Our regular columnist, Terry Dickson, developed painful blisters from raking his neighbors’ leaves back to their owner and was unable to type. We offer instead this timely and insightful correspondence from Bubba Gene Hightower, mayor of Pond Scoggin, Ga.

Dear Mr. Dickerson,

I hope this finds you and yours fine and otherwise dandy. As for me and Guynell and Bubba Guy, that’s our onliest boy, we are doing considerable well having brung in the New Year’s here in Pond Scoggin with fireworks and some actual fire none of which was planned.

Well, we had a big first annual New Year’s celebrationexcept there probably won’t be no second annual seein’ as how we bout burnt down the post office. A steerin’ committee come up with the idea of countin’ down the last seconds backards like they do in Time Square and lowering a big 5-gallon demijohn of a blend of our locally produced tonics and elixirs from the second story of City Hall. When it touched at the bottom it was supposed to come down in front of a color wheel that was supposed to shine through and turn the contents of that demijohn all the colors of the rainbow and several more besides. Then everbody over the age of 21 was to come by and get a little sip to start 2020.

What we didn’t count on was them boys up on the roof got theyselves a siphon hose and passed it around and might near emptied that demijohn before Floyd Lloyd Mayweather started playing Old Lang’s Sigh on his harmonica. Can’t nobody play a mouth harp like Floyd Lloyd and apparently some of our celebrants had got a head start afore the festivities commenced. A right fair number of our cryin’ drunks commenced to boo-hooin’ like their favorite coon dog had died.

Well that feeling evaporated right quick when they seen the demijohn was nigh empty and they set out to get them underage imbibers. But them boys what had drunk the contents didn’t do nothing but pull up the ladder and lay down on the flat roof.

They was a failed attempt to chase them off the roof, which was aborted which I’ll explain later.

They was more excitement Jan. 1 when Marcus Lee Snipes put in to carry on his normal News Year’s Day tradition of goin’ a huntin’, which would have been fine if he hadn’t told his wife Eva Jean the night before. She told him, “You ain’t goin’ nowheres till you trim the bushes like it recommended in Double Wide Living.”

That put a damper on Marcus Lee’s plans to be in the woods before sunup so he was sullin’ at the breakfast table when she told him she was picking up her three sisters to go shoppin’ in Savannah. Marcus Lee was pruning the shrubbery along the front of the trailer with shears but he decided he could make better time with a chainsaw so he cut them bushes down to nubs includin’ Eva Jean’s prized topiary rabbit.

Then he decided to change the oil in his four-wheeler so he set about doin’ that but in the process turnt over a gallon of motor oil and got it all over hisself. He made several trips inside to clean up and didn’t get to the woods till the sun was high up so he didn’t get to huntin’ till after 9 and never so much as seen a deer.

He quit about 3 and went to Ralph’s Barbecue Trough and was lamentin’ his bad luck which was, unbeknowst to him, about to worsen. Eva Jean and her sisters had eat at a chicken salad place in Savannah and set around talking about how sorry their husbands were in the process of which, Eva Jean drunk a considerable amount of sweet tea. Drivin’ back from Savannah and droppin’ everbody off took up a couple of hours and she bad needed a bathroom. Well, she raced up in front of the trailer and run to the front door which nobody ever locks here in Pond Scoggin. She grabbed the door knob and tried to turn up but Marcus Lee had left it coated generously with motor oil so she couldn’t get no grip. She did a little dance as started lookin’ for a bush for privacy but they wasn’t nothing but nubbins. She finally resorted to squattin’ behind her Toyota to answer the call of nature but she was spotted by the cable TV man who was up a pole across the yard. He was so nonplussed he accidentally yanked loose a power line and sparks flew and transformers blowed halfway to Hortense.

Anyways, somebody got word to Marcus Lee at Ralph’s and he fled on his four-wheeler til it ran out of gas at which time he hitched a ride on a load of saw timber headed to Wadley.

You probably noticed this New Year’s letter was later than usual. I had writ one and put it in the mail but it got burnt up right after the demijohn debacle. Someone tried to flush them boys off the roof of City Hall by firing Roman candles at them, but one ball of fire cleared the whole building, sailed across the street and through a broke window in the back of the post office. It lit in a bin of mail and burnt most of it up before the sprinklers come on, my letter being amongst it.

Anyways, what I had told you in the letter was that my New Year’s resolution was a fitness program called hot yoga in which you get in a steamy room and contort yourself like the good Lord never intended. It’s just as well I didn’t tell you cause I got kicked out after the third class.

After every session the skinny woman who led it always folded her hands in front of her like she was goin’ to say grace, bowed her head a little and said “Namaste,’’ I think it was. I didn’t know what that meant but bein’ partial to English, I decided to end one session in a more America fashion. When she folded her hands, I hollered, “Git ‘er done.” I got some dirty looks and a refund of my membership dues, but I ain’t complainin’.

Come see us Mr. Dickerson. Now that I ain’t tied up in yoga knots, I can fish about anytime.

Your obedient servant,

Bubba Gene

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