It was the talk of old men. Not only the subject, at least for this early time, but the way in which it developed and flowed. It was as casual as if it were the weather, and yet it was of a brutal game in which strong and capable contestants have already vowed to participate, with the probability of more to come. Many are called. Few are chosen.
Last week, Foster Rhodes and me. Foster: “Who is going to win the governor’s race?” My response: “You’ve got to think Casey, but it’s too early to tell. We don’t even know who will actually make the race.” Good discussion (at least we thought so) as we rode along, between Fort Valley and Roberta, but no conclusion. Impossible to conclude.
And then, I think I started it: “Politics is not much fun, anymore. It used to be fun. It’s not like it used to be.” Foster agreed. It was unanimous.
Irony, based on agreed to lamentations of the sordid state of politics as compared to the “good ‘ole days.” Within 10 minutes of “not like it used to be,” we turned off U.S. 341, drove less than 300 feet, parked by T. F. Hayes General Merchandise store (open continually since 1900), dropped our campaign contribution checks in the offering plate type basket placed for that purpose and entered Dickey Farms Packing House which, despite the fact that we beat the announced 6 p.m. starting time, was already full of people with more to come.
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“Not like it used to be? Not fun anymore?” It could’ve been a Marvin Griffin August, 1962 rally (“they ate my barbeque but didn’t vote for me”) or even a 1956 Telfair County gathering to help anoint Herman Talmadge on his way to the United States Senate. This was going to be fun. All of a sudden, this “Peaches and Politics” summer rally for State Rep. Robert Dickey, Seventh Annual, at Dickey Farms Packing House in Musella — Crawford County, Georgia. It was fun. On this Foster and I correctly agreed. We’d gone from 2017 whining to 1960 fun.
What a crowd! Republicans in the majority, but with a good scattering of Democrats who like and support the Republican honoree. Why? He treats them with dignity and respect and tries to help them when he can — like politics should be.
Former and long-time Sen. George Hooks, Bob Hatcher of Macon, Gary Black, Commissioner of Agriculture, Sen. Larry Walker and his wife Adrienne, Sen. John Kennedy, Robert Dickey Sr., age 89 and his wife and Robert’s mother, Jane, State Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens and his wife, Suzanne, Bob Ray, Flint EMC, Judge Tripp Self, Macon and Judge Mac Crawford, Zebulon, Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, Bibb County Commissioner, Buddy Hayes, Maurice Raines, Lorenzo Wilder, Rep. Matt Hatchett, Rep. Patty Bentley, Jack Causey, age 92, Glenn Lee Chase, Ellen Chase and Donald Chase, Martin Mosely, Peach County Commissioner, Bill Stembridge and about 350 more.
Did they come for the food? No. But it is delicious. Fried chicken, pimento cheese sandwiches, real Coca-Colas in those small bottles, pecans, peaches, peach cobbler, peach ice cream and peach ice cream on peach cobbler, etc.
Did they come because of the candidate, Robert Dickey? Yes. Robert is what all politicians should be. Perhaps he is a throw-back to an earlier time. He smiles, he’s pleasant, he treats everyone like the Bible tells us to do. He has time to talk and listen, he will listen to your point of view, etc. He’d be “nigh on to impossible to beat,” especially if he keeps on being the Robert Dickey we know today, and if he keeps on having the annual “Peaches and Politics” at the 1936 Dickey Farms Packing House.
I’ll bet they’ll never eat Robert’s peaches and not vote for him. Like I said, he’ll be there as long as he wants to be. And, I hope I get to go to the Eighth Annual Peaches and Politics. And, by the way, Foster, I’ll take my pickup and drive next year if you’ll provide the conversation subjects, just don’t let it be about how politics is not as fun as it used to be.
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.