Barbour Stumps in ‘Mudville’
When I pulled my truck into the muddy parking area of the "Civic Center" last Friday evening to cover the Haley Barbour fish fry, I thought I was just going to cover another boring political event. Not quite.
First of all, it had been raining all day, and there is no paved parking at the center, just a big dirt lot. After a day of rain, the lot was one big mud hole. To top it off, I have never seen a larger crowd at the Civic Center, except for the annual Fight Night, which by the way was a lot more exciting.
The dry parking spots filled up quickly, and car after car, and the Barbour supporters kept rolling in. They began parking on the road and walking to the covered shed.
I was quite surprised at the number of people who attended the Republican’s fundraiser, right in the hometown of our very own Ronnie Musgrove. I guess the $5 fried fish plate had something to do with it. Good strategy.
After parking and getting a few pictures for the paper, it was time to go. NOT! To my dismay, and several others, there was one lone truck, a GMC Sierra pickup parked smack-dab in the middle of the only narrow and dry trail leading out of the muddy mess. One lady was already walking around screaming about the truck blocking her in. She told security, but what could they do?
Several announcements were made to the crowd but I suppose the fish was just too good for the driver to come out and move the truck. After all, it was expertly prepared by the Lions Club.
More and more people began to exit the center after eating, only to discover that they, too, were blocked in by one uncaring individual.
About an hour went by while I watched the lady pace and talk to herself. She checked again with security, only to find out that announcements had been made for a light brown Chevy Z-71, not a GMC Sierra, which was gray to boot. She was going ballistic.
"I’ll bet it’s a man," she angrily said.
I looked at her, questioned her bias, smiled and said, "No, I’ll bet it’s a 20-25 year-old kid who doesn’t have a care in the world for anything but himself."
"So you think it’s a man, too?" she replied.
We both laughed, and went back to our cars.
I didn’t plan on hearing Barbour’s speech, but I was forced to. He talked. The people clapped. He talked more. The people clapped again.
Finally, I heard a particularly loud applause that signalled the end of another speech finished.
Sure enough. Moments later the people slowly filed out of the arena. Everyone but the owner of the gray GMC Sierra pickup truck.
Finally the culprit appeared. Sure enough. It was a young man, 20-25 years-old. He slowly climbed into the cab and fired her up. But not quick enough to escape the wrath of the little lady who, like me and several others, had been blocked in for an hour.
After relieving her tension on the young man, she walked by my truck, and peeked in my window and smiled while she said, "You were right."
Next time I’ll know better. Park on the road and walk, and I ain’t jokin’ with you!
(Jim Beaver is publisher of The Panolian and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)