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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P1.. A  Treasure Box Story

23 Jun

Friday (June 20th) after my wife and I returned our granddaughter to her parents we decided we needed adult beverages and Italian for dinner.  We were no more than a mile from our home and passed two extremely large firework tents. Which reminded Steph of a story I shared with her a million years ago, she turned to me and asked “Have you shared that firework story on your blog?”  Nope I said, she then said you should.  

So here it is. I have been arrested one time (so far) during my life, but I have spent 4 nights in jail over the years (3 completely different occasions), with the last time close to 40 years ago.  Before my arrest for DUI in 1968, I was honored to spend 2 nights as a (controlled) visitor in a tiny little town in Northern Tennessee just a few short miles from the Kentucky State line. The final time was while I was in the Navy; the MP’s got me for disorderly conduct.  I wasn’t arrested or charged, just allowed to cool my jets for a bit, and released. But the story Steph wanted me to share dealt with the 2 nights I was a visitor in Tennessee. 

Back when this event occurred Kentucky was not repeat was not very liberal regarding the sale of fireworks, as a matter of fact; most things beyond your sparklers were not allowed to be sold in KY.  But Tennessee was much more liberal at the time, you could just about anything that exploded in Tennessee, and you could buy in large quantities.  

In early June 1968 a friend and I thought we would take up a collection (or orders) and drive down to TN to buy fireworks for friends and neighbors (covering our costs and making a bit of a profit).  It was a great idea and was well accepted by both our friends and many of the Dads (our collection pot runnith over). 

My friend and I decided which Saturday we were going to make the run down to TN, and even invited our girlfriends for the adventure.  Though at the time we didn’t realize just how much of an adventure it was going to be.  We collected the funds from those that wanted to participate, and made our final arrangements.  That Friday night before we were to depart, the father of a friend called and asked if we were going to go thru XXXXX on the way to our destination, a quick look at the map confirmed that we would indeed be going thru XXXXX.  He asked if I minded if we made a side stop and pick up a package for him.  He would donate 25 bucks towards expenses if we just picked up this package and deliver it to him unopened.  I spoke to my partner, told him about the “package” and we exchanged knowing smiles we agreed to pick it up. 

The next morning we gathered our girlfriends (his girlfriend was 14, mine was 15) put the roof down on my car, and started our trip from Kentucky into Tennessee.  The trip south was totally uneventful, I don’t have a clue as to how long it took to get there, or where we stopped, I just remember the trip being totally uneventful. 

When picked up the package that we had been instructed to, placed it the trunk of my car, and threw a blanket over it.  

Then we proceeded to one of the several Firework sales locations we had passed, and had a blast buying all manner of fireworks, we had specific names and specific quantities and approximate costs.  It was like going to the fireworks grocery store.  A little of this a bunch of that, some of those, a 2 boxes of this, and just kept loading the cart. It was a “Don’t forget the milk,” kinda deal.  My friend and I knew we were going to be hero’s, and we knew we were going to make some good change, and nobody was going to take a beating.  We gathered up our purchases, carried them out to the car, opened the trunk and threw them neatly under the blanket with that package we picked up. 

On the way out of town we stopped at some diner, had lunch, and filled the car with gas before heading north.  Back then gas was still less that 20 cents yes 20 cents a gallon. We were good to go, and we were headed north back to Kentucky. 

Of course I was not following the posted speed limit, heck I never have, always heavy on the right foot. When lo and behold there in my rearview mirror was a police car with his lights a flashing.  Being honest we had just passed a sign say 4 miles to the Kentucky State Line, and for a tiny moment I considered making a run for the line.  But that thought when away almost as quickly as it had arrived.  Besides it was only going to be a speeding ticket. Lord knows it wouldn’t be the 1st time I got a speeding ticket.  So I pulled over.  My friend pulled the registration from the glove box, and I dug my driver’s license out of my wallet.  The police officer ambled his way up side the car, and asked if I had any idea why he stopped me, I looked him dead in the eyes and said most likely cause I was going faster than the posted speed limit.  He smiled and said yelp that would be one of the reasons. He looked at my friend and our girlfriends and asked for ID, my friend dug his driver’s license out and handed it over, but neither of the girls (again ages 14 and 15) had license’s, and freely admitted their age.  The cop just shook his head and politely asked if he could search the car.  We had about 200 dollars in fireworks in the trunk which we bought just down the road, and we were still in TN, besides this was back in the day when you didn’t argue with cops, so I said sure, got out of the car (we all did), and he commenced to looking throughout the passenger compartment, finding nothing of interest he asked me to open the trunk.  I had a feeling that the shit was about to hit the fan, I just had no clue how much shit it was going to be.   The 1st thing he saw was all the fireworks, scattered all over the trunk. Looking at me, he said where exactly was I planning on using these and when (it was still a couple weeks before the 4th of July).  So honesty played out and I said we intended to take them home and use them on the 4th.  He asked if I realized it was illegal to transport fireworks across state line, and I tried the ole innocent me thing, going on no sir I didn’t know that.  I knew he wasn’t buying it and I figured I was about to lose $200 worth of fireworks. But then he pushed the blanket off the box that we had picked up.  He asked if I knew what was in the box, and because we had not opened it I could honestly say that “No Sir, I have no idea what is in the box.” To which he replied, “Let’s open it and see.”  As much as I would like to say how surprised my friend and I were when the cop opened the box and found four gallons of TN moonshine, we both kinda figured out that was what we were picking up.  And that folks is when the SHIT really hit the FAN. 

We were directed to get back in car and follow him to the local sheriff office, which we did, he directed me to put the top, lock up the car, and give him the keys.  The 4 of us were herded into a cell and the door closed (but not locked).  He was holding my friend and my driver’s licenses, and the keys to my car which was just outside the police office, (the place reminded me of police office in Mayberry) so he had all the info on us, but the girls (both minors from KY in TN), was causing him all manner of concern. 

End of part 1

Smiling yes this is too long to be a single post. As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 

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11 responses to “I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P1.. A  Treasure Box Story

  1. benzeknees

    June 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    OK, I’m hooked! On to Part 2!

     
    • FlaHam

      June 24, 2014 at 5:51 am

      Benze, Smiling, I am glad it caught you. Now to drag you in with the rest of the story. Take care, Bill

       
  2. kgbethlehem

    June 24, 2014 at 12:00 am

    wow,, and more wow. I hope you are ok..
    after going through all of that.

     
    • FlaHam

      June 24, 2014 at 5:47 am

      Kay, Smiling it was almost 50 years ago, and I was over it before we even got out of Tennessee. Softer smile, my GF at the time, took it a little harder than the rest of us, and she didn’t stay my GF, but she did love the free plane ride home. Especially the fact that it was a private plane. Take care, Bill

       
  3. Clowie

    June 28, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I’ll keep my questions till I’ve read the rest!

     
  4. curtb714

    September 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    To the Bill Hamilton family please accept my condolences. Was shocked and greatly saddened to hear of Bill’s passing and the world has lost a very good man. Best wishes and God bless.

     
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