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East Tennessee and a cow, in a car

MOULTRIE — Having been in the news business for many years, I have occasionally been asked what was the funniest or strangest story I’ve ever covered. Well, there have been a number of instances along the way that brought some chuckles, otherwise making my day.
And one of the funniest incidents happened early on in my career when I worked in East Tennessee.
At 2 a.m. on this particular day, a detective friend with the county sheriff’s department called me.
“You’ve got to come see this,”  he said.
And I said, “It’s 2 a.m. It better be good.”
When I got to the sheriff’s department, he ushered me to a 1959 2-door Ford sedan. It smelled to high heavens. He handed me a flashlight and said, “Look in the back seat.”
I caught a deep breath, poked my head in the window and shone the light to the back. There was a cow.
A couple of our county’s malcontents had stolen this cow from a nearby ranch. They had been driving around for almost three days with a cow in the back seat trying to sell it. But they couldn’t get any takers.
 Not only did the car exude an aroma that politely would be described as “essence of barnyard,” it oozed with suspicion. What I mean is, it’s just not that often that people take their cows for a ride in the back seat of their car.
 Keep in mind, this was a 2-door. There is no owner’s manual that tells you how to get a cow into the back seat of a 2-door sedan. It will tell you how to operate the jack and where the fuses are located but nothing about taking cows for a ride.
So these two guys had buzzard luck. What I mean is, they couldn’t kill anything and they couldn’t find anything dead. They were actually on their way back to the ranch to put the cow back in the pasture when they got pulled over by the Tennessee State Patrol for no taillight.
Now this was back before troopers had cameras on their cars. I can only imagine the conversation that went on when the trooper walked up to the car and began to assess the matter. I don’t think there’s a code number for this situation.
Needless to say, most of the deputies had been called in that morning to see this, and I recorded the event with photos for their scrapbooks because I’m sure they wanted to tell this to their grandkids some day and have hard evidence that it actually happened.
Then there was that day in court many years ago. An alleged sexual assault victim was testifying about her horrible attack. She was being cross-examined by a defense attorney who was trying to rattle her.
He kept asking detailed questions over and over, obviously attempting to discredit her account.
After one particular question, the woman let go her frustrations from being battered. She leaned over to the edge of the witness box, grasped it with both hands, pushed her presence toward the defense attorney and asked very sternly, “Sir do you know anything at all about sex?”
The defense attorney stopped in mid-sentence like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. The judge looked at the witness and then looked back at the attorney as if he were about to ask the attorney, “Well, are you going to answer her?”
I think such moments are actually therapeutic to this business I’m in.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. Email:

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