The note was written in a scrawl
Thomas Churchail is the county commissioner
Maggie didn’t talk to River Boy at school. She
looked forward to those days when he was there so she could ignore him.
He saw it.
She hadn’t decided what to do.
She wrote his name in her notebook, then tore it
out, daydreamed about his hand on her thigh and imagined kissing him.
At night the excitement kept returning to her room and she tried to
purge him from her memory. She was going crazy.
Tad lost his luster over the next months.
They went to the Junior-Senior dance and he didn't even try to kiss her.
She kept comparing him to the excitement she had
with River Boy.
Summer came. Her senior year loomed and she
expected to have matters settled, but
none of the boys approached because of Tad.
Her friends were planning a trip to Abbeyville to attend the annual
party at Churchail's plantation-size summer house stocked with maids
The powerhouse glad-hander, Thomas Churchail was full mid-life
desperate and running for County Commissioner again. He was backed by
the party machine and had his finger in everybody’s wallet that moved
through the area.
The general rumor was that nary a bean could be planted without his approval.
There was a problem with the coming election. People were tired of the
same face and same speeches.
Small farmers were getting squeezed out by consolidators. Statewide
Bank was raising the rates on small farmers. There was only money if
you could plant big acres.
Share croppers, mules and farm workers were being replaced by machines.
Large national interests wanted to end the small
regional guys that soaked up public money now.
Politics is about the times in which you live.
The face of the land was changing with wide roads, gas stations,
motels, fast cars and rock and roll.
Sears and Roebuck laid up big parking lots that attracted people away
Woolworth's was pushing back, but town squares were dying out.
People asked, was it reasonable to skew apart the normal, what
they used to call sane and just?
The Democrat machine was reluctant to back Churchail since it looked
like he was going to lose. Work was needed to get the vote fixed this
time, and it might not be enough.
At the same time, Statewide Bank had a problem with numerous hands
reaching in their pockets. The Upstate Boys controlled Churchail, and
most the other commissioners around the state.
Those Boys were causing problems.
Churchail was trying to block Statewide, not
because he gave a crap suit about the farmers and small towns. He just
wanted a bigger payoff from Statewide Bank. He worked for the coin, as
you might realize.
Statewide Bank was part of the national interests,
and Churchail qualified as one of those local ass flies that was
The election was the firing point. Statewide put out a hard-punch
investigation of Churchail’s bank records ... and decided to back Lever
‘Lanky’ Johnson II.
The New Reform Party nominated Lever ‘Lanky.’ They came up with the
slogan “Vote for Clever Lever,” and paid an army of workers
to hang his posters on every telephone pole.
Not just that, but young Mr Lanky was good looking and a college math
professor. Apparently he had a long slide rule, with which was
administered to Mrs Churchail every fourth Wednesday of the month after
the New Christian School Board meeting.
Mrs Churchail was fed up with Thomas Churchail’s love-lolling for money and young girls. She had
taken up with Mr Lanky and his rhythmic upshot of duty between her
breaths. She was a bit older and quite familiar with her
husband’s business and personal affairs, thinking it would be nice to
see him in jail stripes.
The Upstate Boys and the machine politicians were in a power push with
Statewide Bank over control of the counties.
A fight was brewing at every level, including the coming election.
Upstate Boys decided to throw extra weight behind Churchail, and came
up with the slogan 'Yankee Lanky.'
The basis for calling Lanky a Yankee was dubious, since supposedly his
mother came from Illinois, the despised home of Lincoln the dictator
who whipped the South, when actually it was his sister who moved there.
No matter the facts, another army of volunteers followed behind
Statewide volunteers and pasted the Yankee Lanky slogan over Lanky
posters that were hung before.
That prompted Statewide to re-paste slogans over the Yankee slogan,
saying Hail No.
It was quite good for local entertainment, and voters were engaged in
gossip, and more so after Mrs Churchail's involvements with Lanky were
disclosed at the School Board meeting. Mrs Churchail and friends made
wild accusations of slander and walked out of the meeting.
The effort backfired somehow, and increased the popularity of handsome
Mr Lanky, especially among women voters.
Moreover, Mrs Churchail ended
up back with her doting husband whose carryings on were not an issue.
It had been many years since Churchail ran against opposition, but the
fire in his heart was still there. He wanted to win, and needed his
wife's help, which was unlikely since she would benefit financially if
he went to prison, plus free up spare time for her consummate passion
of handling slide rules, seeking ever larger dimension for proper
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