February 1, 2011 10:38:00 AM
Folks are always offering up suggestions on what to write about - some really good and some that would get me in trouble, politics mostly. For those, I direct them to our Letters to the Editor section that''s open to one and all.
That said, don''t take this one as too political.
I watched the State of the Union address Tuesday night. I had been up since 4 a.m. on a road trip over to Montgomery County, where I had spent a very cold and damp day in a shop with a group of guys doing some safety training. I thought the speech would put me right to sleep. It didn''t. I got interested in it.
Steering clear of controversy, I will admit America''s got some pretty tough problems to solve. No matter what side you''re on, one thing''s for certain, we''ve got to get us a game plan and stick to it.
I once heard somebody say that when calling a meeting to address a controversial issue, always start it at 4:30 p.m. The reason given? Those attending wouldn''t have a chance to go home and have a couple of cocktails to loosen up on. It made perfect sense to me. Thankfully, those in attendance last Tuesday night looked as if they had skipped the cocktail hour.
Watching all those men and women sitting there listening to President Obama took me back to Rolling Fork a long time ago.
When I was 15 or so years old, there was some controversy in the community that needed to be met head on. A parents'' meeting was called. As most of you know, back in those days, mamas and daddies didn''t talk about "things" in front of the children. My pals and I were pretty savvy though. We kept our ears close to the ground. We weren''t going to miss the fireworks.
The night of the meeting, we just "happened" to be around. One of my mentors and dearest friends of all time took notice of us. He asked why we were there. No surprise, I was the self-appointed spokesman for our group. I respectfully asked that we be allowed to attend. Surprisingly, he said we could on the condition that we sit on the "back row and do not make a sound."
The doors were closed and the meeting called to order (at 7 p.m. rather than 4:30 p.m.). I didn''t know that adults talked to each other like they did that night -- lots of emotion.
Looking back, everybody in the room had a couple of things in common: They were neighbors and loved Rolling Fork. The problem was solved and folks went on speaking when they bumped into each other at Sam Sing''s Grocery Store.
They worked it out.
That same year, plus or minus one, my pals and I were in the pool hall one night when a pretty tough character of some renown stopped by to do a "little drinking." He had one of the meanest dogs I had ever seen. He chained the dog to the front door; no one could come in and no one could go out (there was no back door). Needless to say, I missed my curfew that night.
Maybe our nation''s leaders need to visit Rolling Fork, or any other small town in America for that matter. I believe they could pick up some pretty good pointers on how folks that have to live next door to one another solve their problems and work out their differences. In small town America, it''s not a matter of "wanting to," rather, "having to."
They might even prevail on me. I still maintain associations with some pretty tough customers who''d be more than happy to come up to Washington, D.C., chain a bad dog to the front door of the Capitol until they handled our business.
Roger Truesdale, of Columbus, owns and operates Bayou Management Inc. and is a semi-professional guitar player. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.
1. The Ups and Downs of Nelson's Pillar BOOK REVIEWS