too valuable to wait around until the spirit moves some country bumpkin to do what I’m paying him for.”
Sam merely dumped the load of gravel in the designated spot and then turned to the man and said, “I know what you mean and I’ll agree with you 100 percent. I’ve never seen such sorry service than these folks around here provide. People like you and me are not used to such bad service. Up North, people jumped when we hollered.”
“Y’see, the only reason I’m driving this truck; is to try to make enough money to move my family, If things get any worse.”
The man paid him for the gravel and then asked him to wait for a couple of minutes before leaving. He went into the house. When he came back out, he shook Sam’s hand and handed him two twenty dollar bills and said, “I Hope this will help you get back home.:
After relating this to me, Sam quoted an old saying; “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Sam’s unique ability to correlate with folks of any background leaves no doubt of his success as a businessman.
“I’m glad to call him my friend.”
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