Sunday, July 10, 2011

Diffle County Update: Jim Lackey's Response

Ed. Note:  Jim Lackey, former Lincoln Township Supervisor, has requested space on this blog to respond to our article of July 9, 2011 concerning his Election loss and arrest for driving under the influence (DUI)

Dear Mr. Fishfire,

I am writing this letter to clear up a number of misconceptions, untruths, vulgarities, and downright lies that you propagated in your column of yesterday.   

Son, you are not from around here.  Although your Grandpappy on your Momma's side was a Diffle County native, and a well-respected East Greenville Councilman to boot, your daddy was not born in these parts. After your Grandpappy insisted (by shotgun) on a proper wedding between his 16 year old daughter and your cradle-robbing father, your parents were obliged to move away.  After reading your article, I suspect you take after your father.

Out of respect for your Grandpappy, most of us in Diffle County have accepted you as an almost-local. But lately, some of us are questioning whether you have enough experience and common knowledge to write about our community in the manner you have chosen.   You need to ask more questions, offer fewer opinions, and get your stories straight. If you don't- you could end up looking down the barrel of a Diffle County shotgun, just like your daddy did.

I intend to clear the record.  I do admit that I was driving under the influence that night and I did not protest nor appeal my arrest.  Did you know who I was having dinner with at the Smithville Inn, the Friday before the election?  No, I don't suppose you do because you didn't bother to check.  His name is Captain Johnathan Jenkins and he is Commanding Officer of the Greenville State Police Barracks. 

John is an old friend of our family. In fact, had you checked the County birth records, you would have discovered that the Jenkins and Lackey families are related.  Captain John's Uncle (James Weatherhill) was married to my Aunt Sarah Johnston. 

On the Friday evening of my DUI, I was enjoying anniversary beers with Captain John and Terry Reeder, Lincoln Township Road Foreman. Terry was a damn good roadmaster, worked hard for the past 18 years, knew every ditch and driveway in Lincoln Township. For your information, Terry Reeder was the first person Chuck Tomato fired after the election.  

How did you like the roads in Lincoln Township this past winter, Mr. Fishfire?  Most folks will tell you they can now tell when they are entering Lincoln Township. Our roads are the only ones still covered in ice and snow ten days after a storm. Maybe you should be writing about that instead of dredging up this old story.

Anyway, at one point in the evening Captain John leaned over the table and suggested I take a different route home. A sobriety checkpoint was being set up on Smith Road.  For the past 6 months, young folks have been drag-racing on Smith Road every Friday night.  They sit and drink six-packs in the Inn's parking lot, and then cut over to Smith Road for some friendly racing.

A few months before the election, one of the racing cars lost control and hit a tree. Two local kids were badly hurt.  Afterwards, I called Captain John and asked if there was something the State Police could do about the racing before someone gets killed. Captain John suggested a sobriety checkpoint, which I thought was a helluva good idea.

After Captain John told me about the checkpoint, I switched to Coca-Colas and hung around for a couple more hours. I even enjoyed one of Katie Smith's delicious Chicken Pot-pies. Have you ever tried one? She bakes the finest Chicken Pot-pies in Diffle County.

After dinner, I felt sober enough to leave and wanted to get home before the Police fireworks began, so I put the new Ford in gear and headed for home. I drove out the back entrance onto Smith Road, generally out of habit more than anything else.  

As I approached the checkpoint, I was directed to the opposite side of the road by one of the officers.  I thought he intended for me to drive on through. I waved to Patrolman Richard Lackey, who I recognized and who just happens to be my nephew.  

I guess I should have stopped, maybe even waited longer to leave the Smithville Inn.  But I was not "tomatoad" in that photograph. I only failed the breathalyzer by .01 units.  I was not even close to driving drunk. Had I waited at the Smithville Inn a half hour longer, I'd still be a Lincoln Township Supervisor.

Now let's get a few more things cleared up before I quit writing this letter. I have never, ever taken a bribe in public office.  After twenty years in office, a politician gets to meet people from all over the State.  I served as Diffle County Chair of the Democratic party for over ten years and attended at least three golf tournaments in support of Senator Ken Reynolds relection campaign.  Senator Reynolds is Roland Reynold's brother and their daddy once lived down the road from my Aunt Hilda's farm.

It's time for a short history lesson. Our family settled in Diffle County in 1876, My Great Great Grandpappy served in the Pennsylvania regiment that fought at Gettysburg. After the war was finished, he bought 250 acres of prime farmland in the West end of Diffle County.  That land was handed down through the family and ended up with my Aunt Hilda Johnston.

Next to my Aunt's farm was a wetland and beyond that a small tract for farming before it rose up too steep to be of any value.  The Reynolds clan bought that tract of land and built a hunting cabin there.  Lots of folks built hunting cabins back then. One day, my Aunt walked outside to hang up the laundry, and there in the middle of the backyard was a stake with an orange ribbon tied to it.

The Reynolds clan had hired a surveyor out of Harrisburg. His name was Robert L. Pickens, R.S. and he claimed that there was a hole in our deed and 50 acres of our land belonged to nobody at all. The Reynolds filed a Quiet Title action in Diffle County Court to take our land.  

Aunt Hilda sold off 10 acres on the West side of the farm to raise money to pay the lawyers.  She fought the Reynolds for 10 years in the courts. Each time she won a judgment, the Reynolds would appeal to a higher court.

Finally, they ran out of judges and the case was flushed down the toilet where it belonged. But the Reynolds clan couldn't leave it alone.  Seems they made their fortune stealing people's land until they tangled with a woman made of iron and stone named Hilda Johnston. But their fortunes changed after that.  

A few years later, some lawyer discovered that Mr. Pickens was more carpetbagger than land surveyor. His license was checked into and discovered to be a forgery- he was using his father's seal, Robert L. Pickens, Sr.  Junior might have known how to triangulate, but it wasn't the kind you need to find a stone marker on a property corner.

A bunch of folks sued the Reynolds clan, and settlements were made. Aunt Hilda wanted nothing more to do "with them snakes and muskrats", and was content to have her whole farm back, less the ten acres she sold to James Weatherhill.  It's a small town, Mr. Fishfire, just like High School, except we don't live out of our lockers anymore.

When Scott Reynolds showed up wanting to build a shopping center, I met with him privately and asked if he would be willing to donate money to the YMCA fund.  

East Greenville is trying to raise funds for a County YMCA and nearly every businessman has offered to donate to the "smooth sailing" YMCA fund.  However, Mr. Reynolds was offended and likened my request to a bribe, called it "extortion", and whispered those words into more than a few local ears.

As for the Reynolds Site Plan, it would be hard to trust a family that steals land and hires consultants who certify drawings with the survey seal of their dead daddy.  

And finally, there is no truth to the rumor that I forced people to use local builders.  What I did was mention to those folks wanting to build in Lincoln Township that our local builders offered a 10% discount for buildings constructed in their home Township. I always tried to support our local economy. If that is a bad idea, then our entire Country had better hoist a Communist flag and surrender now.

Thank you for allowing me the space to write this response. I hope in the future, you would do a little more research and a little less soapboxing.

Jim Lackey
Former Lincoln Township Supervisor
Diffle County is a fictional place. All characters are fictional. Any resemblance to non-fictional individuals, living or dead, is purely incidental and unintentional. The Author is a real person. His involvement in Diffle County affairs appears suspiciously fictional as well. 

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