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Discussing Georgia’s new voting law with the Ryo Coffee Club

Discussing Georgia’s new voting law with the Ryo Coffee Club Discussing Georgia’s new voting law with the Ryo Coffee Club

Just as I was about to pick up my flugelhorn, the phone rang. It was Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Ryo, Georgia. He sounded concerned. That’s not like Skeeter. Of course, he would never admit it. I have found that those in the tree stump removal and plow repair profession emanate a high degree of self-assurance.

“Hoss,” Skeeter said, “the boys in the Ryo Coffee Club asked me to talk a little politics with you. I told them I’d be happy to since you know as little about politics as anybody I’ve ever run across.” I hear that line every time he calls me but I don’t say anything because Skeeter gets such a kick out of it. Tree stump removal and plow repair professionals love their own jokes.

“First off,” he asked, “we was wondering what them politicians down in Atlanta was doing by changing how we vote. That’s why I’m calling you.” I told him Republicans say they are making elections more secure. Democrats say it’s because Donald Trump lost the election. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle.

“Surely, they ain’t saying we can’t vote no more,” Skeeter growled. “Anybody what tries to stop me from voting is liable to get an 11-inch Power King Stump Grinder with Precision Control Brake deposited where the sun don’t shine.”

I assured Skeeter that nobody was trying to stop him from voting. Admittedly, I don’t have all the details about Senate Bill 202 which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp behind closed doors, so I don’t know what it says about bringing stump grinders to polling places. I suspect Democrats would say banning stump grinders is racist, while Republicans would point out that Pres. Biden’s home state of Delaware does not allow stump grinders and that they take care of their own house first.

Skeeter said, “Walleye who runs the bait shop in Red Bud says he believes the Q-Anons are responsible for what has happened as well as that Antifa bunch. He says they plan to take over the country, arrest the police and harvest their organs.” I think Walleye spends too much time on social media.

“Let me ask you about absentee voting,” Skeeter said. “This has got Uncle Coot real worried. He has got no choice but to vote absentee. As you know, Uncle Coot spent a number of years heavily involved in the portable toilet transportation industry and nobody wants to stand in line if he is around, unless they can be upwind. He can shorten a voting line in a hurry.”

I told Skeeter to tell Uncle Coot not to worry. He will just have to provide some ID. No different than the portable toilet transportation industry. I am pretty sure you can’t simply go in and haul off a potty without having some identification.

Skeeter mentioned that Booger Bledsoe, who runs a roadside vegetable stand over in Sugar Hill, wondered why everybody is so upset about the baseball All Star Game being moved out of Atlanta because some folks don’t like our changing the way we vote in Georgia. Booger says who cares? If anybody is that interested in that game, which he doubts, they can watch it on television, although past ratings show nobody much ever does past the third inning. He makes a good point.

The gang wanted to know what the big deal was about making it illegal to hand out food or water to people standing in line to vote. I told them that the Republicans say that doing so could “inappropriately influence voters in the crucial final moments before they cast their ballots.” Democrats say – stop me if you’ve heard this before – it’s racist.

Skeeter said there is no way that a bottle of water would ever get him to change his vote. That was Un-American. I could hear Walleye and Booger Bledsoe agreeing in the background. Uncle Coot didn’t have much to say since nobody would likely come close enough to offer him anything but a bar of soap. And how could it be racist if nobody of any color can have a drink of water in line?

I tried to explain to Skeeter that politics can be very complicated. Skeeter said, no – replacing a 6-port manifold on a 3-point hitch-mount Weed Wiper is complicated. Politics is just downright weird. As bad as I hate to admit it, he may be right.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at

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