News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Legislature’s first day not all business

State Rep. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur, was all smiles when the Legislature convened late Monday for the first day of the special session.

It was his 80th birthday, M.J. Ellington reports. Bill’s colleagues sang “Happy Birthday” in the House chamber and arranged for everyone in a restaurant to sing it again that night.

The former Decatur mayor said his birthday was full of surprises this year, starting more than a week early with a party that really was unexpected.

“The family planned this big party on my birthday,” he said. After Gov. Bob Riley called the special session, they all got together and did it early, complete with family members jumping out from hiding places when he came home.

“``It was a lot of fun that way,” he said.

Borrowing a car

Bobby Brewer used to carpool with others from Loretto, Tenn., to work at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.

He would leave his car by U.S. 43 in Loretto on a patch of grass near the gas station. He left it unlocked with the keys inside in case anyone needed it.

The day Holly Hollman got her driver license, she and Bobby’s daughter, Amy, decided they needed the car and walked to town to get it.

Holly returned the car after nearly colliding with another vehicle at a stop sign. She doesn’t know if Bobby ever knew. He died Feb. 18 after complications from surgery.

Because Holly and Amy were part of each other’s families, Holly bets Bobby would have laughed and said, “Those girls got into so much mischief, it’s no wonder they needed two sets of parents to raise them.”

A food emergency

Tired of pretending to be shot and bleeding to death, students who participated in a recent homeland security exercise in Athens begged for bathroom breaks and food, Holly reports.

The exercise included a scenario where an escaped inmate shot multiple students outside the Limestone County Career Technical Center and took the school hostage. The students outside were covered in fake wounds and blood and were to stay on the ground until help arrived.

Tired of waiting, one girl, referring to a Hardee’s creation, yelled, “``I need a Thickburger or I’m going to famish!”

Pinocchio the Vols fan

Bob Slate tells about two basketball fans — one dressed in orange and one in crimson — who drew strange looks from diners at b.b. perrins.

The two men watched Alabama’s men’s team take on Tennessee on the big-screen television.

“How can you guys sit together?” one patron asked.

When the Vols won in overtime, the orange-clad staffer jumped up and down, whooped and hollered. The other simply shook his head.

The Tennessee fan, gracious in victory, then paid the tab for both.

“Gee, that was too bad,” he told his friend. “I hate to see your Tide lose like that.”

A woman patron overheard it and responded simply, “Your nose is going to grow.”

Send stories for You Don’t Say to steve@d, 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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