Darrell Huckaby - News of the weird warms the heart on cold days

Is January over?

No. Didn't think so. Although we've had pretty mild weather ourselves, so far (I was out walking in a T-shirt and shorts as recently as Wednesday) WSB's Kirk Mellish reported Friday that conditions are favorable to create some of the coldest weather of the past decade before the end of the week, with a couple of chances for winter precipitation here in the Peach State.

So much for the Global Warming crowd. And weren't they the ones who warned that gasoline would be $12 a gallon by Easter - but still insist we shouldn't drill in Alaska?

Just checking.

But the weather isn't what's on my mind today. Not really. Cabin fever is what is really on my mind. Cabin fever is a disease that affects normally sane and rational people in January and I am convinced that these people do things they wouldn't normally do because they have been cooped up inside with their significant others - or their parents, in the case of teenagers and young kids - way too long. It gets to them. It makes them a little bit crazy.

And being a little bit crazy is the only explanation I can come up with for some of the things that have occurred in this country during the first weeks of the winter. Want an example or three? Happy to oblige!

In Arkansas a 43-year-old man faces a Jan. 23 court date for maintaining a basement meth lab. Now, I know what you are thinking. What's so unusual about that? We hear about meth lab raids all the time. Shoot fire. You might have had one in your own neighborhood recently.

But this guy, Robert Lee Lewis, allegedly had his in the basement of a funeral home. Now that's just weird. I don't want to judge the guy too harshly, though. Maybe business was a little dead and he needed to make a little extra money.

But Robert Lee's case isn't even in the running for the stupidest story of the month. Way out in Montana, where it has been cold for a while - let's just put it this way; folks haven't been taking walks in T-shirts and shorts - a school bus driver has run afoul of the law, not to mention the school district, because she made a liquor store run, just before Christmas, in her school bus.

Just a little word of advice here. The big cheese wagon is usually pretty noticeable, and if you park one in front of a liquor store - or a bar or an adult bookstore or an Asian massage parlor, for that matter, there's a good chance someone might just notice - even in Montana - and report you to the authorities. That's what happened in this case.

Now the driver - who happened to be a female - apparently didn't have any students on the bus when she made her misguided pit stop, but by the time the police pulled her over, she did. No problem - or so she thought. She just asked one of the young girls she was driving to middle school to hide the booze in her book bag.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case but I think it is safe to say that those students had a new driver on their route when the new year started.

But, hey. Getting to school can be tough. Take the case of two teens - one 15 and the other 16 - in Rhode Island. They missed their school bus Tuesday morning. Maybe they assumed the driver would be late because she needed to stop at the liquor store, I don't know. But the kids were in a bind because, like I said, they had missed their bus and needed to get to Woonsocket High School. What to do? What to do?

No problem. They just stole a car and drove it to school. According to police, he parked it right in the school parking lot. When police arrived on the scene they found one of the kids sitting in an in-school suspension room - imagine that - with the keys to the stolen car in his pocket.

At least they weren't tardy. Thank goodness for that. 

My favorite story of the week, however, involves a Lincoln, Neb., woman who was accused of shoplifting a key chain in a Sioux Falls, S.D., shopping mall. 

Who would shoplift a key chain, for goodness sakes? Whatever. She was busted. And when the police got there, they found pain pills in her purse - pain pills that she apparently had attained without benefit of a prescription.

This lady had an ingenious way to avoid arrest, however. She began to complain of acute labor pains. Instead of being taken to jail in a police car she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

There was one small problem. She wasn't in labor. In fact, she wasn't even pregnant.

They added the ambulance ride to her fine, just in case you were thinking of using her tactic the next time you get caught shoplifting.

But nothing on the AP wire, which is where I found all this stuff, was as strange as the Braves letting John Smoltz go to Boston. That takes the cake. Somebody in that front office must really need to get out more.

Hey, the ground hog will be here in about three weeks. Spring is sure to follow.


Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.