YARBROUGH COLUMN: Talking politics with Skeeter Skates and the Ryo Morning Coffee Club

Published 5:51 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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It had been awhile since I heard from Skeeter Skates and his colleagues at the Ryo Morning Coffee Club. That ended this week.

In case you are new to these parts, Skeeter is the owner and operator of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Ryo, Georgia. He is also the current presiding chair of the Ryo Morning Coffee Club, a collection of Great Americans that includes Walleye, who runs the bait shop over in Red Bud; Booger Bledsoe, who operates a local roadside vegetable stand on State Route 136 near Sugar Valley; and Uncle Coot, recently retired from the port-o-potty transportation industry and an olfactory challenge to the group who are careful to always seat him downwind at coffee.

Skeeter and I have a somewhat tenuous relationship. He thinks that unless one has grease under their fingernails, they are not contributing members of American society, and that includes those of us who represent the Fourth Estate. I have given up trying to convince him that distinguishing between gerunds and present participles is also hard work, even if it doesn’t produce grease under ones fingernails – just comments from readers wondering if I flunked high school English.

Skeeter disdains politics and those who practice it. And that is what precipitates his calls, hoping I will make some sense of what seems nonsense to him and the others.

“Hoss,” – never a preamble with the man, he gets right to the point – “me and the boys was talking a little politics this morning and we immediately thought of you ‘cause you seem to know as little about politics as anybody.” He loves saying that.

“Anyhow, you run around in different circles than we do and we thought you might be able to clear up something for us,” Skeeter said. “We are too busy doing an honest day’s labor to pay much attention to what goes on beyond Ryo’s borders, but we got something bugging us that we wanted to see if you could help us understand.” Wow. Talk about pressure. They seem to infer I might know something they don’t. That would be a first.

“We was wondering if anybody is minding the store up there in Washington,” he said. “That ol’ boy what’s supposed to be running the country looks about half asleep. Walleye thinks he wears those sunglasses all the time so we can’t see him dozing off.” I must admit he does wear those sunglasses quite a bit.

“What’s got us bumfuzzled is them folks in Washington don’t seem to be worried about us hard-working folks,” Skeeter added. “They ought to own a business like me and Walleye and Booger. Course, Uncle Coot didn’t own a business but he did transport port-o-potties to and from businesses that could not avail themselves of indoor plumbing, so he has a good idea of the pressures American businesses face.”

Walleye’s cost of doing business has gone up and has put him in a squeeze. “Nightcrawlers are now $5 a dozen,” he informed me. “And a chum bucket can run you as much as $12. Even wax worms are getting expensive.” The things I learn from the Ryo Morning Coffee Club.

Booger Bledsoe said inflations was hitting him hard, too. Not only was he going to have to charge more for his tomatoes and cucumbers, he wasn’t sure folks would be able to drive to his roadside vegetable stand over on State Route 136 near Sugar Valley anyway because a gallon of gasoline today costs about as much as a dozen nightcrawlers.

“Hoss, that ol’ boy in charge up there in Washington don’t seem like he’s got a good handle on things,” Skeeter said. “The economy is in a mess. Folks are coming across the border like we ain’t got one. Who knows if there ain’t a terrorist or two in the crowd? He keeps adding on things that cost us more money than we got. But, then he finds time to issue an order letting boys that turn into girls play girls sports. In the first place, it’s pretty clear he ain’t focused on the important stuff and, second, this ain’t fair to the real girls. Can you explain any of this to us and any readers you got left?”

Alas, I had to confess that I really don’t have any answers. They have pretty much summed up how a lot of us feel in this country right now. Frankly, I am just as bumfuzzled as they are.