|2/8/2014 12:40:00 PM|
Bubba doesn't like 4th without fireworks
The voice on the other end of the phone sounded like a bad imitation of a redneck Ernestine. You remember Ernestine, the operator Lilly Tomlin portrayed on Laugh-In? You remember Laugh-In, right?
"This here's the long distance operator calling person to person for Mr. Tim Timmons."
Long distance operator? Person to person? Who uses that anymore?
"Hello Bubba, long time no talk to."
"Aw heck, Timmons, how'd you know it was me?"
"Lucky guess. So what can I do for you, Bubba?"
"Well, me and the boys at the Crawl-On-Inn were just talking about the 4th of July and this stupid ban on fireworks and why the gov'ment's even involved."
I could just picture it. Bubba and friends Big Country, Tater, Gumball all sitting around the Crawl-On-Inn, a hole-in-the-wall bar out in the general direction of Boxley and Omega. They're likely getting all worked up with nowhere to go . . . until someone suggested they call the newspaper guy. Lucky me.
"Bubba, did it cross your mind that by very definition the government is involved in the 4th of July?" I asked, figuring simple logic might slow him down.
"Aw hell, Timmons," Bubba shot back. "You know what I mean. They're saying we can't set off our bottle rockets and firecrackers and such. What's the 4th of July without fireworks?"
"Safe's for sissies," Bubba snorted. "This here's America, man. It's Independence Day. It's about our freedoms. We got a God-given right to shoot off some fireworks. If they's going to tell us we can't do that just because some hand-wringing, gov'ment bureaucrat's got hisself all worked up, well that's just wrong. Where's our freedom?"
I wasn't sure how to respond. If the idea of setting half the county on fire didn't faze him I didn't know what would. I thought about it for a second.
"Bubba, do you remember 9-11?"
"Well of course I do," he answered.
"Who were some of the real heroes?" I asked.
"Those New York City police and firemen," he answered. "They made us all proud."
"Now Bubba, would you agree that if that awful event had happened anywhere in this country that those specific police and fire crews would have done the same?"
"Sure, but what are you getting at?"
"Just this. It is so hot and dry that one tiny spark could start a huge fire. Do you really want those good police and fire folks in harm's way? Is it really worth that, Bubba?"
There was a long pause. I was beginning to think that maybe I'd gotten through to him.
"Timmons, I thought you were different. But you're just like all them other worrywarts."
"Hey Bubba, are you on the pay phone, the one by the back door?"
"Got a cigarette?"
"Tell you what Bubba, flip it out the door in the backyard."
I heard the squeak of the screen door. One Mississippi, two Mississippi . . .
"Aw damn! Grab the hose boys, the backyard's on fire."
Welcome to freedom, Bubba.
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