There were sirens in the distance somewhere across

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Unformatted text preview: ouse, a missing pony, Civil War treasure, the legend of a headless slave, a rabid skunk. And all the usual stuff—court proceedings, elections, crime, new businesses, bankrupt businesses, new characters in town. I was tired of writing. And I was tired of Clanton. With some reluctance the town had come to accept me, especially when it became obvious I wasn't leaving. But it was a very small place, and at times I felt suffocated. I spent so many weekends at home, with little to do but read and write, that I became accustomed to it. And that frustrated me greatly. I tried the poker nights with Bubba Crocket and the Foxhole gang, and the redneck cook-outs with Harry Rex and company. But I never felt as though I belonged. Clanton was changing, and I was not happy with its direction. Like most small towns in the South, it was sprawling in all directions with no plan for its growth. Bargain City was booming, and the area around it was attracting every fast-food franchise imaginable. Downtown was declining, though the courthouse and the county government would always draw people. Strong political leaders were needed, folks with vision, and they were in short supply. On the other hand, I suspected the town was weary of me. Because of my preachy opposition to the war in Vietnam, I would always be considered a radical liberal. And I did little to diminish this reputation. As the paper grew and the profits increased, and as a direct result my skin got thicker, I editorialized more and more. I railed against closed meetings held by the city council and the county Board of Supervisors. I sued to get access to public records. I spent one year bitching about the almost complete lack of zoning and land-use management in the county, and when Bargain City came to town I said way Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, too much. I ridiculed the state's campaign finance laws, which were designed to allow rich people to elect their favorites. And when Danny Padgitt was set free, I unloaded on the p...
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