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Good thing it wasn't metal…

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY – Blame it on the Dog Days of summer, or maybe it is because I have just had cataract surgery on my right eye and a similar procedure is upcoming on my left eye…but I have no inclination to write about when the special session will be called or who may or may not be running for some office next year.
Instead let me share with you one of my favorite stories from the political past. Hopefully it will produce a chuckle from a few of you.
It was back in the late 1960s…I was serving as finance director in the cabinet of Gov. Albert Brewer and one of my colleagues was Col. Floyd Mann, who was director of the Department of Public Safety.
Floyd was not only an outstanding law enforcement officer but also a politician through-and-through. He could work a crowd almost as good as George Wallace.
Col. Mann came up with a dandy public relations gimmick during his time in office. He had printed and distributed honorary State Trooper cards.
We are talking about fancy cards…the state seal imprinted on them, embossed in gold and blue. And everybody wanted one of those cards. It was a great stunt.
One day a friend of his and mine came by Floyd's office. I will just call him Charlie. You have all known a "Charlie" in your life. He was very short, very fat, had a high-pitched voice…and he was funny. He just made folks laugh.
Charlie had a reason to visit Col. Mann. In his job with a state association he did a lot of traveling around the state and as the saying goes, he had a heavy foot…he was collecting speeding tickets like some folks collect stamps.
His visit to Col. Mann was to get one of those Honorary State Trooper cards, hoping that it might help him if he got stopped again by a Trooper.
Col. Mann told Charlie he would be honored to give him one of the cards.
"It may not do you any good," said Mann, "but it sure won't hurt."
Floyd later told me Charlie's story, I laughed and thought no more about it.
About a month later Floyd and I were having lunch one day at the late and lamented Elite Caf/ in Montgomery…and how I miss that place.
I looked toward the door and saw Charlie waddling toward our table … and waddle is the right word.
He spoke to both of us, then he turned to Col. Mann.
"Colonel, I was driving back from Dothan the other night and got stopped by one of your Blue Light boys just north of Ross Clark Circle," Charlie said. "Said he clocked me at 83 miles an hour."
Floyd, trying to suppress a smile, responded: "Did you show him your Honorary State Trooper card?"
Replied Charlie: "I sure did…and when he told me what I could do with it I'm d*** glad it wasn't a metal plaque."
And before I sign off today let me return to what I talked about at the outset…"Dog Days." As you perhaps know that expression has nothing to do with dogs. Centuries ago the Romans concluded that the unbearable heat they experienced from early July to mid-August was caused by the fact that the Sirius, the Dog Star, rose at the same time as the sun and this made it hotter than normal during that period.