• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - How to blow up a meeting

I know what you're thinking, based on the headline: "Finally, something useful on page two." To that, I say, "Thank you," and "You are correct, sir or ma'am." However, the events that occurred on Friday afternoon, Sept. 15 were not intended to change the lives of Woodford Sun employees, Dear Readers or even to merely fill a column. Perhaps I was channeling Jim Morrison, who once admitted of a certain incident in Miami, "Let's just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was curious to see what would happen. That's all it was: just curiosity." The meeting was going as it normally does. Publisher Whit Chandler - one of my favorite people, and not just because he signs my paychecks - had suggested that an issue devoted to Woodford County history would be a winner. (I happen to agree - and not just because Whit signs my paychecks.) Having been to the Woodford County Historical Society a time or two, I suggested the Rose Hill Avenue institution would be a great source of photos from the past. However ... However ... I said I'd noticed something when I sorted through old photographs: A clown who popped up in pictures every 27 years or so. I explained that he'd also been seen in storm drains, sometimes with a balloon or two in hand. (Henceforth, most names will be withheld so as to avoid embarrassment, firings or both.) After 30 seconds or so, at least one person was on to my tall tale - the transplanting of Pennywise, the demonic clown in the new movie, "It," to real-life Versailles. I hadn't even seen the movie, but had already creeped out a dear friend by texting a picture of Pennywise. Everyone else seemed sucked in, though - like rain into a storm drain. "What was that clown's name?" one attendee asked. "Pennywise," I replied. The rest of the crew was still getting up to speed on the reality vs. myth thing, and I began to fear that I would have to write a story for this week's paper about the long-lived clown. So I 'fessed up - but the meeting continued its merry way downhill, like rain down a ... Talk turned to scary movies, and how, after seeing "It," an adult relative of one employee chose to keep a few extra lights on at bedtime. "Jaws" was cited, and the flying monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz." I began to wish I'd brought my recorder into the meeting. Some of this stuff was priceless. My notes reveal that other frightening matters, ranging from gas prices to North Korea, were discussed. Eventually, it was resolved that none of the meeting-goers would see "It," though I will almost certainly table that resolution. I was not a good note-taker that day, so I can't explain how the conversation turned to the subject of county constables. Whit told how in the 1990s, some mischievous friends put his name on the ballot and, by a vote of 5 to 3 (he thought), he became a county constable. I suggested I might make a good county constable, and no one disagreed too vehemently. Campaign slogans like "Make Woodford County Great Again" were offered, and I declared I would run on a law-and-order platform and return the county to the orderly rule of Constable Whit Chandler. "I ran a tight ship," Whit said, though he might have been pulling our legs a bit. Imagine that - joking around during the weekly Sun meeting. Whit said I might have to occasionally clear out a bar with a "Buford" - a reference to the movie, "Walking Tall" and its character of Buford Pusser, a club-wielding sheriff played by Joe Don Baker. I offered another slogan, "Walking Taller," which, when I looked up Buford Pusser later, I realized would be misleading, as the real-life sheriff/constable was three inches taller than yours truly. Well off the rails now, the meeting began to limp to a close. Someone asked about the name of the clown again, perhaps because he or she still thought it might be real. There was a very pregnant pause, then Whit asked, "Well, does anyone want to bring up anything?" No one did, perhaps because they were still frightened by thoughts of Pennywise or his sworn enemy, Constable McGary. Speaking of which, the "C" that is my middle initial now stands for constable. John Constable McGary. I sort of like that.

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