Mr. Shorty done crashed the party

Published 10:41 pm Monday, December 14, 2009

We have all known people who are so nice, well liked and have super personalities but will have a secret that comes out now and then. Fortunately, this situation happens only once a year or so.

I had known these folks for a few years after coming to Lake Mitchell, and I was truly shocked when the wife called me one day and wanted me to go look for her husband. She volunteered, “He’s drunk!” I explained that if I found him operating a boat and he was drunk, he was going to jail.”Oh no, we used to have a nice fellow here that would go find him and bring him to me.” “New Sheriff in town,” I said under my breath.I began to hear the stories. Wow! My friend James Spiegner was always telling me about him “crashing the parties” where he worked.

Now this fellow had a charming personality. Back in the days when the sheriff had a “posse”—several teams throughout the counties wore uniforms and all—Shorty was captain of his group and would ride with me some at night so I wouldn’t have to be alone.

Not long after that, my friend and sheriff called me and asked me if I would go down and arrest him because he was lying on his pier, supposedly intoxicated. “No way, my friend. If he gets in a boat, he’s mine. Otherwise, he is yours!”He had told me that he took his card, but the uniform belonged to the “captain.” I went by to see my buddy, the sheriff, and he was furious. He had learned the captain still had a card. He was saying, “I want his card in my hand, and I want him charged with impersonating an officer.” This situation went on for years and was an embarrassment for some. They were good folks, but he really had a monkey on his back.

During one of the “dry” spells, I noticed he was building an addition to the business, and it was built like a fortress. He said his wife wanted it strong for a storage house. I asked her about it, and she smiled and said, “Next time someone brings him home like that, he goes in there!” A handy on-site jail, I thought.

Now, AlaGa Lodge was only a short distance away, and these good folks were always poormouthing them. There seemed to be a vicious rumor that folks were drinking over there.

My friend James, who was care-taker of the lodge and was also in charge of entertaining these out-of-town officials of the food industry that would be guest there, told me of several times that Mr. Shorty would come over and crash their party and make himself at home, really putting him on the spot.

One Sunday morning, I saw James, and he was frantically waving at me from the boathouse that was part of the lodge—with his arms full of liquor, running around locking everything up. “Mr. Shorty is out. He crashed the party last night—yes sir, this time he took over the poker game and won all their money. Mr. Franks is mad and wants everything locked up!”

This time, James Earl had the pleasure of looking for him. You must get him to tell you the details—he did tell me. “No problem; just followed Shorty’s dog right up to those steps. Sat there wagging his tail!”So much for “a man’s best friend.”