Being a reporter, I feel obligated to report the facts. So in case you didn’t know it, Monday is Christmas.
That means Sunday is Christmas Eve, and Saturday is the day before Christmas Eve, and today, well, today is Thursday (actually, it’s Wednesday, but I had to write it the day before to make sure it got in today’s issue).
Now that I’ve cleared that up, welcome to the Pembroke Mafia Football League’s annual Thursday-before-Christmas column. Glad to see you and hope you’re not waiting to the last minute to start Christmas shopping because it’s getting weird out there and people are rioting over Cabbage Patch Dolls.
Wait, that was in 1983. That’s the year Pembroke Mafia member Noah "Twinkletoes" Covington became the first Bryan County High School ninth grader to earn a starring role in the school musical. He played Doody in the BCHS production of "Grease" after he agreed to shave off his mustaches.
Now, I’ve got some crow to eat.
This crow comes courtesy Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter "That’s right" Infinger.
Infinger, as you may know, is a big South Carolina Gamecocks fan. Like me, he’s not happy Clemson won again this year. Nor is he happy they’re in the College Football Playoff.
Carter dislikes Clemson almost as strongly as I do, and I definitely do not like Clemson even though my grandfather’s house was only six miles from Death Valley Stadium and by geography I should therefore have become a brainwashed Clemson Tiger with no more sense than a, well, Clemson Tiger.
What’s more, my sister went to Clemson and got turned into a hippie.
But I digress. Carter may not like Clemson, but he is happy that I predicted an impact fee ordinance would never ever pass in Bryan County, because one just did. In other words, you-know-where is freezing over and pigs are flying around like hummingbirds. And I am happily eating crow wings, because the impact fee is a good thing.
And, as some local officials are apt to point out, this is proof they’re being proactive and staying ahead of this growth vs. infrastructure curve thing.
If you doubt, you will probably have plenty of time to reflect on the wisdom and foresight of your local officials as you’re sitting in backed-up, jacked-up traffic on Highway 144 by Krogers for half an hour - during which time another 3,000 people from Ohio will have moved into South Bryan and discovered they need to go to the store.
Ah well. Our elected officials will fix it. It’s why you elected them.
Some ask me why there is such a thing as the Pembroke Mafia Football League, and the honest answer is I don’t know. It was all B.J. Clark’s idea, many moons ago.
B.J., who along with Ernie Mitchell is retired Navy, and both are big deals at the Pembroke American Legion, said several years ago he wanted me to do a football picks column.
One thing led to another, bless my heart, but the one thing that has remained true all this years is that B.J. is the brains behind this thing. He tells me what to write and I write it. Those nicknames, they’re all from B.J., even his own "Bandicoot Butt Burl the 16 foot tall Squirrel" moniker he’s so proud of he had it tattooed on his pet Pomeranian.
This PMFL wouldn’t work, however, without the Mafia members themselves. There’s Noah Covington, our District 1 county commissioner and the future governor of the great state of Georgia.
Also known fondly as the King of North Bryan, Covington is currently busy trying to figure out a way to get into the Oklahoma football team’s locker room to rub some icy hot on the Sooners’ collective jockstrap. We need that kind of leadership in Atlanta, I’m telling you.
And there’s the aforementioned Ernie "Navy Smurf" Mitchell, who sometimes wanders around Pembroke with a loaded water pistol in his pocket, so watch out. He may look harmless, but he has been known to bite if he hasn’t had his elevenses by 11:30.
Then there’s Anna Chafin, who is head of the Development Authority of Bryan County. She’s easily the most powerful woman in Bryan County and could crush me like a grape, yet apparently chooses to let me live. I say "apparently" because A), anytime the media goes anywhere near Anna and the DABC they go into executive session, so nobody knows anything for sure, and B) I’m still alive, apparently.
Then there’s none other than Pembroke Downtown Development Authority Director Alex Floyd, who I hear is likely on his way to higher office. Floyd, who wears brightly colored suspenders and enjoys nothing better than a good long nap at his desk to reruns of "HeeHaw," recently sent me a Christmas card which showed he’s looking to advance his political career. In fact, when my wife opened the card she said, "is he some politician," and I had to explain he was a member of the PMFL and a personal acquaintance.
I can’t blame her for the mistake, though. It was one of those cool homemade Christmas cards where they write to tell you all that’s happened to them this year. You know how they go.
"Hi from us, everyone’s had a wonderful year. Walter got voted best looking, funniest and most important at corporate for the third year in a row and Marci is so lucky to have earned enough in commissions from her award pottery and real estate practice for the family to afford a third home in the Bahamas! Dear Rocky is making all As in advanced nuclear chemistry at the Mercedes Academy for Important Youngsters and Elsbeth is being recruited by Yale. They came to her Upscale Acres Montessori pre-K and were just blown away with her crayon essay on ‘why I prefer paper nappies to cloth ones.’ And that was just in January. In February ….’"
And then there’s Trey Robertson. Trey, who is what is widely known in some circles as a ginger and thus likes to be called "Dashing Prince Harry of Black Creek," is assistant superintendent for plans and operations at Bryan County Schools.
He’s also the district-wide athletic director, which means he gets to pump up the inflatable tunnel the high school teams run through before football games. Sometimes, they even let him let the air out. Trey, I mean Dashing Prince Harry, gets such a kick out of the noise it makes he goes around for days making that same noise. And then there are Mike Clark and Mark Rogerson, both of whom are what in Pembroke Mafia circles are known as "made men," even though Mike likes country-rapper Cole Bryan’s so-called music and Mark, who still isn’t old enough to drive, listens to that purple dinosaur stuff. But still, be careful in their presence. They’re Georgia Southern fans. You know how they get.
Finally, there’s Bryan County News Assistant Editor Ted O’Neil. Ready Teddy is a Michigan State man and, at 6-foot-18, the tallest man in our office. He’s also almost the only man in our office these days - newspapering being a tough business.
Then, there’s me. The dude who writes down what BJ tells him.
Next week, we’ll get back to sports. This week, we in the PMFL just want to wish all of you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. And, remember the reason for the season, drive safe, be nice to animals, kids and us old people and vote for Noah for governor.