Events on the lawn


There is one thing my Kiwanis Club is not real good at doing and that’s making money by selling tickets for something. What we are really good at though, is making Karmelcorn. It’s outstanding.

So we were doing just this Saturday on the courthouse square and I was sitting there for a number of hours and it made me think of all the events and various happenings that have taken place on that lawn. I am pleased to say I have been fortunate to have been a part of some of them and all the memories are good ones.

Going way back first, there were Confederate soldiers briefly garrisoned on its courthouse lawn in 1864; gypsies sold their wares on the lawn in the 1930s and 1940s; also local ladies throughout that time period would make jams and jellies and sell on the lawn to earn funds to build a library. I’m happy to say they finally were able to do that and that facility today is home to the county historical society.

As I’ve previously mentioned, in 1971 C. J. Mowell and I decided the county’s 150th anniversary should be celebrated and we set about doing that. 

Governor Jimmy Carter was elected in November, 1970 and we booked him for the first opening day in the next June. We also invited Lester Maddox, but knew they should be invited on different days and had Lester come the next Thursday.

Carter brought his three-year- old daughter, Amy, who was trotted around with a state patrolman. Of course you always have a parade at these events and when my three-year-old daughter came by in the parade, looked up and saw me holding a three-year-old girl, folks, if looks could kill, Amy Carter never would have made it to Brown University.

Oddly enough, my daughter has worked for Delta in Denver for over 20 years and in that time Amy has come to her ticket window twice. Of course that was not the time or place to play “I remember when” so my daughter would just smile inwardly and handle the transaction.

One time we were placing a monument to all Fayette County soldiers killed in battle on the old courthouse lawn and invited Senator Herman Talmadge to speak. We did not know he had never been invited to Fayette County in the 22 years he had been our senator and he was delighted to be there. We got the bright idea to drop 200 red carnations from a helicopter onto the area we were sitting in. The police chief in Peachtree City was going to radio the police chief in Fayetteville when the helicopter took off. You know what often happens to the best laid plans – the Fayetteville police chief did not stay in his car to get the message and we needed to warn Sen. Talmadge what was about to happen.

Here comes the helicopter and the senator is still speaking and zoom, here come 200 carnations upon us. The helicopter pilot did a good job and very few landed in trees. We quickly explained everything to the senator who took it all in good stride. A small child handed him one of the flowers, which the senator promptly laid on the monument and it turned out to be a precious memory.