Saturday, December 12, 2015

Singleton writes of crows, opossums, tugboats and sour persimmons

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “A round-table discussion in the treetop: Crows hold a big discussion, ignoring people and animals on the ground” was originally published in the Dec. 1, 1988 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

The time is 2 p.m. on the 7th of October. The place is atop the high riverbank, overlooking the mighty Alabama.

Overhead are the branches of a giant oak tree that spread out as a mighty guardian offering shelter and protection to all that seek it.

Those who have sought the protection and solitude of this mighty oak are about 40 or so crows. It seems that they have chosen the majestic branches, overlooking the river, for a special meeting place to discuss and talk about the matters at hand.

What’s the subject?

Their discussion could be the upcoming presidential election, or it could be a debate as to whether Gov. Hunt should or should not raise taxes this year. Perhaps it could be something pertaining to raising or lowering the Social Security benefits. Or, as to why the state legislature was called into another special session.

But one thing is for sure: the discussion has become hot and heavy.

I am sitting at the base of the large oak, listening to the many discussions as they are thrown back and forth, from limb to limb. It seems that the chairman of the meeting or debate is having a great deal of difficulty in controlling the floor (or should I say the treetop?) in the proceedings of the meeting.

A river tugboat, the Gobler, is slowly making its way up the river. The heated discussion seems to temper down for the few moments while the tugboat is passing. Once the boat is up the river a ways, the group in the treetop goes at it once again, hot and heavy.

Busy opossum

To my right stands a persimmon tree. The tree is quite tall and is loaded with large persimmons. Sitting in the very top of this tree is a large opossum. It seems that the opossum has been quite busy, eating the persimmons, from the number of seeds that litter the ground.

But he has stopped eating now. He has given all his attention to the heated arguments and discussions over in the top of the large oak tree.

The opossum seems to think that now would be a good time for the group of crows to call in one or more disinterested bystanders to kind of referee and control the discussions. I kind of think that it would be a good idea myself. But neither of the two of us has even been approached about this matter. Since we are the only audience, we feel that we would be appropriate for the job.

The heated arguments continue to pick up momentum. I try eating a couple of persimmons to settle my nerves. I should have remembered that no one in his right mind ever eats persimmons before the frost falls on them. Now, my mouth is drawn up until I couldn’t participate in the debate or discussion even if I were asked.

Can’t get a word in

By now, the opossum has grown tired of the unruly meeting. He has climbed down the persimmon tree and walked away in complete disgust. I can tell that he wasn’t satisfied at all with the events of the gathering.

I might as well get up and do the same thing. It doesn’t matter if I did eat the green persimmons and couldn’t say anything; those darn crows having been talking so fast, I wouldn’t have been able to get a word in edgewise, even if I had gotten the go-ahead from the chairman.

 (Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

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