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You Want To Put A Stop Sign Where?

I had a headache within five minutes of waking up Tuesday morning.

Senator Ted Cruz and his entourage started the ball rolling. I have dubbed their antics the “shitdown” of the government; and if any of my readers are offended by my play on profanity, I apologize but I do not retract. That is what this grandstanding is.

Now on to when the headache really kicked in.

Half awake and mumbling about how stupid certain elected officials were, I went to the kitchen to get my coffee. It was than that the sound of a jack hammer on concrete and a sledge-hammer on metal broke the morning silence.

Looking out the window, I saw four men in orange vests. Three were putting up new stop signs at the intersection. The fourth was drilling holes about two or three feet from the front steps of the store. You got it — right in front of the old rock store.

The Crossroads Store, 1903

“What the hell?” I said aloud.

I threw a shirt over my workout clothes, tried to tame my flyaway hair, and literally ran out the door — without my coffee (poor guys).

The first man I encountered was driving metal poles right in front of the rock steps leading up into my yard. He looked at me and his expression said, “This is one crazy lady.”

“You need to stop what you are doing right now. I know you are following instructions, but please don’t swing that sledge-hammer one more time until I talk to your crew boss.”

The worker using the jack hammer on the paved apron in front of the store was frozen, staring at me as I ran across the intersection.

“This won’t work. Fill those holes up right now, please.”

He nodded his head and immediately did as I asked (I should have tried these blunt tactics with men before now).

The crew boss crossed the road, introduced himself, and shook my hand. “I knew this was going to be a problem as soon as I got here,” he admitted.

“Well, you got that one right, sir,” I answered.

“I’m pretty sure whoever drew up these plans has never set foot out here,” he added. “I’ll put in a call to the project manager.”

After three or four failed attempts to make a connection (the state uses AT&T cell service), he turned away and talked into his phone for a few seconds. “He’s on his way.”

“Okay. I’m going to go over and have a few sips of coffee…I think you will agree I need it.”

We both laughed.

Two hours later, and still no project manager. The crew had finished putting up the new signs where the old ones were (I still haven’t figured this one out. The old ones were perfectly fine; and, oh, by the way, a stop sign and two poles cost $800. So we are up to $4,000 so far in materials alone). “We’ve done all we can,” said the crew chief. “I’m going to put the signs we didn’t use behind the store. The project manager says he will be here eventually.”

Six hours after he was due, the project boss arrived. I saw him pull off the road and went out on the porch to greet him. It was three o’clock and one of the many peak traffic times at the Crossroads. As he walked toward the store, a loaded log truck tried to make the turn from Highway 219 onto 18. The DOT manager stopped and stared. The lumbering machine ran right over the freshly repaired holes in front of the store…right where the DOT worker was jack-hammering.

“Well, there went your stop sign,” I said. “That happens numerous times on a daily basis.”

He stared with disbelief.

Shaking his head, he came up on the porch and unfolded what I am sure was a very expensive set of blueprints showing where the stop signs should go. “That just made these pretty useless,” he said.

“I glanced at them. Do you see a store or a house indicated there?” I asked.

“Nope,” he answered.

There was no reason to discuss it…the proof was in the log truck.

There are more hoops through which to jump. This is not over yet. Up to this point, the subcontractor and project manager have been more than cooperative, and local officials have been enormously supportive. The Georgia Department of Transportation is a huge bureaucracy, however, with more layers than a Southern lemon cheese cake.  I continue to await a visit from the next boss in line, and I am certain there will be another boss and another.

But I can assure you of one thing: before they put a damn stop sign three feet in front of my store, they will have to pick up and move the chair in which I sit.

Stay tuned.

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