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January 14, 1978 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below first appeared in the January 14, 1978 issue of the Daily Statesman. Topics included snow removal and commuting, Chili-Dog Harris, killed and humped eggs, and Grover Gilpin on whether customers can have ketchup on their pie. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

We are a commuting county
Perhaps no article I've run has drawn as much comment as the one Wednesday morning about the condition of the ice-covered Adair County roads. I knew that Adair Countians have to travel, but I had underestimated the extent of our dependence on good roads. Jacob Haffner, Southern Regional Manager of Oshkosh B'Gosh, has to use many of the same roads I traveled. He's in charge of the Columbia and Celina plants (and soon the Hermitage Springs plant, too) and he knows that truck and supervisory travel between the plants is a must.

I later talked with George Neal of Louisville News Service about his trucks. There are 10 employees and five trucks working out of Columbia. They traveled as far as Hardinsburg and Bardstown on the north Cave City, west; as far as Cookeville and Monterey, Tennessee, south; and over to Manchester on the East. Neal has to worry every time his trucks go out in the snow about whether or not they'll get banged up because of snow conditions. And he can't just stay home, as some would think he could. If he did, those TV Guides they sell would be worthless, and the company would lose money, and Adair County would lose the impact of a nifty payroll.

Our workers work elsewhere
Judge James Brock reminded me of the impact of commuting on Adair County life.


"As it is now," Brock said, "we have a lot of people traveling out of Adair County to work. They're earning their living in other counties, but they want to live here."

The figures he showed me, for the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, shows that Adair County is Number One among the 10 counties in terms of commuting out-of-county, based on 1973 Kentucky Department of Commerce figures.

From the charts, one can see that Columbians must have safe passage in- and out-of-the county in order to make a living.

Impact of travel-companies in other areas
Actually, the impact of travel-oriented companies on their home bases is greater than that for many manufacturing concerns.

This is especially true in comparing distribution companies against manufacturing firms which do not use native materials as raw products.

For, in addition to the local payroll of a distribution firm such as the Louisville News Service, a great deal of local automotive work is bought, and most of the gasoline the company's vans use is purchased locally.

Not always easy to recruit
The distribution firms are not always easy to recruit. Louisville News Company is apparently happy with the decision to locate in Columbia, but the company could have located the distribution point in another of other southern Kentucky towns, but they were persuaded to locate in Columbia by the local management. It puts Columbia in some pretty big company. The distribution offices of the parent company, Luddington News, are Columbia, Louisville, Detroit, and Dayton. Publishers send books directly to these points for reshipment to the individual retailers.

There is a move among local leaders to try to secure more distribution companies for Columbia. It certainly would improve the economic climate locally.

Carl Harris promoted
When Carl Harris first moved to Columbia, he was a meat salesman. Larry Walker, now an employee of the First National Bank, gave him the nickname, "Hot Dog" Harris. Now, Larry's father, Bill Walker, says Harris' nickname is changed. He's "Chili-Dog" Harris, following his successful record-breaking chili cook-off for the Inauguration.

Local Streets are cleaner
The streets in Columbia, especially the Square, are cleaner than after most snows. Mayor Coy Downey ordered work crews, led by City Works Director Elvin Corbin, to clear the Square of snow. Before most of the city traffic reached town, the clearing was accomplished. On city streets, CETA Supervisor Ralph Sneed had the men out clearing snow from the sidewalks.

As usual, an unusual man, Gene Hoots, was out on his little Massey Ferguson with snowplow attached, helping to get the snow out of the way.

I was proud of myself
I noticed, too, that a lot of the men around town shirked their duty in clearing off their snow fronts. I didn't. I got my wife, Linda, out early clearing the snow off. I must say, I was proud of her out there with her shovel. And she has a right to be proud herself. Some of the women-folk were so sorry they made their husbands do the snow shoveling. If it's one thing I can't stand, it's sorriness.

The roads were better
It appeared the highways were in better shape after the Friday snowfall than they had been earlier. And fewer people were crawling into their holes, hibernating. I like to see people out. A.L. Sinclair told me that he does, too. "It drives me nuts to be cooped up all day. I couldn't wait to get out." There's important business to be taken care of out-of-doors; Like drinking coffee, planning the crops, and four-wheeling.

For at least two brave souls, Thursday night, riding trail bikes in the snow took top priority.

How do you like your eggs?
It is supposed to be the paramountly in-thing, in greasy spoon social standing, to be able to walk in and tell the waitress, "I'll have the usual," and have her immediately know that that means you want a boiled egg cut in half, set in butter resting on top of two country sausages, biscuit and jelly, and coffee with cream but no sugar.

I change my mind too often to ever be able to do that.

And I am learning in egg-eating, there are many more ways to cook them than I earlier thought.

The latest two ways I've heard of are "killed," and "humped." But I doubt any waitress would know what that means. "Killed" is the way Stewart Walker likes his eggs. That's to turn the eggs, break the yolk, and cook the devil out of them. "Humped" is the way my seven-year-old red-headed nephew, Doug Waggener, likes his. You may call it "over light," but when Doug is at Mother's house, he orders them "humped," which means the same thing: A well done egg with a hump.

Ought to get them any way they want them
People ought to be able to eat their eggs any way they want them. I saw Marvin Hutchison order eggs in a restaurant here. When the waitress delivered them, he said, "Oh bring me some vinegar, too." The waitress asked, "What for?" And he answered, "For my eggs." The young lady broke out in gales of laughter. "I never heard of anybody putting vinegar on their eggs." Hutchison let it pass. He's that kind of a guy. He said, privately, that the vinegar knocks the eggy taste of the eggs. (I tried it, and it does eliminate a disagreeable whang eggs have). Hutchison said he never asks for vinegar anymore. "It's too much bother explaining," he said.

And Ketchup for pie
Grover Cleveland Gilpin said a waitress at his G & M Grill once treated a customer, the late Jack Williams, in a similar manner. Williams had stopped by to have the evening meal, Gilpin said. He never ate very heavily, and he started to leave a half-eaten plate when the waitress asked him if that would be all. "Yes," he said, but then he got engrossed in conversation, and he said to the waitress, "I think I will have some apple pie." As the waitress started to the pie case, Williams added, "Oh yeah, and you can put a piece of cheese on it, too." The young lady thought that was the funniest thing she had ever heard. "Cheese on apple pie?" she laughed, "I never heered of anybody putting cheese on their apple pie."

It offended Williams, who didn't think, and rightfully so, that what he ate was anybody else's business. Gilpin, the boss, turned to the girl and said, "Listen, there's one heck of a lot you ain't never heered of, and a heck of a lot more you ain't never seed, either. If a customer wants ketchup on his pie, you give it to him, and don't make any comment about it."

In the classic manner which normally followed such a reprimand, the waitress took off her apron, slung it in the floor, and walked out. "I don't have to take this..." she said. And she didn't.


This story was posted on 2019-12-29 11:40:18
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