Now You See It And Now You…
“THINGS ARE FINE IN MOUNT IDY, SHE GOES ON.”
That was the opening line that an old comedian used at the start of his act. He would read fictional letters from his Mamma back in the old home town of Mount Idy. I think you would have to be at least 60 years old to remember him.
He was always introduced as “Cliff Arquette as Charley Weaver,” and he was a regular guest on the Tonight Show for years. Later he was part of the “Hollywood Squares” collection of celebrities.
The reason I bring him up today is that I feel a bit like Charley Weaver some days as I report on the “goings on” in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Elsie Krack doesn’t live here.”). This is a town that has a rather sordid past and a questionable future, but right now there is an abundant supply of strange, unusual, crazy, and “you gotta be kidding me,” stuff going on.
Let me give you an example.
Huh? What? Come again?
The FBI raiding the School Board offices?
The rest of the day was filled with pictures of FBI people walking out of the offices with boxes and the occasional computer. Everybody in the building was brought out – carrying nothing with them. The head of the School District was seen leaving the building as well, but taking a shortcut between buildings away from the scene. When the School Board’s lawyer showed up he was “politely escorted from the scene.”
FBI don’t fool around – no how.
Things are fine in Terre Haute, he goes on.
While the FBI was conducting their scavenger hunt in the downtown offices of the School District (For some reason, in Indiana, the School Districts are called “School Corporations.”) there were other Honey Bunches of Feds doing the same at two other School District properties.
Officially there hasn’t been one word about why the FBI was visiting our fair city en masse and leaving with so many souvenirs.
UNofficially though a number of things have become known. The tight cloak of silence about all of this business leaked like a colander.
The word on the street is that this whole shooting match can somehow be summed up in one word: Fraud.
One curious sidebar on all of this has been the reaction of the local news wannabes. For three days this was all they could talk about. There were cameras set up outside the School District offices with “Live reports from the scene” during every newsbreak. They had nothing to “report,” of course, but that didn’t matter. The newspaper ran banner headlines and then rehashed the stories that they had run the day before – hopefully with better grammar and spelling. This went on for three days without letup – but on Day Four it was as if the whole thing had never happened. Not one word could be read or heard indicating that the FBI had ever been here.
Let’s hear it for Hard Hitting Journalism.
I always liked Charley Weaver. He was funny by playing with you. He was never mean or insulting. His humor was all about families and life in a small town with all the characters you meet there.
Here are a couple of quotes from his “Mount Idy” letters.
“I was going to send you that $5 I owe you but I see I have already sealed the envelope.”
“Well, son, I must close now and go help your father. He just went down to the barn to feed the pigs with Grandpa Ogg. There’s a big fist fight going on down there. Grandpa doesn’t want to be fed to the pigs.”
All I can add to this is –