Nobody has ever accused me of going to fast. 

In fact, my mom says I drive too slow. She always makes fun of me because I just kind of poke along. But, I actually drive the speed limit. That all goes back to high school.

My senior year, some friends and I decided we were going to see Night Ranger at the Peanut Festival in Dothan. The only problem was, the tickets went on sale while we were in school.  

So, being the good students that we were, we collected all the money from our classmates, the girls in particular, and then snuck off campus during study hall and drove to Enterprise to the nearest Ticketmaster. 

We got the tickets and headed back to school. We weren’t really worried about skipping school. Normally we’d get a paddling and that was it. But, this particular week, the principal had been dishing out work as punishment — like cutting grass or painting the bathroom.  

So, to avoid getting caught and put to work, I was driving way over the speed limit. That was when I saw the big black and white in the rear view mirror. So, 30 minutes later I had a ticket for going 20 miles over the speed limit, and shortly after we were painting the bathroom at the school.

Back then I worked at the Piggly Wiggly and it took a week and a half of paychecks to pay the ticket. 

The Interstate is pretty much the exception. To me, the Interstate is pretty much like the Wild West — just about anything goes. The last time I visited my mom, on the way home I was speeding along in the Interstate — well what I consider speeding. Half the people were going a lot faster than me. 

Until we all got to Clanton. Everything started slowing down. At first I thought it was a bottleneck at the Clanton exit. But, then I saw cars lined up a long way off in the distance. And then everybody just slowed down to a creeping pace. 

It took me another half hour to creep up to the Jemison-Thorsby exit. I figured there was an accident, so I decided to get some gas and hopefully things would speed up while I was stopped.

While I was paying, a policeman came in and told the clerk to get ready for a busy night because there was an accident in Birmingham and traffic on the Interstate was backed up for 50 miles. 

Now, there’s sticking to the speed limit and then there’s sitting in traffic. I’m not too keen on sitting in traffic. So, I pulled out the map and started looking for another way around Birmingham. After looking at the map for a couple of minutes, I took off on some back road toward Highway 45.

I had to go 55 mph, but I figured that was better than zero. There wasn’t another soul in sight so, I figured it would be a pretty pleasant drive. It turns out I was wrong. 

About half the people on the Interstate had the same idea as me. So, as I was creeping through Pell City, I wondered if they had cleared up the accident in Birmingham.  

Huck Treadwell’s column appears Tuesdays. 

 

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