Confehr: Hometown humor goes from droll to cheers in Lewisburg

Friday, September 4, 2009

From droll to optimistic in the face of adversity, Marshall County's leaders and residents carried on last week with a sense of humor that's worth sharing now.

Sixteen county commissioners' monthly meeting was delayed even before the vote to recess so a seventeenth commissioner could finish a job for his employer. The meeting had to begin so it could be recessed.

So, off they went, realizing they had to start so they could stop, the commissioners gathered at their meeting table on the second floor of the Courthouse Annex. And an unofficial count was conducted to be sure they had a quorum.

"Who's seated by you, Don?" Chairwoman Mary Ann Neill asked Commissioner Don Ledford who replied, "I don't see anybody."

She probably wanted to know who usually sits there. Given the moment, the reply from Ledford was literal.

Then, Neill needed something else.

Commission meetings are opened with a prayer from one of the members and Neill hadn't offered that leadership task to one of the commissioners.

Stepping around the meeting table to get a prayer leader, she was asked why she wasn't starting the meeting.

"I don't have a prayer, literally," Neill replied.

The August commission meeting included decisions aimed at holding the line on spending, organizational matters to assure representation, and there was a bit of a kabuki dance of dialog between Ledford and Commissioner Billy Spivey.

They'd sparred before over the committee system. The conclusion of their dialog was the same as it was during committee discussion. They agreed to disagree. They agreed there was some offense. They agreed they regretted it, but neither raised their voice.

Retired NBC newsman Tom Brokaw called the GOP and Democratic conventions a kabuki dance; a real life activity with a predictable conclusion like nominating someone who's preordained, or a agreement to disagree. It's reminiscent of the kabuki style of Japanese stage play. That's a Wikipedia-style explanation.

The morning after the commissioners met, a not-so-ordinary man was welcomed to a breakfast joint by people who know him. One of his friends asked the frequent greeting question, "How ya doin'?"

His reply was not a "back-at-cha" hello. It was an answer.

"I'm still laid off, but that's not too bad because now I've got time for my radiation treatments."

It didn't seem like he was paraphrasing a joke from a late night TV talk show monologue.