• 88°

Look out, here he comes again!

It was a busy afternoon as I was heading south, surprised to see Uncle Marion Easterling as he had been real sick. Anyway, he was waving his old “pit” helmet—surely something was wrong. He was excited, as he was just almost run over by another boat!

While he was giving me a description, he shouted, “Look out, Bill, here he comes again!” We were lucky there was just enough space between us for him to pass. We both recognized him as he had his head down, bobbing and looking nowhere in particular. How he missed both of us, I’ll never know.

I fell in behind him, blue light still flashing, but he didn’t go into Walnut Creek but veered back towards the “Coosa side.” I came alongside, but he never acknowledged me, instead heading for “Goat Island.” Suddenly, crash! He hit the high bank, still wide open! I feared he was injured, and his boat was sinking from the rear.

The bow of the very old (even then), two passenger (if they sat real close) “run-a-bout” was crushed, and my operator was passed out. He had on what appeared to be undershorts, no shoes but high black socks.

These were the days of no communication except fire towers and few deputies, especially in Coosa County, but the lady said she would get me a deputy down to Barrett’s Camp.

I put my passenger in my boat—back then we didn’t have a passenger seat but a couch! I wanted to keep him comfortable as long as I could. He slept, but the deputy didn’t show. For two hours, I rode this cat around as I could and not wake him! After a while, he would ask something intelligent like, “uh where…” “You’re fine,” I would assure him as I adjusted his life preserver pillow.

What a sight it must have been as I pretended to do my patrol and explain to everybody why I’m riding a drunk around in my boat! “Shhh, not so loud. You’ll wake him up!”

After another hour or so, we were able to get him in Coosa County jail. I called the next day to check on him (we kinda got close). They told me he was fine. After he slept awhile, he put up $500 cash bond and was released!

Cash bond? I wondered where he kept that kind of money—in those black socks?