I could tell by the way the phone jumped straight up when it rang who was on the line. It could be none other than Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair, located in Ryo, Georgia. Yes, phones jump where Skeeter is involved. I do, too.
Skeeter Skates doesn't have a high regard for those of us in the media. After watching the dysfunction at the New York Times, I am more inclined to agree with him than previously.
"Hoss," Skeeter said with no preamble, "the boys in the Ryo Morning Coffee Club wanted me to ask you what in blazes has got everybody so stirred up these days. I said I would ask but I ain't got time to talk all day so just give me the highlights. I got a John Deere Moldboard Plow Shin 14" HS High Speed 666H sitting here staring me in the face waiting for me to do something."
I told him some of the unrest was legitimate. There had been some high-profile examples of overreaction by the police around the country that had resulted in the deaths of the individuals they were attempting to arrest. No question that things could have been handled better and hopefully they will be in the future.
"I can't argue with that, Hoss," Skeeter said, "but Walleye, who runs the bait shop over near Sugar Hill, says he wonders if that is any reason to not fund the police. Walleye says it's like doing away with all doctors 'cause one took out somebody's appendix when they should have taken out their tonsils."
I said that was one way to look at it. It is obvious to me that Skeeter Skates' morning coffee club contains some deep thinkers.
Skeeter said, "Uncle Coot wanted me to ask you that if we don't have any police, who is going to keep us from being robbed or mugged or shot and killed and if we are in a bad wreck who is going to pull us out of the car? Protesters?"
Another good question, I said, and I didn't have a good answer although I was pretty sure it wouldn't be the protesters.
"And how come," Skeeter mused, "the protesters are tearing down all them statutes? What's that got to do with the police?"
Most of the protesters are young, I said, and don't like a lot of things about our country, including our past, so they are trying to erase it by tearing down statues. They evidently are not aware of Santayana's admonition that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
"I ain't much of a religious person," Skeeter said, "so I don't know who Saint Anna is but that makes a lot of sense. By the way, have you asked protesters what they are going to do about all them counties in Georgia named for some Confederate bigwig? They going in and buy up all the atlas books and erase the names?"
I didn't tell Skeeter that nobody buys atlases anymore. They look that stuff up on their cellphones, but his point is a good one. What are the protesters going to do about the counties? Probably nothing. Tearing down statues is easier.
Booger Brown, who is a charter member of the Ryo Morning Coffee Club, wanted to know about pro football players disrespecting our national anthem and the American flag while making tens of millions of U.S. dollars playing a kid's game. Wasn't that a little hypocritical?
I said it was but I wouldn't worry too much about them. They are about as relevant to society as a butter churn. Besides, after a few years of banging heads with each other, their brains are going to turn to mush and they will end up drooling their oatmeal and trying to remember their names. God is good.
Skeeter got back on the line. "Hoss, for an ol' boy that don't get grease under your fingernails like real working people, you made some sense out of the nonsense going on these days. I appreciate your time. Now if you will excuse me, I've got a Weed Wiper 3-Point Hitch Mount that ain't going to fix itself. In the meantime, keep speaking the truth and remember there are more folks like the Ryo Morning Coffee Club who love their country than a bunch of ingrates that don't."
I think that was the first compliment I ever got from Skeeter Skates. I am fulfilled.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.