In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Terry Dickson was busy rehanging Spanish moss on aesthetically appropriate limbs and had no time to write a column. We offer instead this timely 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, we are just fine, and the last we heard from Bubba Guy he was doin’ right well. With that storm a comin,’ he lit out with some of his teenage friends in what they called an evacuation, but I reckon they just wanted to go to the beach down along the Gulf.

We didn’t have it too bad here in Pond Scoggin. The river riz a little, but it’s done dropped back out and the fishin’s about normal again but you can’t catch nothing but a few blue cats this time of year anyways.

Well, the only good thing I have to say about our friend Dorian is it give us a chance to test out our recently organized Pond Scoggin Emergency Management Agency. We can’t afford nobody to run it full time so we called on the unfortunately named Sherman Grant to run it him already on the payroll as the head of public works.

It is public but I can’t say much for the works because they ain’t much seein’ how ole Sherm keeps busy contributing to the local economy doing his part in the production of certain tonics and elixirs that are sold mostly in Mason jars in the moonlight, if you get my drift. He’s says it’s a sideline, but if you need something done to a road or ditch you best go to Sherm’s house and look for a little column of smoke coming up from the woods.

We realized back in the spring that we needed a emergency management response of some sorts after one of our local entrepreneurs, Honus Barefoot, decided to develop a method of inhalation of his particular brand of elixir which he calls Mellow Mayhaw. Honus fixed him up one a them vaporizing pipes or vape pens or some whatyamacallit and loaded it up with a concentrate of his finest. Well he fired that thang up with an emphasis on fire and it didn’t go as planned.

He lost a barn, a 12-foot homemade boat and some fine Bermuda hay, but on the positive side them doctors up in Waycross said his eyebrows will likely grow back leastwise the left one.

Anyways, his neighbors got the fire put out with hose pipes and buckets before the firetrucks got there because the volunteer firefighters had to find some jumper cables and once they got the truck runnin’ had to stop for gas. Last year, the City Council wanted to have a day to honor our first responders, but I put a end to that because on their very best day our folks are about fifth responders.

With us fallin’ in the governor’s state of emergency area durin’ the storm, we decided we’d better hold us a press conference to keep the locals up on what we was a doin’. Well Sherm said ever press conference he had seen on TV had a somebody up front doin’ sign language, but I told him the only people that would come was a few bloggers and the local twice-a-month newspaper, the Pond Scoggin 100 Proof. I also reminded him that the only citizen hard of hearin’ was Honus because of his explodin’ vaporizin’ pen, but Honus wouldn’t have it no other way.

He found a feller said he’d interpret for $300 which strained the city coffers but we done it. Well he showed up at City Hall at the appointed time and he done some signing when I done my little talk after which Honus, sweatin’ in a heavy rain jacket, warned people to shelter in place even though it wadn’t blowin’ but maybe 10 mph at the time. I think Honus done that because one a them TV storm chasers showed up and videotaped it.

When they all got through, I give the sign languager three $100 bills and he lit out. I asked Guynell if she reckoned the sign language interpreter kept up, but she said it didn’t matter none. I asked why not and she said, “Well, he started out with rock, paper, scissors, switched to ‘YMCA,’ did wavy hand motions like a hula dancer and finished with the Hokey Pokey.”

We had been had, so I ordered the police to chase that rascal down and arrest him for defraudin’ a govment.

They tried, but the patrol car wouldn’t start and the volunteer firemen had mislaid the jumper cables.

It t’weren’t all a waste because the storm chaser did get some footage, but he had to get the fire department to spray a little water on him for what he said was dramatic effect.

After the storm passed, we stood down and I come over to St. Simons and asked around and folks said you and Mrs. Dickerson and your old dog had evacuated. I reckoned you had gone to y’all’s mamas’ houses in South Carolina, but they told me you had went to your young un’s house on the mainland and was back home right after supper.

At least that storm give you a reason to see them grandbabies, didn’t it?

I reckon that’s the bottom line, ain’t it? We get all amped up over hurricanes and the like, but if our family’s all right we can’t complain about pickin’ up a few limbs or havin’ your favorite cafe closed a few days. I seen on TV what happened to them poor people in the Bahamas and I reckon I’ll quit griping about anything as long as my kinfolks are all right.

I hope we don’t hear about no cone of concern for a few years.

When it gets cool, y’all come over and we’ll build us a fire on the sandbar and lie about the biggest fish we ever caught.

Your obedient servant,

Bubba Gene

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