Thomasville Times

Others may not agree with me on my opinion

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The older I get, the more I find I enjoy living in a rural setting. This past weekend I had an out of town visitor. The weather was warm and pretty so we decided to go on a picnic. We decided on Campbell’s Landing. It is the closest river access around here. Now it is owned by the City of Thomasville by some weird quirk of luck. It is my favorite place on the Tombigbee River to relax and picnic. We packed a lunch and a sack of books and magazines. We drove down to the river one way and came home another which made for a scenic drive. My friend lives near the beach, so the hills of our area were a marvel compared to the flat lands around there. Spring was just beginning to show her head. The redbuds were blooming which is one of our first signs of spring’s coming. It was fun to point them out as we wove up and down the hilly terrain.

When we got near the river, we noticed that some of the river accesses were underwater including the one to the main access ramp to the water. It didn’t bother us too much since we hadn’t brought a boat and intended to head for the picnic tables that ae perched high up on a bluff overlooking the river. We noticed that the water was about halfway up the trees that stood on the sand just below the bluff. On the day we went, the sand was covered by the water. It looked like we were sitting near the water’s edge.

There was a good bit of traffic coming by us as we sat reading at the picnic table. There would be one car with one driver coming by and then in 15 minutes or so, another car with another driver would come by. There was a good bit of traffic for a lazy weekday. We began to sense there was a pattern going on here. It didn’t scare us but I did decide I didn’t want to come down here by myself. Every now and then there would be a car with a couple in it but mostly it was one car, one driver. I can see some of you beginning to think this was a bit unusual to be happening on a Friday morning when the weekend had not started yet. Being the Front Porch Philosopher, I began to ponder what this was all about. What was the attraction? Nobody was getting out for a picnic. They just rode down, stayed a minute and turned around. We didn’t look to see what they were doing. We were engrossed in the reading material we had brought along, I was reading a Rouse grocery store magazine that my guest had picked up on a trip to the grocery store where they give them out every two months to their customers. The article I was reading was about the origins of the South’s most favorite cakes – where they were first made and how they got their names. My friend was absorbed in a book. We are slow to catch on, anyway, to what might be going on.

In a little while, a big black double cab pickup pulled up beside us and let his window down. I asked him who he was and then he asked me the same. He was from Nanafalia just up the road a few miles. He said he had just come to see if the river had gone down any. It still seemed pretty high to me. He said it had gone down quite a bit from a week or two before. I remarked on all the traffic that seemed to be going by in such a remote place. He said they were only coming by us since the other road was covered with water. He opined that there might be a reason for the traffic in the remote spot on a weekday. It might have something to do with substances being exchanged.

There is no local law enforcement who makes regular runs through the area, so the this would be a good spot to make drops. I hated to hear that. This is such a lovely peaceful spot for a picnic that I don’t want it spoiled by illicit activity. However, I have seen actual drug drops much closer to home. It has been several years back. It happened under another police chief’s administration but it happened. Once was out at an old cemetery where I had taken a visiting historical photographer to make pictures of the graves. This was just on the edge of town. There was a road that ran behind the cemetery. I saw a pickup and car stop together and one gave the other what looked like a cigar box. I looked at them and they looked at me. I thought I recognized them so I waved and they waved. It pays to be neighborly in unusual circumstances. I never mentioned it to the photographer who was happily snapping pictures of the graves. Some things just don’t need to be mentioned.

The other incident happened one Monday morning as I was having a tourism staff meeting on my front porch. I saw another hand-to-hand exchange at the stop sign right in front of us. As I said before, this was several years back. Maybe now those exchanging parcels go a little farther to do their business. With the price of gas going up, this will cut into their profits. If these are minor drugs, I think they should be made legal and taxed like liquor is. The state and municipalities would make a lot more money that way. Look at what the sales taxes on liquor has done for us locally. I say let’s look at this a little different. We would come a lot nearer putting them out of business altogether if we just made marijuana a regulated substance. If we taxed it high, all the citizens would benefit. We never catch the people in charge, we just get the smalltime criminals, put them in jail where they learn new tricks from each other and release them in a while to do more damage.

This is prohibition for marijuana just like it was prohibition for liquor during the Roaring ‘20s. I am sure a lot of you don’t agree with me but this is just my opinion. Let’s both pray about it and see what happened. People who don’t agree with each other should pray. In the end, God decides. I am sure the politicians will grandstand on the issue of legalization but when the money gets low in the state coffers, they may reconsider.

Of course, they could have passed the lottery before every state around us got one, so they may not legalize marijuana for many years. Since I don’t use marijuana, I won’t be able to tell the difference when it does pass except that maybe I can go on a picnic on a Friday without a lot of traffic coming through. I know you are thinking what about hard drugs? I say if they get caught with drugs after marijuana becomes legal, burn ‘em! I still say get the ones in charge and burn them extra crispy! Of course, I remember my daddy saying that no matter who was sheriff, the same bootleggers still continued to operate. Sheriffs went in to go good and always came out doing well. Nowadays, sheriffs have to be more creative to profit and seem to get caught more regularly. Bootleggers that are left can barely make a living. During prohibition, apparently, nobody who wanted a drink did without.

I remember one person who was a friend of the family was pointed out to me as having a grandfather who served time for bootlegging. He was caught for tax evasion which would be the way to catch dealers if the goods were taxed.

All I wanted to do was have a nice picnic by the river. I didn’t want to ponder weighty philosophical questions.

I am so naïve that somebody would have to practically be in my face for me to notice anything unusual going on. If the guy from up the road hadn’t brought it to my attention, I wouldn’t have even thought anything about it.

I would have enjoyed my ham, swiss, onion and pumpernickel sandwich without thought to anything but where the first red velvet cake came from. Instead, I got off on this tanget about legalizing marijuana. I hope nobody shoots me, but I would be thrilled to have you pray for me. That never hurts anybody’s spiritual growth. Let’s think about the good things like picnics and food and leave it at that.

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