News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2005

Steve Stewart

No gavel? Then try handcuffs

Billy Jackson seems to need one more tool to be an effective Decatur City Council president. Namely, a gavel.

Billy found himself trying to start a work session on the seventh floor of City Hall in a raucous room of city officials, people with council business and spectators, all carrying on loud conversations.

Martin Burkey says Billy had no luck until he raised his voice and said, "Chief, got your cuffs with you? I'm about to send some people out."

Police Chief Joel Gilliam stood up and confirmed he could come up with the necessary equipment, but the audience by that time was subdued.

What did he say?

Reporters like Business Writer Jay Wilson get amused at the ways people dodge giving out information for news stories.

One of Jay's interview subjects, asked about some particular properties for sale, responded:

"All or some of these properties are in one status or another at this particular time."

Where's that phone?

The Decatur council was running briskly and was down to agenda item 16 when a cell phone went off, Martin reports.

Assistant City Attorney Kelly Cain was introducing a resolution and tried to ignore the ditty, but as it played through a second time, Billy Jackson interjected.

"Let's just stop a minute," he said. "Somebody's cell phone is on."

Suddenly, his mother, Betty Jackson, reached for her pocketbook and discovered the offending device.

"I'm sorry," she said, hurrying out of the council chamber to answer it while the audience, council members and even her son chuckled.

Observed and overheard

Sign on a casket truck: "Drive safely. Heaven can wait." The driver was doing 80 in a 70 mph zone. ... The big print giveth, and the fine print taketh away. On the front of the air-conditioner filter it says, "Up to 9 months protection." On the side of the same filter: "Change filter every 90 days."

Bumper sticker at Athens State University: "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

At some point you just wish the company would hurry up and come so you can quit cleaning the house. ... If you don't change where you're going, you'll end up there. ... A man said his wife's credit card was stolen, but "I decided not to do anything about it because whoever got it was charging less than she did."

Not a clue

The late Dr. Charles "Pistol" Howell, a loyal booster of First Baptist Church of Decatur, said he could tell whether visitors were regular churchgoers by how well they knew the words to hymns.

This helped him know how to welcome them and invite them to come back.

Alas, technology has ruined his system. Now many churches, including First Baptist, project the words on big screens. No need to look at hymnals.

DAILY Weekend Editor Steve Stewart compiles and edits You Don't Say. If you have an item of community interest, call Steve at 340-2444, e-mail him at, or write to You Don't Say, THE DECATUR DAILY, P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609. DAILY staff members contribute many of the items you see here.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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