News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

The King and Princess in Decatur

Former Decatur resident and journalist Ken Karcher, now living in Denver, told Ronnie Thomas in an e-mail that he longed for downtown (Old) Decatur, the way it used to be.

"In 1960 or 1961, I saw Elvis when he came through town on a train on his way to Florida," Ken wrote. "The train stopped, and he came out on the car platform and stood around and waved at everyone.

"I heard it on the radio and ran all the way down there. Now the depot is gone and the whole place looks kind of depressing."

He added, "Well, the Princess Theatre (Center for the Performing Arts) is there. And man, if I had a dime for every hour I spent in there."

Today, incidentally, is the 29th anniversary of Elvis' death.

Accidental demolition

Sometimes life just works out right, Decatur Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap figures.

City workers did some maintenance and repairs to the dowdy guard shack at the Point Mallard campground earlier this year, but it didn't help much. The shack was needed on the busy Labor Day and July 4 weekends, but it was merely an eyesore the rest of the year.

That was until a dump truck carrying dirt for new tennis courts knocked it down. Martin Burkey says the contractor asked Jeff what he wanted done. Jeff was only too happy to have the company haul it off.

As for the offer to build a new one, said Jeff, "I'm still mulling that for now."

Following Mom's lead

Cheryl Carpenter of Decatur told Ronnie that she worries about two of her and husband Robert's three children. They're following in her footsteps if not her tread marks.

Cheryl is an English teacher at Alabama A&M University and a "Road Scholar" doing speeches for the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Emily, 21, is a senior English major at The University of Alabama at Huntsville. Robbie, 18, graduated in May from Austin High School and enrolled at UAH — majoring in English.

"We're all going to starve to death," Cheryl said.

The couple's other son, Jules, 26, works at International Paper Co. in Vicksburg, Miss.

Early withdrawal

In Darmstadt, Germany, a drunk withdrew more than $16,700 from his bank account and handed it out to passers-by.

The man, 63, sat on a bench in front of the bank with the money stuffed into plastic bags and pockets, The Associated Press reported. Some cash blew away, but he gave away about $1,935. Police said he "didn't care because he had enough."

They took him back into the bank and took temporary custody of the money. They told him he could have it back once he was sober.

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. This column appears Sundays and Wednesdays.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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