News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Hand-holding and tuna on Interstate 81

Joe and Anna took refuge behind a block wall while Hurricane Katrina demolished their home in Mississippi. They survived to inspire a group of truckers in Tennessee.

One of those truckers was Mike Dowdy of Hartselle, who
drives for Dixie Transportation. He describes Joe and Anna as two elderly people in a heavily loaded pickup. He didn't get their last names.

An accident stalled Joe, Anna and the truckers for hours on Interstate 81. Anna shared water, sodas and tuna sandwiches.

Mike saw their Biloxi license plate and asked about the hurricane. Only then did Joe mention they'd lost almost everything and planned to start over where their son lives in Virginia.

Joe and Anna wouldn't let the truckers pay for the refreshments. While she made sandwiches, Anna was singing: "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand."

"I will soon be 48 years old," Mike wrote in an e-mail, "and I have to say that I have never eaten a tuna sandwich with side orders of reality and humility.
. . . There is no doubt in my mind who was holding both their hands."

Gas bonanza

Cedar Ridge Middle School's Parent-Teacher Association does an excellent job of drumming up parent support, Eric Fleischauer says, but it may have made a miscue in one meeting.

To encourage sign-ups, a PTA officer said the organization would hold a drawing, with the winner receiving $50 in gasoline.

From a father in the back of the audience came a groan.

"Wow," he said. "Two gallons of gas."

Going Greek

Alpha, Beta, then what?

We're running out of hurricane names for this year, with only four names remaining after Rita's strong stand, and then we'll switch to Greek names.

But the hurricanes aren't heading to Greece — they'll stay with us, television meteorologist Keller Watts told Decatur Kiwanis Club members.

Patrice Stewart says Keller explained that the hurricane naming system skips letters Q, U, X, Y and Z. With hurricane season continuing into November, Keller predicts that we'll hear about Alpha and Beta, at least.

VIP privileges

When Athens Mayor Dan Williams gave Maj. Gen. James H. Pillsbury and his wife, Becky, a key to the city, Becky got some good news.

Her husband, who is commander of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, was speaking at a POW/MIA ceremony in Athens. He received honorary citizenship from Limestone County and Athens.

Holly Hollman reports that Becky got something extra. Dan said the key to the city entitled her to one free speeding ticket. Becky told Dan to make sure the cops know she drives a red convertible.

"Well, that's the kind they look for," Dan said.

What's the catch?

The general wasn't sure all this hoopla came without strings attached.

"Does all this mean we're going to have to pay taxes?" he asked.

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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