Friday, October 30, 2009

Hangman's Corner: No Longer PC

Several years ago a Huntsville businessman hanged a parking meter. Yes, he really did, and he did it as a symbol of his campaign against charging shoppers for parking in downtown Huntsville. One might have expected support for this businessman from various circles, if not the entire population of Huntsville. What did the man receive for his dramatic political statement? Everything from "tut-tuts" to threats of physical harm. It seems the noose has become the Southeast's equivalent of the Swastika.

As University of North Alabama football has come into its own, more downtown stores decorate with the purple and gold than the orange and black traditionally associated with the season. Halloween decorations are usually minimal, if they exist at all; but things were not always this way.

Many of us who grew up in the Shoals remember when the southeast corner of Court and Tuscaloosa Streets turned into "Hangman's Corner" every fall. No stuffed miscreants were ever abused, but the noose was always there, hanging down amid the colorful falling leaves and adding to the holiday spirit.

Legend decreed that there had been an actual lynching at the current site of the Wine Seller. Was there? We have no idea, and we seriously doubt that anyone who looked at the noose and smiled at the decoration placed any diabolical symbolism in it.

But, so it's gone, along with the practice of tipping outhouses from our grandparents' day and thousands of other traditions that have fallen by the wayside for whatever reason, either good, bad, of just simply not PC.

We wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween tomorrow; we have a special treat for you. Remember the Fire/Life Safety Day will be tomorrow at Lowe's in Florence. It will start at 9:00 a.m. and offer fun for the entire family.