News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

One vote, or one coin, can win election

This will ring a bell in Limestone County: A coin toss settled a City Council election in Ingleside, Texas.

Debra K.L. Sanders and Luis T. Lamas received 247 votes each, and the two decided to flip a coin to break the tie. A runoff would have cost the city $4,000. Luis called heads and won, The Associated Press reports.

Ten years ago, Democrat Bill Berry and Republican Johnny Hatchett tied 826-826 for the District 5 seat on the Limestone County Board of Education. They were willing to split the six-year term, but the law wouldn't allow that.

So, Sheriff Mike Blakely tossed a silver dollar and Bill won — also with heads. Johnny got to keep the dollar.

Make a difference

Today the coin that decided the election is on a plaque on Johnny's office wall.

Johnny, now 43, of Ardmore, still wishes he'd had the chance to serve on the school board.

"I don't know if I would have made a difference or not, but I'd like to have been there," he said. "It's an election year, and since then I've started working at the polls.

"I try to encourage everybody to go vote. A lot of people gave their lives that we'd have that freedom. A lot of kinfolks didn't go to the polls that day because they thought I had it sewed up."

It's the thought that counts

Barkley Lentz of Trinity says you would think he'd know better after 56 years of marriage.

He bought his wife, Corrine, a card, signed it and left it on the kitchen bar. She came home, opened it and placed it on the bar in silence. Later while they were sitting on the front porch, he asked about it.

She asked, "Did you read the card you gave me?" He said yes. She said, "You need to read it again." He did, and was surprised to find that it said "Happy birthday" instead of "Happy Mother's Day."

Barkley hand-corrected the card and apologized, and they had a big laugh. In fact, Barkley says people are still laughing at him — and it's not just Corrine. She spread the word about his blunder.

Swan song

Andrea Smith of Auburn happened to be in her Decatur hometown May 17 and tuned in to NBC's "Today Show." She caught the Auburn University Singers as they performed.

Thomas Smith, a Decatur native, directed the group as they sang outside the studio.

"Today" host Al Roker announced that Thomas was directing the singers for the last time. The chairman of Auburn's music department, he is retiring May 31 after teaching more than three decades.

Andrea, who is not related to Thomas Smith, couldn't help but sing along with the telecast, Melanie Smith reports. Andrea is a former member of the Auburn Concert Choir, which Thomas also directed.

Regional dialect

Randy Cross, a Calhoun Community College instructor and a rising star as a humorist, told Ronnie Thomas that one thing a Southern humorist can always count on is flak from Northerners.

"We use expressions they're not accustomed to," he said. "So, once when I said 'Y'all,' they snickered. So I said, 'Well, what do y'all call it?' "

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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