Bonnie and Clyde had nothing on us. The whiskey runners of prohibition were not as clever. On this hot summer Sunday afternoon, Mike Harrell and I had to utilize all our cunning ways to avoid a confrontation with police.
When we were high school seniors and the first couple of years as Paducah Junior College freshman and sophomores, it was a common practice for Mike Harrell, Mike Morehead, and I to visit on Sunday afternoons. Most of those visits occurred, in the summer, under the big oak tree beside Harrell’s Grocery as we solved the world’s problems sitting in lawn furniture, drinking sodas, munching treats, and offering opinions.
On this particular Sunday, Mike Morehead was absent from our group. Mike Harrell, aka Cousin, suggested a Sunday afternoon drive in his luxurious 1960 Rambler Classic. I thought it to be a wonderful idea, so we broke camp and took off on what would become a wonderful adventure.
We rode around the Kentucky Dam State Park then crossed the Dam. Just after crossing the Dam, Cousin turned right taking us by the lock and down the east bank of the Tennessee River. When we exited back onto Highway 62, Cousin made the mistake of rolling through a stop sign. Of course, while a common practice, rolling through a stop sign was acceptable and certainly problematic to the police. Mike didn’t notice, until we were through the intersection, that two cars back, watching our illegal move, was a policeman.
I can still hear the tone of his words—“we’re in trouble” as he picked up speed back across the Dam. We began to chat, Cousin told me of our situation, I turned to look out the back window. Sure enough, there he was, a cop, two cars back coming for us. Two criminals, law breakers, now running from the law and wondering what life would be like in the castle on the rock in Eddyville. Cousin and I chatted as we crossed the Dam and, thanks to Cousin’s criminal mind, we devised a plan of escape. While lights were not flashing the police officer was, no doubt, intent on apprehending us. Fortunately, the two cars that separated us from fate were traveling at “sightseer” speed and provided time to put space between us and the officer.
After crossing the Dam, Cousin put the escape plan in action. After crossing the overpass over Highway 641, Cousin made a sharp right turn onto the exit ramp and proceeded to enter Highway 641 toward the Park. As we traveled under the overpass, the officer crossed over on Highway 62 toward Paducah. Cousin, with
great cunning, immediately turned right onto the ramp exiting on Highway 62 back across the Dam. We had avoided arrest!
I don’t recall how we managed to get back to Calvert City. I am sure it was by backroads and lanes where we would remain cleverly concealed from the police. I do recall praising Cousin on his cunning, his quick thinking, and I remember being thankful to be free. I smile when I think how a peaceful Sunday afternoon drive became our doorway to the “big house” and how our escape gave us hope for a long, fruitful, law abiding life!
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