|2/8/2014 2:34:00 PM|
Bubba and boys understand right to work
I'd almost forgot about my new friend Bubba Castiron, the bear of a man who makes new friends in strange ways. Almost, until I picked up the phone.
The accent and voice were unmistakable.
"Hello Bubba, how have you been?"
"Jes' hanging out," he said. "Hey, you remember that I told you you ought to hang out with us sometime?"
How could I forget?
"Well, me and the boys were talking and thought we'd see if you might want to come on by?"
I thanked him, but told him that since it was in the middle of the day and there was a pile of paperwork a mile high on my desk that I'd have to pass.
"Too bad, Timmons," he said. "I was thinking that maybe you might find some interest in what real folks had to say about them Democrats skipping out on work and that right-to-work thing? Heck, we were going to even buy you a longneck. But that's OK, suit yerself."
Well, a publisher should never be too busy to listen to readers . . .
"Tell you what, Bubba. How do I get there?"
"Well, if it was me, I'd drive. But you can do it any way you want."
Now, I grew up in Hamilton County and figured I know my way around it pretty well. But finding a place located between Boxley, Omega, Elwood and Tipton was a challenge. It took 45 minutes before a narrow, dusty road brought me to the Crawl-On-Inn.
My little car looked out of place in the gravel parking lot. The other five vehicles were pickups and three had tires taller than my car. OK, the car and I looked a lot out of place.
The scuffed front door creaked so as to announce every arrival. The floor was cement and apparently hadn't seen the business end of a mop since the Eisenhower administration. There was a bar straight ahead and a few tables scattered around an old coin-operated pool table.
Bubba and the boys were off on the right.
"Timmons!" Bubba hollered loud enough for everyone within buckshot range to hear. As I walked over, Bubba motioned to the other three. "This here's Tater. He's our expert on carp fishin'. Big Country is sitting next to him. We've called him Big Country ever since we was in second grade 'cause he's always been bigger than a mountain. And the one over here's Gumball."
No explanation on Gumball.
Tater, Big Country and Gumball. What? I stepped into a remake of Deliverance?
"Fellas" I nodded and pulled up a chair.
"Hey Elvis," Bubba yelled. "Get our buddy Timmons here a longneck."
Yes, the bartender was really named Elvis.
"Us boys decided that we don't care if they're Democrats or Republicans," Bubba started in. "If they don't want to show up for work, fire 'em."
"Well Bubba," I started to explain. "Actually you can fire them. It's called voting."
Didn't phase him.
"And the worst of the bunch is that Pat Bauer. He's the one that took 'em to Illinois last year."
"Yeah," Gumball (I think) said.
"But that's not the real bad news," Bubba continued as Elvis brought over a beer. "Shoot, if they aren't voting, maybe that's better for all of us. No, Timmons, the real trouble is this Right-to-Work crap. I mean me and the boys all like Gov. Mitch and he's been telling us that we've been doing better than most on the jobs front. Now he's sayin' we need to pass this or we're all in trouble. C'mon Timmons, he can't have it both ways."
I noticed that Big Country, Tater, Gumball and even Elvis all leaned in a little closer. Like I had the answers?
"It's not really about that, Bubba," I explained. "See, the thing is, companies that are looking to move or expand like to have what they see as a friendly labor environment, and this legislation is designed to do that."
"Friendly?" Bubba snorted. "Where're you going to find friendlier than right here?"
"Not the point," I said, trying to figure out how I was going to explain this on a level these good, ol boys would understand.
"You're right, Timmons," Tater (I think) said. "This is about the fact that only one out of 10 of us belong to a union and yet the unions are pulling the strings of the Democrats."
His voice rose in volume.
"It's about the idea that teachers, which have the strongest union in this here state, have been right to work since '96 and it ain't hurt them one bit. It's about firefighters, which are 99 percent unionfied, being right to work and they're doing jes' fine. It's about politicians not playing by the same rules the rest of us have to. About them not showing up for work and getting away with it. About tryin' to tell us how many folks in the state capitol at one time is a safety issue and not because the Republicans don't want to deal with protesters. It's about a bunch of crap. And we're sick and tired of it. Can you put that in your paper, Timmons?"
The insight caught me completely off guard. I looked around. "Elvis, bring me another cold one."
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