Leroy “Bubba” Richman – Southern Democrat
By Richard E. Noble
I have this sorta friend. His name is Leroy “Bubba” Richman. He lives in the Plantation on St George Island. He is very, very rich. I know this because he lets me know how truly wealthy he is in every conversation we have or have ever had. His taxes for the year are more than I have ever earned in a year – maybe two years. I know what his taxes are because he has told me – many, many times. His home on the island is worth several million, he says.
I first met Leroy shooting pool at Charlie’s bar in Eastpoint many years ago. He is originally from Alabama. He made his fortune the hard way – selling aluminum siding. Before the aluminum siding he sold mobile homes.
For some reason he likes to hang around poor people. That’s how we became friends. He is into politics. Well, he isn’t into anything but he talks a lot of politics. He says that he is a Democrat. I told him that he was no such thing. I know a Democrat when I hear one. I told him that he was a Southern Democrat aka a Redneck Republican. He said that he was not a Redneck Republican but a true Democrat. He is just not like those “weird” Democrats that they have up North. He really didn’t use the word weird. He had his own synonym. It rhymes with words like deer and leer.
One of the many things that he doesn’t like is volunteer fire departments. He says, “If them boys want to play with fire trucks they should buy their own and not ask me to pay for it.”
Because Bubba Richman pays substantial income taxes along with his substantial property taxes, he feels like he is paying for everything, including everyone’s salary.
When he gets done eating at any local restaurant that he enjoys, he will tell the owner that he will be “supporting” him in the future. That means that he will be back again to eat.
He spoke out (at Charlie’s) against the volunteer fire department when they were first considering a local fire tax to support the department.
I thought he wanted something better. That was not the case. He wanted something worse.
“If them boys want to play fire chief, let ‘em do it. They aint getting’ paid now and they love it. Why start paying ‘em.”
“Well, the tax isn’t for salaries it is for more professional equipment and training. At the moment in Eastpoint they have an old fire truck that was built at the original Ford motor company and if they can get it started they tie a shrimp boat mooring line to the back bumper and drag a water truck behind it.”
“So that’s good enough for you and your ten million dollar home on the Island?”
“Listen son, if my home burns down, I will just build a new one. I don’t care nor do I need a fire department. The fire department is for my neighbors and folks like you. You folks want it, you should pay for it, not me. I don’t need it.”
“But aren’t we all members of a community? Shouldn’t we all chip in and do our part?”
“You can do your part by buying some insurance. If everybody had insurance, we wouldn’t need a fancy fire department. As long as that truck on a rope gets there to wet down the ground around the burning house, who cares. That’s good enough. And all those volunteers can play fireman all they want to.”
“Well, you know if I were a volunteer fireman and I thought that everybody thought like you, I wouldn’t volunteer any more.”
“Oh yes you would.”
“Why would I?”
“Because you like playing on fire trucks.”
“I don’t like playing on fire trucks.”
“Not you, but them guys that do that.”
“You just don’t want to pay any taxes.”
“I pay enough taxes. With all I pay in taxes we should have a fire department here in Franklin County like they have in New York City.”
“Why don’t you move to New York City? Then with all the taxes you pay you would have the fire department that you deserve.”
“I like the fire department I got right now. An old water truck on a rope is fine. That’s all we need around here. You are the one that wants a better fire department.”
“I didn’t ask for a better fire department. I have an old junk trailer. If it burns to the ground, I’ll go a find another old junk trailer.”
“See, now your thinking like me. Let me buy you another beer.”
“No way man. You start buying me beers and somehow you’re going to think that you own me. I don’t want your sorry butt “supporting” me too.”
“See, now you are becoming a Southern Democrat, instead of one of them “funny” Yankee Democrats they got up there where you come from.”
[Please don’t show this column to anyone currently volunteering on our local fire departments. I love people who volunteer for anything. I wish that they could all get paid. I wish that volunteers had a union. I am not a Southern Democrat. I’m a damn Yankee Democrat.]