By RAMON PRESSON
As Tennessee continues to be an attractive state in which to live and work, more and more transplants are losing touch with some of the important news happening in their home state. I’m here to help. Over the last few months here are some events you may have missed while you’ve been away.
Alaska: TSA agents at Juneau airport got a surprise when an inspection of a passenger’s carry-on bag revealed a plastic grocery bag full of dried moose manure. The passenger was not detained and was allowed to board the plane with his collection. Later that day, the Anchorage Daily News reported that a man was seen at the state capitol, handing out baggies of “moose nuggets” in protest of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget. What ever happened to just holding up protest signs and shouting slogans in unison over and over?
Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown recently ordered the state highway patrol to round up and bring back to Salem the Republican senators who had fled the state capitol ahead of a scheduled vote on a piece of legislation they opposed. My question is this: “Is having politicians run, hide and refusing to come to work actually a negative thing?”
Illinois: Folks on Chicago’s west side can breathe a sigh of relief now that a 5-foot long alligator has been captured in Humboldt Park where it was frightening visitors. My biggest question is not “How did an alligator end up in Chicago?” My question is “How did a gator in Chicago not get shot by at least 50 people before police arrived?”
New Jersey: A state not exactly known for having the most honest or the brightest politicians through its history can add Rep. Christopher Smith to its Hall of Shame. During a recent congressional hearing in D.C., Smith, known to like a good conspiracy theory, demanded to know “if the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects for use as a biological weapon.” The Defense Department responded, “No, we did not. Furthermore, we are not responsible for the air and water in Newark being biological weapons.” OK, I made that last part up.
Texas: But I’m not making this up — Cody Esser of Austin made news by traveling 1,600 miles to stop and shop at all 33 Buc-ee’s in the lone star state within three days. For non-Texans, Buc-ee’s is a Lake Jackson-based chain of convenience stores and gas stations scattered through Texas. As spiritual pilgrimages go, I’ve never considered how meaningful it might be to jump into my Camry and hit the 100-plus Mapco stores in Tennessee on a long weekend.
Alabama: Texans will be disappointed to hear that an Alabama steer has just seized the Guinness World Record for a Texas longhorn with the longest set of horns. Hailing from just outside Ashland, six-year old Poncho Via’s rack stretches 10 feet, 7.4 inches from tip to tip. That’s twice the width of a concert grand piano and longer than the face on the Statue of Liberty.
By the way, University of Texas fans, at age 6 Bama Poncho’s horns haven’t stopped growing yet. The previous youngest record holder was 9 and the oldest was 15. The owner says that the steer’s name is a playful nod to the famous 1920’s Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa. Who says that Alabamans don’t know their early 20th century Mexican history?
Minnesota: Speaking of the accomplishments of youngsters, last month 4-year-old Sebastian Becker of Blaine, took his great grandfather’s SUV on a joy ride to the store for candy. Sebastian backed the Hyundai Santa Fe out of the driveway, made his way through neighborhood streets before driving down a busy four-lane street during morning rush hour after snatching the keys from a hook on the wall using his grandpa’s walker.
A witness reported someone driving erratically around 10 mph to 15 mph, but it wasn’t until Sebastian made it safely to the Speedway gas station that police realized it was a child behind the wheel. Impressive as it sounds, Sebastian’s driving skills weren’t completely flawless. He did take out a few mailboxes and dinged a tree along the way during the 1.5-mile trip. I’d say that makes Sebastian as good a driver as most 16 year olds with a driver’s license.
Tune in next week for Meanwhile Back in Your Home State Part 3 to see if your homeland made the list. If you missed Part 1 you can read it here
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson