News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Wife loses voice, but it doesn't last

Payback time was brutal for the Rev. Mike Stonbraker of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church.

Eric Fleischauer reports that Mike's wife, Jane, had laryngitis for a week.

He played it to the hilt, telling the congregation about the peaceful drive he had to Florida with Jane, mute, in the passenger seat. He peppered announcements with "Did I tell you Jane has laryngitis?" Newsletters broadcast the fact.

Jane did not, however, have laryngitis at Sunday's service. Not many can speak over Mike, but her well-rested vocal cords managed with ease.

As Mike's ears turned crimson, Jane nodded to the Praise Band. Its rendition of "You're in the Doghouse Now" will likely ring in Mike's ears for months.

It could happen here

Londoners may be thinking more like Americans these days.

Terrorist bombings in that city may have burst residents' bubble of invincibility. Six days before the first explosions, a Decatur church group packed into Victoria Station, one of London's subway interchanges.

One of the Decatur travelers noted aloud that the functioning yet chaotic Underground would make a perfect target for terrorists. Decatur Heritage Christian Academy junior Ashley Pentecost, who was also on the trip, told Lauren Howard about it.

"You must be American," retorted one Briton who overheard the exchange. The sentiment was, according to Ashley, "Something like that would never happen here."

Party for pets

Mary Catherine Beggs kept her word on her sixth birthday.

When she turned 5 in 2004, Paul Huggins recalls, she had friends bring presents for the Decatur Animal Shelter rather than herself. She said then that it was so much fun that she'd do it again the next year.

She did, only this time the Animal Friends Humane Society's new no-kill shelter benefited. Mary Catherine's party guests provided about 200 pounds of dog and cat food, 133 pounds of cat litter, $25 in cash and gift cards, and 26 packages of pet toys as well as hygiene items, collars and treats.

Mary Catherine not only gets the satisfaction of helping others; the shelter and her mother, Mary Margaret, let her play with all the cats for more than an hour.

Resident expert

Liquor is not the most popular topic among politicians because no matter what they do, somebody is going to be happy and somebody is not.

The Decatur City Council's two liquor proposals that passed in the Legislature's special session were no exception.

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, and Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts, D-Hartselle, agreed to carry the two political hot potatoes through the House and Senate so the local folks would have a chance to make decisions for themselves.

M.J. Ellington notes that Micky's bills moved faster and ended up passing, so he got the most questions about their progress. "I've turned into the liquor bill guy," Micky said, after an especially eventful afternoon.

Send stories for You Don't Say to or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444. Or write 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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