“This is my year for Mexico.”
With apologies to country singer Charlie Pride for stealing “his stuff,” that just happened to be on the stereo out in my barn while I was sitting in front of the laptop searching for a “hook” to get your attention.
I have lost nothing in Mexico, but that’s the best I could do.
’Course I could tag this one “Road Kill,” but nobody gets killed on these roads this morning.
So, just for whatever, a few “wheels down” along the way.
One vivid memory lives from my years as a sports writer for this newspaper. I was blistering I-65 out of Mobile up to Montgomery when I glanced to my left. A state trooper, window down, was yelling for me to “PULL OVER . . . NOW.” Seems I had failed to notice the flashing lights in the rear view mirror.
I pulled over, he walked up, asked for my driving license.
His next words were:
“Mr. Smith, those cars you were passing were speeding.”
Yep, I got a ticket.
When the trooper asked for my license, I put my wallet on the hood of the car where he not only could see my license, but also my Anniston Star “PRESS” card.
Hey, if a press card could get you in the county fair free, surely it would take care of a bit of speeding.
The trooper took one look at the press card and immediately read me the riot act. He was not impressed with my lofty status as a member of the Fourth Estate one bit.
After about five minutes turning of me into a limp turnip … another ticket.
That, friends, was the LAST time I ever showed my press card to anyone.
I was eating the concrete pretty good when flashing lights said halt and the trooper said, “Sir, you need to follow me into town to the courthouse.”
In the courthouse basement, in a homey room with rocking chairs, a fireplace, and a small child crawling on the floor, I stood in front of a grandmotherly woman and awaited my fate.
Observing the Masters press badge on my coat, verbatim:
“Been to the Masters, huh. We’ve had a bunch of you in here tonight.
“That’ll be $47.50. You can pay now or post bond and come back to court.”
I got out of there with $5 and change in my pocket. In 60 minutes I was out of state.
Made every single light, hit the cycle right in the middle, even caught no less than four turn arrows on the button.
Mostly, the bear does the eating, but every now and then, you get a nibble of the bear.
While I still push the limit an extra 5-mph or so out on the Interstate, I’m the one getting passed all the time. And I’ve really given up road rage since one woman shot and killed another on an Interstate in Birmingham.
I have become very good about letting people change lanes in front of me, something I once refused to do. I also wave people into traffic from an off street, and people pulling out in front of me and going one block and turning off, just doesn’t seem all that important anymore.
I can’t even remember the last time I shot anybody a “bird.”
The message in all of this?
There really isn’t one, but I’ll betcha your preacher has one waiting ... go.
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org