August 6, 1964
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Main Street, Hollyhill.
Boring! Boring! Bo-o-oring! I guess you can guess where I am. No, not school. That’s not for a few more weeks and usually not so awful boring until at least the middle of September. That is, if you don’t have Mr. Smith for history. Then it’s boring from the second you slide into your desk in his room. That man could make the Battle of the Alamo boring. You walk in his room and it’s like all the life has been sucked out of the air. Dry names and dates are all that’s left. Dad says history is exciting. I tell him to tell Mr. Smith that.
Dad also says history is in the making where I am right now. At the courthouse at the magistrates’ meeting. Holly County history. Not exactly anything that’s going to make the history books, but once a week, these men from all around Holly County get together with the judge and decide who gets first crack at the tax money. They spend a lot of time arguing about which roads have the worst potholes. Yawn!
The meetings are open to the public, but the public would rather stay home and go to sleep in their own chairs instead of these hard old chairs in the courtroom. So only a half dozen people show up who don’t have to be there. Dad has to be there to write it all down in the paper and put more people to sleep reading about it. I’m the only kid. It’s not exactly a place you’re going to find the in crowd from school. Vanessa wouldn’t be caught dead here – even if her father is one of the magistrates. But the thing is, she has a mother at home instead of a crazy old Aunt Love who wants a certain kid out of her hair as much as possible. So here I am – stuck in this hot old courtroom with dust motes floating in the air.
Don’t get me wrong. I like being with Dad, but that doesn’t keep me from needing toothpicks to prop open my eyes as Judge Goodman drones on and on about how the county only has so much money and they need to figure out a way to divide it fairly among the districts to fill up those potholes. I want to stand up and say who cares about potholes. Why don’t they talk about spending the money on something everybody can enjoy like a park with new baseball fields? Dad would tell me I’m at the wrong meeting. That’s the City Council. Double yawn! I’ll probably have to go to that meeting next week.
But then when the meeting finally breaks up after nobody decided anything, I look around and who’s there in the back row but Mr. Whitlow himself. Whatever is he doing here? He doesn’t even own property in Holly County. Or does he? He must have sneaked into the courtroom the way he sneaked back into town last week.
He hasn’t come around the newspaper office yet to see Zella. Might be safer for him that way. She’s been going around looking like she’s sucking on a lemon. Wes says we’ll be smart to keep our distance from her for a while. Maybe forever! But somebody is sure to tell her Mr. Whitlow’s back in town. What is that man up to? If even Zella couldn’t find out, then I’m not sure anybody can.
Did you ever go to a meeting of your local government? Bet if you did, you were hiding some yawns too. Or maybe you were one of the elected officials in your town. If so, I’m sure you weren’t as boring as our Holly County guys.