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Famous and Plain Folks : Country Boy Loves Law, a Good Fight

July 30, 1986|RICHARD E. MEYER | Times Staff Writer

Last Christmas Eve, Bobby Lee and his wife were coming back to Summerville from Lookout Mountain. "We had the little Mercedes, the little sports car. I was driving at a moderate rate of speed, I guess 40 or 45. And we got to this little old stop sign in the town of Menlo, about eight or nine miles west of here, a town of about 300 or 400, right at the foot of Lookout Mountain, and there wasn't anybody coming, so I slowed down, as I recall, and came to almost a stop. I might not have completely stopped. I thought I did. I wouldn't take a blood oath on it. But I certainly slowed down.

"And we got on the other side of Menlo, about 2 or 2 1/2 miles, and I looked back, and I see this blue light--and I immediately pulled over. And this fellow walks up to the side, and he said, 'Mr. Cook,' he said, 'let me see your driver's license.'

"And I said, 'Well, I don't have it. I changed my clothes and went to church, and then I went out on the mountain, and I don't have it.'

"He said, 'I'm going to have to see some identification.'

"And I said, 'Why, goddamn, mister, I don't know who you are, but you know who I am. You called me by my name when I stopped, and I told you my license was at home. That's silly as hell.'

"He said, 'Well, I'm just going to have to take you in--back to Menlo.'

" 'Take me to Menlo!' I said, 'Now look, if you've got a charge to make against me, I'm not any better than anybody else.' I said, 'Make it.' But I said, 'Mister, goddamn it, you ain't taking me to Menlo.'

"He said, 'You've got to make a cash bond.'

"I said, 'You've got that wrong, too.' I said, 'I don't have to make a cash bond. I can make a property bond--and I'm going to the sheriff's office in Summerville.'

'Now Don't Get Mad'

"June said, 'Now don't get mad and don't speed.'

"And I said, 'I'm not going any faster than I was a while ago, about 40 or 45 miles an hour.' And I pulled in at the sheriff's office downtown here. And he pulled in.

"And I got out.

"He walked around, and he said, 'Another goddamn thing.' He said, 'I just might have to charge you with running your mouth.'

"I said, 'Now look here, let me tell you something. That's a goddamn privilege you've got in this country.' I said, 'You can run your goddamn mouth, and it's not against the law.'

"And he patted his gun, like that.

"And when he patted his gun, I just knocked the piss out of him."

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