While trying to figure out whether to dangle my participle in this hot weather or work up a sweat and split an infinitive, the phone rang. It was Skeeter Skates, proprietor of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Ryo, Georgia, and a charter member of the Ryo Morning Coffee Club in Ryo, Georgia.
If you are not familiar with the Ryo Morning Coffee Club, it is composed of Skeeter Skates, who functions as the group's facilitator; Walleye, who runs the bait shop in Red Bud; Booger Bledsoe, who operates a roadside vegetable stand over on State Route 53; and Uncle Coot recently retired after a long and distinguished career in the porta-potty transportation industry.
"We've got a question," Skeeter said. "how come you newspaper boys and them TV yakkers are always talking about politics? Ain't there anything else going on in the world? Can't you find something good to talk about for a change?" Actually, that was three questions, not one, but you don't interrupt the man when he is on a roll.
Skeeter continued, "What you need to know is that most folks are tired of hearing about that ol' orange-haired boy from New York City who ain't president anymore and that new voting law in Georgia that the folks who are raising cane about it, haven't even read. Mostly overpaid actors and ballplayers. I can't speak for everybody in Ryo, but I know me and my colleagues in the Morning Coffee Club think you need to write about something else."
I told Skeeter that I was ahead of him. I don't talk about either one of those subjects much anymore because it gets me a lot of cranky mail accusing me of being a liberal weenie or a redneck. Sometimes in the same column. I said I decided to talk about something less controversial like the state of organized religion. I cited the power struggle between the bishop of the North Georgia Methodist Conference and the largest church in the conference, Mt. Bethel United Methodist in Cobb County. In short, the bishop wants to move the pastor to another post and the pastor and his congregants disagree and are talking about disaffiliating with the Methodist Church.
I suggested that as Christians, both parties should ask themselves what would Jesus do in a situation like this? One reader called that idea "silly" and thought I was suggesting Christ sit down with Satan and say, "Hey fella, let's just cool it and work things out." I don't think Christ talks that way but, hey, that is not a bad idea. It's better than what is happening now.
Skeeter said maybe that would teach me not to opine on religion. Bible thumpers aren't much on turning the other cheek and forgiveness. I wish he had told me that earlier.
If I can't write about politics and religion, what's left?
Walleye suggested I let you all know about the esoterica of raising red wrigglers. That's bait shop talk for worms. He says if you put the creatures in rabbit manure, they will fatten up a lot quicker. Fish like fat worms. I told Walleye I would file that away for future consideration but I think I have told you all you want to know on that subject.
Booger Bledsoe said that he was doing a brisk business in cantaloupes and apples and that broccoli would be available shortly. I didn't tell Booger, but I will talk about Christ palavering with Satan before I will mention anything having to do with broccoli.
Uncle Coot said he had some interesting and entertaining stories he could share about the dynamic porta-potty transportation industry. With all due respect, I will try to get to those right after I've completely covered the stolen election, voting rights, red wrigglers, Christ and Satan and broccoli.
Skeeter said he hoped the input from the group was instructive and would give me something to think about. In the meantime, he had a Dosko 721cc Kohler electric start stump grinder waiting for a 12-volt battery that wasn't going to install itself.
That meant this conversation was over.
I always appreciate hearing from Skeeter Skates and the other members of the Ryo Morning Coffee Club and, as always, I will seriously consider their advice and counsel as I do with all my fans.
That is after I have decided whether to dangle my participle or split an infinitive. Which begs the question: Hey, what would Jesus do?
Dick Yarbrough is a longtime Georgia resident and former public relations executive. Reach him at email@example.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.