He had to be just about the happiest, dumbest redneck on the planet at that moment.
There he was, at twilight Sunday, sitting astride one of those fat-tire four-wheelers, in the middle of a big muddy spot at the end of the Doctors Hospital Field in Evans. He seemed intent on making the field muddier: around and around he spun, spewing up wet red clay in all directions.
And I wished I could snatch him bald-headed.
The big open field in Evans, behind Kroger, has become a treasured community asset. A couple of soccer teams regularly play on the field, and baseball and football leagues in their seasons also use the grassy expanse.
Plenty of non-team users regularly visit the site, too. Windy, sunny days find kite-flyers enjoying the open space; calm days draw golfers to the free driving range, and model airplane hobbyists to the impromptu airfield.
Bigger community events have found a haven at the field. Planners already are working on the third annual Red, White & Blue Veterans Celebration, which will be held May 24 and again include a fireworks show. FireFest has used the field, as have circuses and other big outdoor events.
Best of all, the whole thing is free. Its not a government-run park; the field is owned by Doctors Hospital. Even maintenance of the site is free to the public; the acreage is regularly manicured by workers testing out tractors from the John Deere factory in Grovetown.
Doctors Hospital eventually will build on the site when market conditions justify the construction of new medical facilities. Until then, the company graciously allows near-unrestricted use of its property. And citizens have generally used their access responsibly.
Just lately, though, some clueless folks have seemed destined to spoil the whole thing for everyone.
It started with just a few kids on little motorbikes. Brought to the site in pickups, the kids were dressed head to toe in protective gear, and safely buzzed around the big, open field while moms or dads watched.
It was only a matter of time before more people caught on to the attraction, and bigger and faster motorized other high-powered off-road vehicles starting showing up. Id seen the trend and worried.
Then, Sunday night, there he was: The pinnacle of ruin-it-for-everyone jackassery, the dumb redneck spinning and spewing in circles on his mud-bogging four-wheeler.
Im just waiting for Doctors Hospital to see how their generosity is no longer appreciated by slack-jawed yokels who think nothing of tearing up the grass where kids would otherwise safely play soccer or fly a kite. The corporate suits will get fed up - or start to worry about lawsuits - and soon the No Trespassing signs will appear. No more kite-flying, no more baseball, no more shagging golf balls on a sunny Saturday.
All because some selfish idiot on a four-wheeler got a mindless thrill out of spinning his machine in circles, digging up someone elses mud - and ruining everyone elses fun.
Speaking of spinning in mindless circles, the Columbia County Re-publican Party convention is Saturday. Given first choice between attending as a spectator or getting run over by a four-wheeler, I might be inclined to lie down in the dirt. Lucky for me, I wont be able to attend.
Well have a reporter or two on hand to watch as the partys leadership continues to battle the officials elected under its banner. The big fight will be between Alvin Starks, seeking re-election as party chairman, and challenger Lee Muns, a school board member. Itll be as ugly as a train wreck, and about as fun as getting run over by a redneck in a mud bog. Only not as clean.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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