I saw lots of trucks stuck under that underpass, and one night my partner and I received a call that a truck was stuck under that underpass. Whiz started to laugh when we got in sight of the underpass.
Turkeys were everywhere. They covered the road and railroad. We pulled up and got out and went over to the front of the truck. The driver was still inside. We saw that this was one of the big trucks that hauled live chicken and turkeys. The driver had jammed the cab in under the underpass. About half the load of turkeys were dumped in the street on the back side of the underpass. I went over and managed to get the door open and checked out the driver. He looked at me and said” what in the world did I hit”?.
“You, my friend, hit a railroad underpass”.
“UNDERPASS? I didn’t see any underpass. Where did it come from?”
“Somebody probably pushed it in front of you” I said laughing. I got him out from under the underpass and begin a check of him. I smelled no alcohol on him. Whiz took his licenses and begin checking them.
“Where have you been?” I asked. He looked down at the ground and muttered something that I couldn’t hear.
“Speak up,” I said. He turned red and said “I was at that house at the corner of Chambers and East First.” I looked at Whiz and we both burst out laughing.
“You wouldn’t be talking about that house that sits up on the rise at the corner of East First and Chambers streets that has all the pretty girls there would you.” I watched as a funny look came on his face.
“That’s the one” he said looking down at the ground.
I laughed and looking at Whiz asked, “Did you hear where he has been?”
“I heard that. No wonder he couldn’t see the underpass,” Whiz said. “Come on feller lets do some paperwork.”
I WENT UP ON the railroad and crossed down on the other side of the underpass. I remember seeing a sight that only happens in movies. There were people everywhere chasing turkeys. The turkeys not wanting any part of it were running, flying, flapping their wings and making a noise that filled the air. I went down the side of the railroad and came up behind the truck. There had been at least five layers of crates filled with turkeys on the truck. Three layers had been taken off when the truck went under the underpass. The truck was jammed with the cab sticking out of the underpass and the crates on the other side.
I knew that Whiz had called for a wrecker and that it would come down Chambers. I just took in the show. A woman had a turkey dragging him down the street by the leg. I watched a man who thought he could hem a turkey between him and a telephone pole, advance on the turkey. He made a dive for the turkey and the turkey flew straight up. He missed the turkey and hit the telephone pole head on. He straighten up turned as if he was going to walk away then fell flat on his face. I heard a woman scream “You alright?” He lay still not moving. I started to him when a woman ran by me and knelt down beside him. She turned him over his face was covered in blood. The people in a house close by were watching the people and the turkeys. The woman came out carrying a wet towel .She gave it to the woman who wrapped it around the man's head. “ You know him?”, I asked. “ He’s my husband,” she sobbed. “I will call you an ambulance — he needs to go to the hospital.”
IN THOSE DAYS there were no ambulance services. The funeral homes furnished the ambulance service. By the time that I had got back to where the man lay on the sidewalk I could hear the ambulance start up from Jennings Funeral Home on North Broad Street. I knelt down beside the man. He moved his eyes but didn’t say anything. The siren on the ambulance was getting closer, “It will be here in a few minutes.” His wife looked up with tears in her eyes, “Thank you officer,” she said.
I guided the ambulance in and with the man loaded, they headed to the hospital.
I looked around to see what else was happening.
There coming up the street was an old lady carrying a turkey that was almost as big as she was. “ Thanksgiving dinner” I asked. “No sir,” she said “This is going to be my pet. I am going to put him in the fence with my others babies.”
I kept walking and looking. Everywhere you looked someone had a turkey in their arms heading down the street. The wrecker came in and pulled the truck back from under the underpass. With the busted crates piled on the truck and the few remaining turkeys secured we let him go on his way.
WE LEFT with people still chasing turkeys all over the place. The lady who said that the turkey was going to be her pet took it up to her house and put it in the pen with some chickens that she had. She could be seen out in the morning feeding her chickens and turkey.
It was months later that we received a call to a house on Watters street. When we got there we realized that it was the house where the lady had got her a turkey for a pet. We got out and were met by the lady who had tears in her eyes. “What the problem?” I asked.
“Officer” she said with tears in her eyes, “some one stole baby Tom.”
“Someone did what?”
“Someone stole my baby Tom” she said. “There.” she said, pointing toward a hole in the fence. “Someone came in here while I was asleep and cut a hole in the fence. They took my baby Tom’
We took the report while the tears rolled down her cheeks. Once back in the car neither of us spoke. We talked about it later. We wondered how anyone could steal an old lady’s pet. Even after all those years I can close my eyes and see that little old lady carrying a turkey almost as big as she was, not to eat but to have as a pet. The question that has haunted me though the years , how could anyone steal from a little old lady who chose not to eat the turkey but to make him a pet.
Lonie Adcock of Rome is a retired Rome Police Department lieutenant. His latest book, “Memories of an Old Geezer,” is now available.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The house that Adcock refers to as sitting on the corner of East First and Chambers streets was Peggy’s, a known house of prostitution according to Rome News-Tribune archives. Peggy’s burned down in 1972, according to a story in the newspaper.