Bob Scott – Franklin Mayor
We knew she was old – she never would tell us her age. We couldn’t figure out how to find out.
“Well we can cut her in half and count the rings,” said one of Franklin’s sages, not noted for his charm or finesse.
Franklin is, well, Franklin. We have uncommon ways of saying and doing things. That’s what makes us special.
I remember when workers were digging the footings for the new courthouse. Wiley was a tall, gangly fellow, who had the same physique as Abraham Lincoln. Wiley came by every day to check on the progress the workmen were making.
“What’cha doing?” Wiley asked.
“We’re digging holes,” said a workman – who stopped, very agitated, leaning on his shovel.
“What for,” Wiley asked.
“We’re gonna bury every scoundrel in Macon County in this hole,” the workman said.
Wiley thought for a second or two, “Well, who’s gonna cover ‘em up?”
We don’t like to be talked down to.
The “Fox Fire” books, published in Rabun County, became a New York Times best seller. There was a story about how people here in the mountains still talk in Shakespearian, Olde English. A reader drove here from down south in the early days of winter, pulled into a service station, and asked the attendant, “where can I find all these people who talk so funny.”
The boy wiped his hand on a red oily shop rag, and said, “they ain’t here now.”
“What do you mean they are not here,” the visitor said.
“Well, mister, it’s like this, they go back to Florida at first frost.”
We also know how to put big shots in their place.
A cigar smoker pulled up to the same service station driving a Rolls Royce Phantom. It was obvious he was not ashamed to show off his wealth. The same attendant came out wiping his hands with the red shop cloth. He looked that Rolls Royce over and said, “Mister, that’s the cleanest ’46 Packard I’ve seen in years.” Talk about a put down?
Here in Franklin we have ways to describe things you won’t find in a city. For example, “Why does the chicken cross the road? To show the possum it can be done.”
I overheard someone in Bojangles describing something, as “like two cats smacking eating fat back.” I have no idea what they were talking about but it was descriptive.
Years ago, we used to see sights we no longer see. Every deer season when someone shot a deer, they strapped it across the hood of their car, drove down Franklin’s Main Street honking their horn. The local papers ran photos of someone holding up the latest killed rattlesnake. Or copperheads, if more than one killed. The most popular radio program was the obituaries on the air at noon. One day the announcer said, “we regret there were no deaths today.”
You could buy a “Grit” weekly newspaper, popular in rural areas, from a seller on Main Street, who carried them in a sack slung over his shoulder. I think they were 5 cents.
If you were not watchful, your neighbors would slip up on your porch at night and leave zucchini.
Folks used to go to South Carolina, buy peaches, and sell them door-to-door.
We had parking meters on Main Street. If you were going to be gone for too long, you left a few coins on your windshield wiper and the police would deposit them for you so you would not get a ticket.
On Saturdays, street preachers took over the town square. They did not need an amplifier.
I miss those days.
Bob Scott is a writer and photographer.