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April 18, 1978 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below ran in the April 18, 1978 issue of the Adair County News, and also ran in an issue of the Daily Statesman around that time. Topics included the accidental theft of Mayor Downey's Sheaffer pen, a discussion of right-of-way daffodils, and a quote from Beanpole on the success of the Dogwood Project, which had also dominated that week's from page, and resulted in the planting of over 2,100 trees that year. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

Writing Instruments are community property

I have had a very good friend one time who was the most generous person I ever knew. He would give anyone in need anything he had.

On the other hand, he would want to take anything anyone else had.

Now the world might work better if everyone were that way.

But they are not.

That's why the majority of folks put locks on their meathouses.

I don't feel that everything is community property except in one area: writing instruments.

Everytime I "borrow" a ballpoint or a pencil at the office the lender always looks at me and says, "Give it right back!" and he or she keeps an eye on me all the time I have the pen.

On the other hand, I never deny anyone the right to take my writing instruments, as they need them. I do consider writing instruments community property, and my policy works both ways.

But this is within limits
On the other hand, I do not steal just any writing instruments. I would never knowingly take a Cross, a Parker, a Sheaffer, or even a high priced Paper Mate or even an expensive Bic.

Even those with advertising. I don't take them knowingly.

But I consider First National, First Federal or Bank of Columbia community property, as well as Watson & Walker, a Central Kentucky Realty, a Downey's, or a David Wells.

But never a Property of U.S. Post Office. That's a Federal case.

I particularly think that third party advertising pens, such as Reed Brothers in a barber show, come under the laws of the open sea, to be loose fish, ripe for the first man's taking.

I think the Bible backs me up
I have never checked out The Law on this matter - civil law - that is, but I believe I am backed up by Biblical law. I think that the part which says that it is okay to take a handful of grain, for your own use, while traveling through the fields, gives me the license to "borrow" ballpoints when I am in dire need.

On the other hand, I do not believe that I have the right to "borrow" ballpoints to give to third parties, except when some practical moral message can be taught the "lender," by such action. (As when I "borrow" a full case of Watson & Walker to teach Buck and Bear a lesson: Never trust anybody.)

I would not take pencils and give them to Mike Murrell or Gerald Reliford or to my boys, for instance.

I confess I took a pen
Sunday morning, in Sunday School, no less, I broke out in a cold sweat when I discovered that I had purloined a Sheaffer's with advertising on it and a Very Valuable Writing Instrument. I knew the Sheaffer's belonged to Mayor Squaredeal Downey, and, even if I hadn't given the pen back to him, which I did, I think there is an extraordinary indulgence granted one who takes from the Mayor.

But I have not been able to trace the ownership of the Very Valuable Writing Instrument. I have deposited it with Marie Finn, an honest woman, at the front desk of the Daily Statesman.

With proper identification of the Very Valuable Writing Instrument, along with positive identification of the culprit (me), and enough description of the culprit's MO to convince Mrs. Finn that you are the rightful owner of the VVWI, it will be returned to you.

On the other hand, if after diligent search I do not find the rightful owner, we will try to find an honest way of disposing of it.

It might be that I can find a minister who will say, "Ed, keep the pencil. As a token of your honesty."

I would want ministerial advice as a sanction for such an action.

Linda's nightmare
I think that it would be well if the Law on such and similar matters were more widely known.

For instance, my wife Linda has a recurring nightmare.

She is in court. The defendant. There is a scowling judge, a mean prosecutor, and the jury is make up of Sierra Clubbers. And she is defending herself.

She is pleading, "But I like daffodils and they were on the right-of-way. It's true that if everybody took daffodils it would be wrong. But I only took three of them and thousands of other people didn't take any."

She has never slept through the entire nightmare, to find out what the verdict is.

What about it?
I always thought that Johnny Appleseed planted all righ-of-way appletrees and that it was fair picking to take a few to eat anytime any apples hung over the right-of-way. Ditto for daffodils. The same for right-of-way poke and asparagus. (They both grew in the fence line on Lowe's Lane in Columbia.)

That's my thought, but I would defer to a higher authority, if there is any.

The Dogwoods are in the ground
With the major planting of dogwoods at the City Cemetery and at our radio station, WAIN, the Dogwood Project is nearing a successful completion.

Raymond Lacey suggested that the dogwoods be planted at the cemetery, and he paid for the trees.

Of course, I'd be the first to admit that if it weren't for men like Mayor Downey, who have several hundred dollars out of his own pocket to the Dog Project, and my brother Ralph Waggener, the purchase and distribution of the Dogwoods - if it weren't for these kinds of people, the project would never have happened.

But really, I think that they would be the first to admit that this was truly a People's Project. That the response of the public was overwhelming, and gifts such as Raymond Lacy's meant the difference in the long run.

For the record, there are approximately 2100 dogwoods in Adair County ground as the direct result of the project. One thousand of the trees are ready-to-bloom (by next spring) and the remainder are 12-18" seedlings, which the mayor donated.

"I hope we're able to add 2,000 dogwoods a year," Downey said, Sunday afternoon as the project drew to a close. "If we can keep that pace going, we're really be able to see a change in a few years."

Some are blooming
Some of the dogwoods planted last week are blooming. Some of the pinks on Tutt Street beside the Mayoral Mansion, The Rockhouse, already have blossoms. Go see for yourself.

I've seen the Mayor's trees in bloom, and I can vouch for them. On the other hand, I'd just have to say that I've always trusted Beanpole, so I guess he must be telling the truth when he told me Saturday, "I planted six dogwoods. When I was getting the last one in the ground, the first one started blooming."

That's what he said. So I bet you one thing. We'll either be the Dogwood Capitol of the World in a short time, or The Biggest Liars about it in the world, one or the other.

This story was posted on 2020-03-15 11:16:23
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