News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2006

Steve Stewart

Teacher was on a mission, in a hurry

Monday's DAILY told about Brookhaven Middle School teacher B'Countess Pope's stern love for students, including Derica Rice, who is now chief financial officer of Eli Lilly and Co.

This reminded Amy Pollick of another tough-love teacher: Bessie Allen, who taught eighth-grade civics at Madison Middle School in the 1980s.

She was driving to school one morning and was pulled over for speeding by the Madison police chief himself. The chief asked her where she was going in such a hurry. The teacher drew herself up and replied, "Officer, I am going to Madison School to help dispel ignorance!"

In the face of such stalwart resolve, what could the chief do but send her on her way with a warning to be careful?

Cooks swapped ideas

Nancy Boyles, 75, who celebrated her birthday working at her Steak 'N' Biscuit restaurant in Moulton, recalled a restaurant from the 1960s in Roselle, Ill., where she learned the finer points of cooking.

She told Ronnie Thomas about an Italian woman who was her cook there.

"She'd take a hambone and make a pot of beans to die for, and she'd make the best Brunswick stew in the world from leftover beef roast," Nancy said. "She taught me Italian cooking, and I taught her how to cook my soul food specials that the truckers liked so much."

Middle of the road

During a Planning Commission meeting, Decatur officials pondered whether the city should start extending Castle Gate Boulevard Southwest to Presbyterian Drive.

At issue, Chris Paschenko says, was building the city's street in a straight line to match up with about 155 feet of private property that the landowner promised to improve in order to complete the street.

Building Department Director Jimmy Brothers held his arms in the air parallel to the ground and, with one hand 6 inches above the other, explained that the streets might not meet in the middle to form a straight line.

Mayor Don Kyle joked, "We'd just call that a traffic-calming device."

No kidding

A man told Decatur police that during a disagreement with a convenience store clerk who refused to cash a check, the clerk chased him out of the store with a handgun, which turned out to be a plastic toy.

Lt. Chris Matthews said the clerk could be charged with menacing, Seth Burkett reports.

As long as the victim believes the gun is real, Chris said, pointing a toy gun is legally equivalent to pointing an unloaded gun at someone.

Confederate candidate

Billed as an anti-illegal-immigration rally, a League of the South gathering on the steps of the state Capitol drew about 100 people from different states and an array of bumper stickers.

M.J. Ellington says a sticker on one pickup with an Alabama license plate gave a hint of how its owner felt about the current state of politics.

"Don't blame me. I voted for Jeff Davis," the sticker read.

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.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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