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A Cut Above the Monkey Trial

According to Dad, he was born in a hospital above a drug store in Dayton, Tennessee. That building was an institution.

The Scopes Trial occurred in Dayton, Tennessee. Only, it didn’t start at the storied courthouse with the battle between William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow in what was the biggest courtroom in the state.

The seeds of it germinated in Robinson’s Drug Store on Main Street. Just imagine the possible twists in strategy, with laudanum available to enhance the ice cream float from the soda fountain. The folks behind the trial plotted, and they planned. In 21st century journalistic fashion, they stirred up a story that became an international sensation.

Right inside the building where my father was born.

We toured the courthouse, and Dad talked so much that we all worked up an appetite. When we walked into Cafe Pascale, Dad waltzed up to a table of strangers and made their acquaintance.

I was born right here in Dayton. I was. Above the old Robinson’s Drug Store. You know that place, do you? They done gone and tore it down, but I was born there. In the hospital upstairs. That Doctor Broyles – you remember him? – he circumcised me.

DAD!!!!!!!!! THOSE PEOPLE ARE EATING!!!!!!!!!

No, I’m not gonna eat much. Do you have any apple pie and ice cream?

38 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love this post! Laudanum in the ice cream floats? I wonder whether that recipe ever made it to Texas.

    Your dad sounds like he would be a pleasure to know. Give him my regards.

    October 14, 2012
    • Will do, Kathy. He loves to know people like reading about him. I could see opiate floats in Texas…….

      October 14, 2012
  2. Hey, sometimes you gotta trim the wood a bit.

    October 14, 2012
  3. I followed the link to the Scopes trial. Extraordinary. In Hartlepool,on the East Coast of England during the Napoleonic wars, there was a legendary trial of a monkey that had been washed ashore from a shipwreck. The monkey was suspected of being a French spy as he couldn’t answer any of the questions put to him and summararilly hung

    October 14, 2012
    • That is funny, Roger. That enmity goes back a long way.

      October 14, 2012
  4. So, Roy is somewhat circumspect, huh, who knew??

    October 14, 2012
  5. Years ago I remember training my E Tennessee representative and we found ourselves in Dayton, a fascinating town with extraordinary history and I can’t help but wonder whether your dad made a little bit of history of his own.

    October 14, 2012
  6. I was waiting for the penis with a cut above. Your father is HI-Larious.

    October 14, 2012
    • I do not even want to use the words ‘penis’ and ‘father’ in the same sentence. Oops………

      October 14, 2012
  7. Love the sense of “I own this town because I was born here.” My grandmother Rosa who moved to Summerville in the early 1920s once pronounced in a loud voice to a shopkeeper who had the audacity to ask her name to put on the repair ticket for her diamond bracelet watch that was being left with them, “My name! You don’t know who I am?” It wasn’t because she was such a snob, bit because she couldn’t fathom all the changes to the town she had lived in for more than 60 years. It was un-thinkable that people could live there and not know one another.

    October 14, 2012
    • I understand this dismay on some level, Cheryl. There’s comfort in small places. A different kind of family.

      October 14, 2012
      • connectionmaven #

        Yes. You’re right. It was unthinkable to her that the small town she’d lived in for so long had grown so large and that people would actually not know one another in that town.

        October 15, 2012
  8. Snort! Love this, Andra!

    October 14, 2012
    • Andra Watkins #

      Glad it gave you a laugh, Becky.

      October 14, 2012
  9. πŸ˜€ It’s good to share….maybe not over mealtimes though…

    October 14, 2012
    • Dad’s favorite place to overshare is at the table, Kate. Unsuspecting victims lurk everywhere in restaurants.

      October 15, 2012
      • kateshrewsday #

        Ha! You make me laugh out loud with these stories. Andra πŸ˜€

        October 15, 2012
      • I have spent a lot of time laughing this weekend. πŸ™‚ Glad you are enjoying.

        October 15, 2012
  10. Last year, October in fact, we stopped in the town of Williamsburg, Iowa where Tom’s father was born and raised. Looking for his childhood, we happened upon the pharmacy on the square. One of those places where they don’t know you, but, everybody knows your name. We got to talking with the third or fourth generation owner and, sure ’nuff, Tom’s uncle, Irish, the one everyone knew, was born above the pharmacy in the sometimes hospital. We even saw the register to prove it. Enjoy these times, Andra. They are special, even if Roy is Roy.

    October 14, 2012
    • That must be where lots of people were birthed once upon a time, Penny. I think that is a cool story about Tom’s uncle.

      Dad cracks me up more than anything else. He would be disappointed if I did not react.

      October 15, 2012
  11. What, Roy didn’t want to eat at Hooters? You dad sounds like a total HOOT!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    October 14, 2012
  12. Here’s the solemn truth! You dad would embarrass me, because I am so completely introverted. And at the very same time I so absolutely admire people with outgoing, gregarious and unselfconscious personalities! He really is a treasure, Andra. I really wish I could meet him! Meals optional. πŸ™‚

    October 14, 2012
    • Dad really doesn’t embarrass anyone, Debra. You would be too busy laughing to be embarrassed.

      October 15, 2012
  13. I am really enjoying your posts about your road trip with your dad. I lost my dad last summer, and I miss him terribly. Your dad sounds a lot like mine, especially the propensity to embarras. One example: my Dad and I were eating in a crowded northwoods restaurant a couple of years ago. In walked an acquantaince who happened to be mute and deaf. My Dad, very loudly, pointed out to me that he was “deaf and dumb.” Embarrassed, I quietly told him that was a rather offensive term, and he should lower his voice. “Why?” my Dad asked inoocently, “he can’t hear me.”

    October 15, 2012
  14. Oh danged if I wouldn’t just LOVE to meet your Daddy. Seriously. I have begun carrying around a recording instrument so I can catch some golden tidbit. Your Daddy is a book waiting to happen…Short Stories (Okay, Not So Short) by Roy. I even love the title. You come upon your storytelling honestly Andra. So envious of your travels with your two best men. πŸ™‚

    October 15, 2012
    • Many of my stories are somehow inspired by my Dad or by stories he tells.

      October 15, 2012
  15. Ha ha. Your dad sounds like fun.

    October 16, 2012
  16. Wonderful!

    October 18, 2012

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