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Posted: June 26, 2011 12:00 a.m.

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Cows and cars

It's summer in Social Circle and things are pretty slow.

But we've had a little excitement, which goes to show that you never know what's going to happen from one day to the next. Here are a few stories worth repeating to demonstrate this point:

One of my Social Circle neighbor's neighbor came home for lunch last week and found a stray brown and white calf standing in her backyard. The calf had a heavy rope knotted around her neck with a 6-foot-long attachment dangling on the ground. The calf lay down and proceeded to make herself (I assume she was a female) comfortable in the shade of a tree.

Believing that the calf belonged to Social Circle resident Gene Lemonds who maintains a herd of cattle in an adjacent pasture, my neighbor called Gene's wife, Sarah, to report on the runaway calf and suggested that Gene might want to retrieve it. Gene came immediately, and he and his 8-year-old grandson attempted to catch the calf. This calf had a history: a week previously another neighbor discovered her eating in his garden and placed the rope around her neck as a restraint until her owner could collect her. Well, the calf ran off with the rope intact. Gene and his grandson were trying to remove the rope from around her neck, which seemed to be spooking her out. Anyway, the calf had other ideas in mind. She bolted away and after eluding her would-be captors, the calf leaped into my neighbor's pond.

My neighbor, in the meantime, had joined in the merry chase and all three pursuers jumped onto the small dock and attempted to catch hold of the rope, which was floating behind the calf. They couldn't reach it. The calf, mesmerized by the dangling rope, was swimming in circles and appeared to be "running out of gas." Fearing that the calf would drown, my neighbor stripped down to her undies and prepared to jump in to save the calf.

Well, it was at that point that the calf came close enough to the pond's edge to find the bottom and to get out. Whereupon the three-man posse renewed their chase and, as luck would have it, the calf once again fled into the pond. The posse went back on the deck and after watching helplessly while the calf swam round and round in circles, my neighbor, who had redressed after the first episode, stripped to her undies again and leapt into the pond. She was able to grab hold of the rope which she handed up to Gene on the dock who then pulled the calf to safety.

The story doesn't end there, though. The calf still refused to stand still long enough to have the rope removed from her neck. She darted to and fro, moving away from the pond in the direction of the dam. In the meantime, mama cow was heard mooing loudly from across the pond, finally emerging from the woods and coming across the dam. This story has all of the elements of a comic opera. While Gene and his grandson were chasing the calf round and round her mama, my neighbor returned to the scene from her house with a knife to cut away the rope. The calf took one look at the knife and leapt into a silt pond on the other side of the dam. Gene was then able to grab the trailing end of the rope, and as he was trying to pull the calf out of the silt pond, the rope slipped off the calf's head. Finally, the calf was able to extricate herself unaided from the silt pond. After another leap in and out of the silt pond, Gene was able to corral the renegade calf in the direction of her mama and they both proceeded peacefully across the pond and into the trees.

My neighbor told me that when her granddaughter visited the next weekend, she wanted to swim in her underwear. When she told her she would have to put on her bathing suit, the granddaughter protested and said "if grandma can do it, why can't I?"

Another one of Social Circle's residents has a good friend, Jim Vaseff, who's retired from Georgia Power and has become a race car driver. The car he races is a Formula Vee, "a popular open wheel, single seater junior motor race formula, with relatively low costs in comparison to Formula Ford or Formula BMW," according to Wikipedia. The Formula Vee was established as a class in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in 1963 and always has been amongst the three most populous in the 27 classes competing in the SCCA National Championships.

The idea for a "sponsorship" by Social Circle came after Jim was able to "bed in" his brakes on a road in Social Circle in 2009 before the runoffs. He is also a big fan of the Blue Willow Inn. He wore a Social Circle hat at the runoffs and was the only car on the grid without a sponsor. Most of them have tire companies or their businesses, etc., as sponsors. He came up with idea that it would be a great economic boost for our town to be recognized as a sponsor in the upcoming SCCA "runoffs" in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. There is no charge for this "sponsorship" and although many in this town are not keen on race tracks, this SCCA race will be held far enough away for Social Circle to gain popular recognition simply as "Georgia's Greatest Little Town" and home of the Blue Willow Inn.

Jim qualified this year for the SCCA "runoffs," September 19-25. He also ran in the runoffs in 2009. To qualify this year he ran at Sebring International Raceway in January, Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah in February, Road Atlanta in March, and Virginia International Raceway in April. According to Jim, "The top speed for the car on level ground is around 110 m.p.h. These cars corner so well that our average speed can be near the top. For example, at Roebling Road we stay in top gear throughout the course and the average is about 90 m.p.h. The car and driver have to be a minimum weight of 1,025 pounds. I have shaved about 40 pounds from myself; we are basically "jockeys" being weighed with the car!"

The "sponsorship" would be in the form of the city's signature water well graphic.
Jim says that, "The car will be moving fast, so small letters will only be read when it is parked or in track photos like the one attached. The town well graphic is nice and would be memorable to those who see it. The race announcers would probably have fun talking about Social Circle; more colorful than a tire company, and they feel compelled to talk before and during the race."

Jim also stated that: "I have seen that Google or one of the web businesses has started up a ‘Social Circle' website. It would be great fun if their pinstripes chase me down at the runoffs about my car decal."
He said, "I'll just say something like, ‘oh, you should contact the town about paying them for the name use. It has been around since 1826 and incorporated in 1832. The mayor is a lawyer and he could probably get Bobby Lee Cook to help if necessary.'"

Social Circle and the Blue Willow Inn will enjoy any national publicity that comes its way! 

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