The War on Lake Mitchell continues

Published 8:37 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What happened to all the “good ol’ boys” that I knew? These were some good, decent folks becoming a mob! They didn’t want to hear anything else from me. But my worry was with the other side—one shot was all we needed!

It was time to get my children out of this ugly situation. I uttered something about the Christmas spirit. My friend and Sheriff T.J. Lockhart knew my situation and had a little talk with me; he told me he knew how hard I had worked to help get a peaceful end to this thing and told me straight up, “Take some Christmas leave; get yourself and those children out of this mess for a while.”

I took him up on half of it. For the first time, I actually looked for Christmas parties and took the children to visit relatives, but they wanted to come back home and wanted an answer as to why everybody was so mad.

It was like something out of the movies. Now everybody was getting involved, people who had never fished before were coming from town to get in on the excitement and encourage violence. One night, everyone showed up, as it was a called meeting, with shotguns. Someone even brought an old flatbed truck for a “stage.” Taking turns, they would get up and say how they were going to run these people off. These were the same people we had known and loved, and now they were using words like “burn, shoot, kill.” They were getting out of control.

At this crucial point, one person deserves credit for defusing this situation: Mr. George Walker. He stepped on back of a truck, somehow got their attention and persuaded them to take their guns and go home. There is no doubt something very bad could have happened that night!

Was it over? Looking out the next morning, the sun was shinning on the spot only 200 feet from the children’s bedroom that could have very easily have been a battleground, but the parking lot was empty.

An old pickup truck towing an even older boat pulled up and introduced themselves. They were from Demopolis and said they had heard the lake was opened and would it be OK if they put their nets in? Oh no! The old gentleman said if the information they got was wrong, they would just go back. Were they testing me? Should I tell them no? What about the mob?

The best I could come up with was, “It is very unpopular. There is a bunch out there, but they are over in Coosa County.” “Oh no,” he said, “we are not part of that group, we just want to fish, but if you say no.” “I’m not saying no; it’s just unpopular.”

Seemed strange to me. I told them if they wanted to put their nets out, I would watch them. They returned that afternoon, smiling with appreciation. Could not help but wait for them to return safely the next day and take their nets out—they were so nice.

I have always asked myself if I did the right thing. The next day we were to learn the worst!

To be continued…