Archived Story

In the south you don’t have to make this stuff up, it just happens

Published 4:21pm Friday, November 25, 2011

Having just released my book, the first email from a reader I received read like this:
“Be honest, are these stories for real or did you make them up?”
Silly rabbit.
That’s the whole point of living in the south. You don’t have to make up material, it just happens. All I do is take notes and do a bit of tweaking. And while I suppose pretty much all small towns are ripe with unusual and funny occurrences, things seem to just happen where I live.
Case in point: yesterday, I took my very first ride in a firetruck. Nope, not on the way to an emergency or parade, but rather, a riding arena. You see, my friend, Kemper, put in a very low bid on a 1969 Ford firetruck being sold by a local fire station and, to her utter delight, she received the faded red behemoth for chump change.
“Isn’t it great!” she enthused, looking like a child’s doll behind the enormous steering wheel. “Get in!”
I climbed into the surprisingly clean and tidy cab and my eyes swept over the chrome knobs reading ‘choke,’ ‘throttle,’ and said, “Do these work?”
“I dunno,” Kemper replied, depressing the clutch and changing gears. “I’ve never used them.”
The truck growled with a throaty confidence and we swayed over the hills of her farm on the way to her covered riding arena.
“I bought it so I could water the footing,” she explained, as if it were the most normal thing on the earth to do. “I can fill it up with the hose and it’s so much cheaper than putting in a watering system up there. And, can you believe, it only has 15,000 miles on it?”
“Yeah,” I replied, “I’m thinking it probably wasn’t taken on a lot of road trips. Does it run well?”
“Like a champ!” she said. “And here’s the best part-“
(Wait for it…)
“My next door neighbor’s best friend restores firetrucks for a hobby! So, if I ever have a problem with it, he said he’d be happy to work on it for me!”
Now, were else on God’s Green Earth could you ever buy a used firetruck and just happen to have a neighbor that restores them?
Told you.
And all I had to do was jot it down…

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