News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Bush Hog sounded really vicious

Some Decatur workers report that their boss, who moved here from California, sometimes needs help with the way we say things in Alabama.

Hearing that a Bush Hog had “chewed up” a man’s wallet that fell out while he was mowing grass, the boss envisioned a leather-eating animal.

He didn’t know that a Bush Hog is a brand of a mowing machine so popular around here that we often use “bush-hog” as a verb — as in “He bush-hogged that field.”

Almost celebrities

Peggy Webb’s sixth-grade class at Decatur Heritage Christian Academy got to tell reporter Melanie Smith and photographer Gary Cosby Jr. about earning money for a Decatur ministry.

When the interviews were done, the students asked Melanie and Gary about their work. They wondered how far away the reporter and photographer had traveled for work (answers: Gary to Guatemala and Melanie to Boston) and what famous people they’d met (Gary met New York Yankees pitcher Jorge Posada and Melanie met President Carter).

The answers must have made an impression. Many students wouldn’t let Melanie and Gary leave without autographing sheets of notebook paper — or maybe it was just a way to get out of class a little longer.

Welcome! Get to work

Melanie says a Decatur Kiwanis Club meeting included announcements about the club’s upcoming Pancake Day and saw tickets handed to the new member, Kent Lawrence, who was officially introduced at the meeting.

“Please don’t ask me to sell tickets,” joked speaker Nick Foster, director of the Alabama Poverty Project. “That’s quite a howdy-do for a new member.”

Pancake Day will be Saturday at Decatur High School.

A magic family

Former Decatur resident Mark Pettey, better known as Robbie the Ringmaster, has been performing magic tricks in the Collier County, Fla., area for about two years.

Born in Indiana, Mark moved to Decatur when he was 8, according to the Marco Island Sun Times. He became interested in magic at 7, checking out library books and learning tricks.

Mark’s son Zachary, 9, helped him entertain more than 50 people with hat tricks, card tricks and other illusions to celebrate Collier County libraries’ 50th anniversary.

No budget for ESP

U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler surveyed his weary jurors after they had sat through hours of mind-numbing testimony in a Decatur trial, Eric Fleischauer reports.

“If you need a break,” Coogler prodded, “you have to tell me.” No response from the jurors.

“I used to be able to read minds,” he continued, “but we lost that in the last budget cut.”

Watching out for the blind

A Feb. 13 article in The Wall Street Journal explored the dangers that quiet hybrid vehicles pose to the blind. The article intrigued Chris Paschenko.

In it, Raymund Flandez reported that Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong said drivers and pedestrians should “watch out for each other,” in Raymund’s words.

Chris said anyone who was legally blind could have trouble keeping up his or her end of that bargain.

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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