You can tell from the way the telephone rings who is on the other end of the line. It is Skeeter Skates. When Skeeter calls, the phone doesn’t just ring. It jumps off the hook. He has that kind of effect on phones and people, too.
For those of you who may be new to this space, Skeeter Skates is the owner of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Ryo, Georgia. He is a man of few words, but those words are as unvarnished as, well, a tree stump.
“Hoss, we got a question for you,” Skeeter said with no preamble. Preambles are not a part of who Skeeter Skates is.
The “we” in this case are the members of the Ryo Morning Coffee Club. In addition to Skeeter, who serves as the de facto chairman, the group includes Walleye, who runs the bait shop over in Red Bud; Booger Bledsoe, who operates a local roadside vegetable stand on State Route 136 near Sugar Valley; and Uncle Coot, recently retired from the porta potty transportation industry.
Skeeter said, “The boys and me were talking a little politics this morning, and we thought of you, ‘cause you know as little about politics as anybody we can think of.” Skeeter says that every time we talk. I haven’t figured out if he is kidding or not, but it is best not to ask.
“What we was wondering was if that ol’ orange-haired boy was ever gonna give up claiming he is still the president? He keeps on talking like he won and has got a lot of folks stirred up and acting all crazy like,” Skeeter said.
Before I could answer, Skeeter went on. “The reason we was curious is that if that bunch could go into the Capitol up there in Washington and tear the place up, what’s to keep them from coming to Ryo and trying to do the same thing?”
I assured him I didn’t think Ryo was a target for the protesters. They probably have other things on their mind at the moment, since a bunch of them are in jail or about to be. Skeeter didn’t seem to be listening to me, which wasn’t unusual. He’s always too busy talking.
“The reason I am asking,” he said, “is they might want to think twice before they do. We ain’t got no gazpacho police down here like that gal that represents us in Congress likes to talk about, but anybody wearing buffalo hats and thinking about going into Walleye’s uninvited and making a mess is in for a world of hurt.” I could hear Walleye yelling, “Amen!,” in the background.
Skeeter added, “Next time you are on Facepaint or Twerp, you might want to let them know.” I think he was talking about Facebook and Twitter, but this wasn’t the time to bring that up. Skeeter Skates was on a roll.
Booger Bledsoe got on the line and told me that he wasn’t as bothered about the orange-haired guy as Skeeter was. He was more concerned with the one that took his place. Booger said he looks like he is half asleep most of the time, and the few times he looks to be awake, he seems to be more worried about boys who have turned into girls and girls who have turned into boys being able to play volleyball than in trying to get inflation under control.
“The price of tomatoes has gone up 20 percent in just a year,” Booger said, “which don’t much matter, because nobody can afford the gas to get to my vegetable stand, anyway. And Sleepy Head is fretting about boy-girls getting to play volleyball? Obviously, he ain’t buying his own tomatoes or having to gas up his own car.” Booger has a valid point.
I asked Uncle Coot if he wanted to weigh in on the current state of politics. He said, no, but that he had some entertaining stories he would be happy to share with my readers about the dynamic porta potty transportation industry. I told him I would keep that in mind.
Skeeter Skates got back on the line and said, as usual, they didn’t know any more about politics than before they called. I said that is because politics can be very complicated. Skeeter said, no. Grinding a six-foot cypress stump in knee-deep swamp water is complicated. Politics is just downright weird. As much as I hate to admit it, he just may be right.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.