I found four tires in a muddy ditch in February. They weren’t new, but one of them had better treads than the set on my farm truck. They were on the dirt road that separates Dooly from Pulaski County. It’s not usually a bumpy road, but sometimes the rain washes across and leaves little gullies. I’m thinking that someone hit a crevice and the tires bounced out of their vehicle.
I guess their household garbage was riding on top of the tires, because a white plastic bag landed in the same area. The trash was widely scattered. I don’t imagine they want any of it back, unless they’re collecting aluminum cans. They apparently have a strong preference for Coke.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to return the tires. There are probably some fingerprints on the sidewalls or the Coke cans, but I don’t have a kit to lift them and I doubt the G.B.I. would give me access to their data base.
With all the trail cameras in use today, it’s possible someone caught an image of a slow-moving vehicle on that lightly traveled road. The pictures might help identify the driver or the tag number. But I’d hate for someone to be embarrassed over not properly securing what they were hauling.
In trying to figure out how to get the tires back to their rightful owner, I remembered what a young man did back in 1973. I had finished my third year at Valdosta State College that spring, then went to Washington, D.C. as a summer intern for Senator Herman Talmadge. I wasn’t there to give him any advice. My job was helping direct people to their seats in the Senate gallery. My only claim to fame was a short walk in front of the cameras during the Watergate hearings. Every Talmadge intern got to do that once to add a little flair to our normal routines.
The first part of the summer I lived with two interns of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Toy Nettles and Norman Rodgers were their names. I have their home addresses in an old shoe box, but I have no idea whatever happened to either one of them. We were packed into a hotel room that was so small we had to take turns laughing. It was an old hotel but was within walking distance of the Capital and fit perfectly into a shoestring budget.
Toy and Norman returned to South Carolina before my internship was finished. Senator Talmadge’s staff referred me to a boarding house where a lady rented out one big room with three beds. I didn’t know either of the two guys who were already staying there. I think they were out of college or maybe in graduate school. One of them was a writer and said he wanted to do investigative journalism like syndicated columnist Jack Anderson. I don’t recall much about the other one, except for one night when we walked a few blocks to grab a bite to eat.
On our way back to the house he spotted a nice camera perched on a window ledge. We waited ten minutes or so, but no one returned to claim it. He took the camera and we walked away. I figured he had gotten lucky that day.
That’s when he said something that I didn’t expect. He said that he was going to take out an ad in the lost and found, that the camera was probably left by a tourist who might be staying in town for a few days. That seemed like a long shot to me, an almost certain waste of time and money, but I kept that to myself. I was surprised when the ad got a quick response from a person who could describe the camera. I don’t remember my roommate’s name or even what he looked like, but I’ve never forgotten the character lesson he demonstrated so well.
Instead of taking out an ad, I’m hoping that whoever lost those tires will read this column and know where they can find them. I realize there’s a slight possibility those tires didn’t bounce out, that someone may have intentionally thrown them in the ditch. If that’s the case, then maybe they’ll consider the example of that young man I knew briefly a long time ago.
He went the second mile to do the right thing. Going the second mile takes a little more effort, but it should be easy when you’re riding on a new set of tires.