Small Towns Are Fine as Long as You Wear Underwear and Stay Out of the Newspaper

By Emory Jones

I love living in a small town. In fact, the only drawback I’ve found to it is that small town newspapers sometimes print things that hit a little close to home, especially The Blotter.

In case you don’t live in a small town, The Blotter is where they print the local arrests and such. Naturally, The Blotter is the first thing people read. They don’t mention names in The Blotter, but in a small town, they don’t have to, and so, a recent blotter item about my cousin, liked to have killed his mama when she read it.

It was short. It just said that, out on the main highway, a deputy pulled a citizen over for driving a car down the road without a tire on one of the wheels. As part of the field sobriety evaluation, the deputy made the citizen jump up and down on one foot, which caused the man’s pants to fall down. Everybody knew it was Wayne because he’s the only one in town who goes around without a belt or suspenders. That’s his signature.

Wayne’s mama asked me to visit him in jail so he could explain what really happened. Just as she suspected, Wayne said the whole affair was just a misunderstanding. You see, like a lot of people, my cousin fell on hard times after the zipper plant closed back in the ‘90s. Adversity hit again when a thief recently stole all four tires off his prized 1966 four-door Ford Fairlane.

Without funds to hire a roll-back, Wayne thought his best bet was to get the car to the outlet mall where he had a coupon for re-treads at Tony’s Tire Barn and Tavern. So, being an innovative sort, Wayne took three tires out of his wife, Ruby’s, flower bed, along with one he’d tossed on the house to hold down a piece of flopping tin, and installed them on the Fairlane.

Everything went well until he turned on the paved road, and the roof-tire blew completely off the rim. Wayne was trying to maneuver the Fairlane to the side of the road when the deputy happened along.

An important element of this story is that Wayne has long been overweight due to a thyroid condition that causes him to crave Twinkies. His mama has the same thing. But, this year, Wayne took advantage of one of those post-Christmas weight-loss specials on television and has dropped 47 pounds since January. The whole family is proud of him.

Jumping up and down on one foot, combined with his recent weight loss, quite naturally made his pants fall—that’s just gravity at work. Another problem was that since none of Wayne’s underwear fit anymore, he wasn’t wearing any. The Blotter printed that, too.

The reason the deputy smelled alcohol on my cousin’s breath because, with the afternoon being warm, Wayne split a mango wine cooler with Ruby right after they got the tires put on the Fairlane. (His weight-reduction plan allows one-half a wine cooler per week.) Still, after several months on the program, even half a wine cooler can hit a man pretty hard.

Anyway, Wayne wanted me point out to his mama that the mere fact he was able to jump up and down on one foot long enough for his pants to fall proves he wasn’t drunk.

Wayne’s mama bought the story and eventually provided bail money. And, in the end, that’s all that matters, but the moral is that if you live in a small town, always keep good tires on your car and extra underwear in the trunk.

Tales from the Hills-EmoryJones

Emory Jones grew up in White County and is known for his humor, love of history, and love of all Southern. Currently, Emory lives on Yonah Mountain near his hometown of Cleveland, Georgia. In addition to articles and newspaper columns, he has written three books. His latest book is an “entertaining history book” called Zipping Through Georgia on a Goat Powered Time Machine. He and his wife own Yonah Mountain Treasures, on Hwy 75 near Cleveland and Helen. Visit them at