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March 21

Rumors of the upcoming duel had rapidly circulated throughout Savannah, and even at this early hour, several people had arrived to witness the event.

—It Happened in Georgia, by James A. Crutchfield


Dear Dixie,

If you want to spy on a regional subculture of people in Georgia to know what quality of life issues they’re concerned about then wake up at four in the morning to the local hunting and fishing radio show.  You won’t believe how wide awake lovers of the outdoors are at four in the morning when they call in to talk to the two perky hosts, a hillbilly man and a hillbilly woman. 

It’s shocking … the lilt in everybody’s voices at that super spooky quiet and ungodly time of human and animal and plant existence.

This morning the topic wasn’t about how to shoot a deer or how big everybody’s bass was … it was about a growing fear of hawks who’ve been snatching up small dawgs in Cherokee County and eating the small dawgs.

A caller named Jim was concerned.  He’s heard that this has been happening a lot in Cherokee County.  And he’s concerned because he lives out in the country of Cherokee County and he’s got a fenced-in back yard and he lets his Chihuahua run around back there and he just knows some ol’ hawk is gonner swoop down and carry his dawg off.

I kid you not.  This was Jim’s concern.  At just after four o’clock in the damn morning.

The woman hillbilly host said hawks don’t see your dawg as your pet, Jim, but as food … and if that thang’s down there wigglin’ around then it’ll grab it and carry it off somewhere real private and kill it and eat it.

Jim said he couldn’t fathom a hawk eating his Chihuahua and that he would attempt to construct some protective measures like putting up some sort of net or chicken wire covering over the part where his dawg plays.  Jim said he’s got a lot of property but his back yard is real small so he was pretty sure he could get this thang done right for his dawg.

Thanks for callin’.

I really thought I was still dreaming … but about a horror movie where people call a radio show about hawks swooping up Chihuahuas and eating them, but I wasn’t dreaming.  This was real.  And I had to deal with it: the radio is way over in the bathroom and the bed feels real good at four in the morning.

Then they started talking to another caller.  I didn’t get his name.  But this gentleman says he was over at a friend’s house … in dang Cherokee County … one time and they were all sitting on the back patio having a beer when a hawk swooped down and carried off their friend’s Chihuahua and their friend totally freaked out.  The caller also said he’d just finished his paper route and started listening to the show, as he always does on Sunday mornin’s, and felt like he needed to call in and tell the story since he was right there and saw it.  The caller said it was pretty wild.

I didn’t know what was worse.  Listening to these folks at four in the morning talking about Chihuahuas or going to run a marathon.  I figured since it was called the Georgia Marathon and I’m from Georgia and was supposed to know everything about Georgia then I should have been training for it … and then go run it.

Which I have been, and which I did.  Very slowly.

I discovered when I got to the finish line I had not won the Georgia Marathon.  Not even come close.  At least those patient volunteers still had a few bagels left.



Next Entry ... May 15: My Circumstance Is Pomped