Thursday, December 13, 2007

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation

(Yes, I know. So much for good intentions. But I'm trying to get back to some kind of schedule.)

I spent Thanksgiving with my parents down in Arkansas. It was fun for a whole lot of reasons: seeing family, hanging out with some old friends — one my best friend from elementary school — watching Arkansas beat LSU in triple overtime, and just generally being able to relax.

However, I also spent a couple of days in the library, continuing the research for a magical-realist novel about bootleggers in Arkansas in the 1930s. (This started with a short story called "Mister Seeley," which was published in Haworth Press's anthology So Fey. Because of the sale of Haworth Press, this edition is already out of print and hard to find; we're hoping it will be picked up elsewhere very soon — I'll keep you posted.) Essentially, this research involves reading the local papers, tracking "prohi" violations (that's "prohibition," of course, and I'd love to know how the word was pronouned — or if anybody besides the newspapers used it) and the progress of the drought and the Depression and generally getting a feel for the time. So I thought I'd share this gem, from the Arkansas Gazette, May 6, 1930:


Headline: That Is the John Law's Story and He Gets Away With It

Helena, May 5 — Patrolman Hibbs, Helena's biggest policeman, strode jauntily to the witness stand in Municipal Court today.

Judge Pipkin sniffed at his approach and eyed the officer suspiciously.

"I can imagine what your honor is thinking, but I can explain," Hibbs said.

Hibbs said that he and two other officers engaged in a liquor raid Saturday night. He was stationed beneath a window to intercept any attempt to escape.

Jesse Bee Edwards heard the officers at her door and hastily dumped a gallon of whiskey out of the window, drenching Officer Hibbs.

The officer wore his saturated uniform to court this morning. Judge Pipkin fined the woman $50 and costs.


I'm hoping "costs" included cleaning his uniform.