News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Summer is no fun for Santa Claus

If you think your job is hot and sweaty this summer, consider how tough it would be to don a red velvet suit, black boots and heavy beard and stuff a pillow under your cloak.

That's what Etta Moore did for three of July's hottest days as she portrayed Santa while Tami Reist, wearing a velvet dress, white wig and black boots, served as Mrs. Claus.

As part of a Christmas in July theme, the two managers for the Courtyard by Marriott visited 50 local businesses and industries. Paul Huggins says they thanked them for their business and encouraged them to book meeting rooms for holiday parties.

The most common response from people, Tami said, was, "Do y'all realize this is the hottest day of the year?"

Ripples in California

A Hartselle couple said they'll have to change the name of their fitness gym to avoid legal trouble.

John Stephenson said his wife Patsy owns 24-hour Fitness in Hartselle. Recently a lawyer took photos of her business. Soon the couple received a letter from a California company stating that the name is under copyright.

The Stephensons had checked to see if the name was taken in Alabama before opening. John told Chris Paschenko he figures a story on their gym, which ran in THE DAILY, tipped off the California-based company that operates 360 clubs in the U.S. and Asia.

The Stephensons said they'd probably change the name to Full-time Fitness, but thought it was funny how a story from Decatur could cause such a ripple in California.

Slow day at the polls

Voters were so few and far between at one of Decatur's polling places July 18 that the workers had time to notice a dragonfly that flew in behind a citizen.

The bug evidently injured itself and crash-landed. Melanie Smith saw the women, who had had fewer than 200 voters all day, laughingly check the critter on the floor. With any luck, that was the only way the workers felt bugged about their day's work.

Church gasoline gaffe

A weeklong mission trip to Slidell, La., proved entertaining for 25 members of a Decatur church.

Mary Virginia Sherrill, 15, told Chris that the group from First United Methodist Church made repairs to three Slidell homes and slept on cots for a week in a church sanctuary.

But before the group headed home, drivers of three of the church's four vehicles went to refuel.

"We have one credit card from the church to use, and all the people thought the other person paid for the gas," Mary said. "They left without checking to see who paid for it."

Police showed up at the church where the group was staying, ready to arrest the missionaries, Mary said, but the group explained the misunderstanding and settled the debt, and no one left Louisiana with a criminal record. All parties involved enjoyed the humorous moment.

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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