Not many individuals have my cell phone number. The call either had to be from Marietta Mayor Thunder Tumlin after me again to build an 8,000-square-foot wedding hall on South Marietta Parkway near Interstate 75, which is and has been a long-cherished dream of his, or it was Jack and Jill, my favorite mules calling me from Montana or Canada. I get those two places mixed up.
It was Jack and Jill.
By now, you know the story of Jack and Jill. The two mules were purchased with a great deal of pomp and circumstance by Cobb County in August 2009 for $7,800 and were to be used for educational programs at Hyde Farm, but the program tanked because the county never came up with the $3 million for necessary renovations to the farm, which included tearing down two outhouses.
Despite the fact that the county commission had voted to bring the mules here against their will from Alabama, everybody suddenly got a case of amnesia and nobody wanted to take responsibility for the decision. The mules were subsequently sold for $3,400 and banished from the county. It was not one of Cobb County’s finest hours.
When I got on the phone, I could tell Jill had been crying. I asked her what was wrong, wondering if she was having the post-holiday letdowns that can affect us all, even mules. Jill said she was crying tears of joy.
She told me she had just read in the MDJ that for the first time ever, the Cobb County Commission will be majority female. Commissioners Helen Goreham and JoAnn Birrell will be joined by newly-elected commissioner Lisa Cupid, who handily defeated incumbent Woody Thompson in November. That leaves Chairman Tim Lee and Commissioner Bob Ott as the token males on the five-member commission.
Jill said having women in the majority is a tremendous step forward for the county. I could hear Jack braying something in the background but Jill told me to ignore him. Her brother, she said, is a sexist pig. I thought that was an odd thing to say about another mule.
Jill says she wonders what might have happened had women been in the majority when she and Jack went through the humiliation of being transported out of Cobb County like a couple of common criminals. Women, she said, would have figured out a way to make the Hyde Farm project work. She said women tend to think through difficult issues carefully and then arrive at workable solutions. Not so with men. She believes men have the intellectual makeup of a shovel.
I reminded her that Commissioner Goreham had been one of the commissioners who had voted to sell her and her brother. Jill says she knows that but that Ms. Goreham was coerced into voting with the crowd and was just biding her time until a new female majority took over. I am not sure where she got her information. I don’t think anybody can coerce Helen Goreham to do anything she doesn’t want to do but I long ago learned not to argue with mules.
They can be very stubborn.
Jack got on the phone and asked if the outhouses were ever torn down at Hyde Farm. I told him I wasn’t sure but I didn’t think so. I heard the library system had turned them into reading rooms. There is even some thought of installing Wi-Fi.
Jack said that reminded him of a story when they were living in Alabama. He said a farmer asked his son if he had pushed their outhouse into the creek earlier that day. The boy answered yes and his daddy whipped him. When it was over the son said, “Dad, George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and didn’t get into trouble because he told the truth.” The dad replied, “George Washington’s father wasn’t sitting in that cherry tree.”
I don’t believe I ever heard a mule laugh so hard. Frankly, I didn’t think it was all that funny. I’m not a big fan of outhouse humor, but I let Jack enjoy his joke. He has been through a lot.
Jill got back on the phone and said she wanted to wish you all a happy New Year and that she would be rooting for the new majority on the Cobb County Commission. I told her that a lot of us would.
With that, she signed off.
They can be a little weird, but I always enjoy hearing from Jack and Jill.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.