To quote the late great Frank Inman, “Boy Howdy.”
Tonight’s the umpteenth annual Bryan County News Bryan’s Faves event. It’s always a lot of fun and my congratulations to the winners, all of whom are probably wonderful, well scrubbed people. Some I might even know, though they may not admit it in public.
I like Bryan’s Faves because it gives me a chance to ponder my favorite things in Bryan County, like the delicious tacos at Taco Bell.
Have you ever tried Taco Bell’s tacos? They’re amazing. I don’t know how they do it in a place that shares space with a fried chicken franchise but I’m going to eat there every day now that I’ve discovered one of Bryan’s Bestest. I call this category Bryan’s Bestest Kept Secrets: The tacos at Taco Bell. Go get you one, son. Heck, get you more than one. Get you some.
As astute readers will see, this column is about Bryan’s Bestest (to distinguish it from similar lists out there, and there are a bunch of them), and enough mucking about. Hold my beer.
Bryan’s Bestest political race in 2020: That one’s a no brainer. It goes to the election to determine Bryan County’s next sheriff, who will take over for Bryan County’s current sheriff, who’s been in office since Gunsmoke was in its first run and Festus only looked like he was raised in trees by wombat-squirrels.
Qualifying may be months away, but half the sheriff’s department as well as some folks from other departments are out there festooning the highways and byways with billboards and yard sale signs – which are also known as voter bait.
Candidate A: “I bet if I put up a sign saying vote for me somebody will actually be dumb enough to try it. (Hammers sign in at the corner of what was once a perfectly good intersection).”
Candidate B, upon driving by Candidate A’s sign: “Hey! He got a sign! If he’s got a sign I got to have a sign. I need two signs!”
And so it goes. Before you know it, signs sprout up all over the rights of way and in people’s yards and stay there until spring when they fall over. Then a lawnmower hits them and somebody calls the sheriff’s department about it.
As an aside, sheriff races are usually pretty entertaining, though they can be somewhat strange. One of the first times I ever got took for a ride as a reporter was during a sheriff’s race back in 1996 or so. I lived to tell about it. And at least they’re not boring. A recent survey that wound up in my email inbox - where many stories go to die - said more than one in three Georgians are suffering from voter fatigue. That evidently means two thirds of people currently identifying as Georgians, AKA about half of Ohio, a chunk of Pennsylvania and several feet of New Jersey and the left quadrant of Michigan, actually enjoy politics. Maybe 100 percent of them are on Facebook sites right now, complaining about their neighbor having too many cars in his driveway and nobody on the city council caring enough to do anything about it before hockey season starts.
Back to the sheriff’s race. My money’s on the one with both his real ears. Remember I wrote that after the election. And try to figure out which one, if any, is wearing the prosthetic ears.
Now watch me get pulled over next year and find out the new sheriff had to get replacement ears after he sneezed his off as during an Eagle Scout project. “You think that’s funny,
Bryan’s Bestest Dumb News Story of the Year: I got to say it was when somebody in Richmond Hill got mad enough at somebody else in Richmond Hill to sue them over their dog getting in a fight with their dog, or something like that. It’s not dumb that they got mad enough to sue, although maybe that’s a part of it, but it it’s that somebody covered it. Also, I’m actually kind of fuzzy on the details about all this, so sue me (just kidding) if I’m wrong, but it reminds me in a way of those TV news stories they’ll do every once in a while when somebody who moves into a house on a dirt road gets mad when it rains. He gets stuck in the mud and calls up crusading journalists everywhere to complain about the county government because it won’t pave his road and before you know it we’re talking misplaced funds and all sorts of stuff. “There I was, awash in this horrible mud that had swallowed up my cat, Cecilia” he’d say, scratching an armpit and squinting at the camera from behind eyebrows that looked like caterpillars about to molt. “Just look at all that mud out yonder. County ought to know better than to let that kinda mud get all over our roads and such. I pay my taxes. Say, you want a grape jelly sandwich and some Vienner sausages and hear about the time I found bigfoot?”
Bryan’s Bestest place to be stuck in traffic and be scared you-know-whatless: That would be on I-95 where it runs you into Highway 17 or Highway 144, take your pick. Both are overwhelmed by rush hour traffic brought about by decades of quality controlled Grade A plus growth that lured about 50 million new residents and their cars and schoolkids into a place that didn’t even have a Target or a Chick-fil-A yet. I don’t know what in the heck were they thinking, waving all that vinyl siding around to lure people down here. We need to get a handle on this traffic before it gets out of hand.
Anyway, both I-95 spots will make you reach your pucker factor if you sit at a dead stop in the slow lane long enough waiting on that big semi doing 80 mph and unaware of what lies ahead to come rolling up your tailpipe and send you to meet Henry Ford for real.
They’re fixing to add a third exit to I-95 in Richmond Hill, and if I’m still around in 2030 we’ll probably be able to ad that one to the list of Bryan’s Bestest list of fun places at which to sit stalled in traffic for the summer.
Runner up: The intersection at 144 and 17 when you must take a left turn. Sometimes those green arrows will stay green for 10 minutes. This usually happens if you’re not in need of a left hand turn. Then there are times when two or three cars will get through before the green arrows turn red and you have to wait about 19 minutes for the light to cycle back around again.
I have tried to figure out how many years of my life I’ve spent stuck at that blighted intersection, usually behind somebody with an Ohio State license plate frame. I keep coming up empty.
But I bet f I got a nickel a minute for it I could afford to buy myself a treehouse to move into so I could commune with Festus and his wombat-squirrels.