A longtime friend, Mike Chason, texted me a picture of a sign back in October of 2017. The photo, taken on the roadside in Dillard, Georgia, read, “LEGS $2.” He sent it the same day that I published a column titled, “We Bare All.” My column was about the billboards that pollute I-75 with promotions for strip joints and sex stores. I thought Mike had found a new approach to that kind of advertising, but I also felt a tinge of pity. I figured for two dollars, that must be a really bad looking set of legs.
I enlarged the picture, and was surprised to see two wooden table legs propped against that sign. I didn’t think much more about it, until I got a disturbing phone call a few days later.
I don’t usually answer calls from a number I don’t recognize. This number, however, was from the Vienna exchange. I thought it must be someone I knew. The man on the line said it was his car fender that I dented in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. He wanted to know what I was going to do about the repairs. I told him I didn’t know anything about it, that my wife does all the grocery shopping.
He said it had to be me, because I left my phone number on his windshield. I assured him that I had not hit a vehicle at Piggly Wiggly, and that I had not left my number on anyone’s windshield.
The man had an attitude that I found quite disagreeable. He said that I better take care of his car or he’d contact his attorney. I wanted to ask him how big a fellow he was, but then I remembered how nice it is having all my teeth. I told him that he had the wrong number and that I was hanging up.
I pressed the red button to disconnect, pushing it firmly so he would know I meant business. While telling my brother, Jimmy, about the call, my phone rang again. My old buddy, Bubba Collins, was laughing heartily. He wanted to know what I was going to do about repairing that man’s car. He and his youngest son, Alex, were on their way to a Georgia Tech football game. They had taken a side trip on Prank Call Road.
When Bubba called, it gave me an idea about contacting that leg outlet in Dillard. “Is this the place that sells legs for two dollars?” I asked. A real nice lady said it was, and offered to help me.
I said, “My friend Cletus was fishing for bream at The Blue Hole on Cedar Creek a while back, and a big mud cat got on his pole. He waded into the water to try to land him, but an alligator bit off his leg.”
“That’s just awful,” said the very sympathetic lady.
“Yes, mam. It’s been rough on him. He lost his leg and the fish, and his insurance won’t pay for a prosthesis because Cletus knew the gator was there. Do you think you all could fit Cletus with a leg, if I bring him by one day?”
The lady said she was really sorry about my friend’s leg, but she told me they didn’t handle prosthetics. She said, “What we sell are wooden legs for tables.”
I told her that was even better, that I was making my wife a custom-made table for our forty-third anniversary. I said, “It’s going to be four feet wide and eight feet long. Would I need four legs or six legs to make it sturdy?”
She said that would depend on a lot of things, such as how heavy the top was. I told her I was planning to use a sheet of half-inch plywood and maybe put a nice oak finish on it.
“What kind of a warranty program do y’all have on those legs?” I asked. “Let’s just say my table collapsed on account of a leg breaking. If I had something valuable on the table that got damaged, would y’all’s insurance take care of it?”
That’s when I could tell she had lost interest in making a sale. She said, “Why don’t you come over here and let my husband talk to you about that table you’re working on? I think he can explain it better. He might even be able to fit your friend Cletus with a leg, and maybe fit you with one too.”
I told her I couldn’t come right away, but asked if they could give me a call when it was a convenient time. She said that was fine with her. Then she asked for my name and number.
When that lady calls, I sure hope Bubba doesn’t say anything that might get us into trouble with the law. Bubba and I would probably be okay, but poor Cletus doesn’t have a leg to stand on.