Old Man Sy Moore by Justin Funke

Justin Funk
Honors Common Book Exp.
Jennifer Horne

Old Man Sy Moore

My dad, Old Man Ebenezer Moore, started this town when he first stopped and settled at a crossroads here in Alabama.  He opened up a store near the intersection of a couple well-traveled roads and began doing business.  Folks came through the crossroads often enough and did business with my dad, who was a likeable man.  Soon enough a couple of other men set up shop as well, and together the three of them bought up all the land in the area.  It didn’t take very long for my dad and the two other men to begin a system in which they set down the structure of the city by building banks, stores, and offices, and then rented them out to folks who wanted to open up shop in the town.  Gradually the town grew to a thousand families, and the three fathers passed on and left us, their sons, the city.  I’d been mayor of this city for thirty years when I started to have some young whippersnappers from the Gover’mint come try and sell me electricity.  Now the way this town is run is good and provides all the families with schools, banks with good credit, churches, and paved streets.  Everything was going well for the people of the city before the Gover’mint tried to step in.  Since our three founding families owned pretty much all of the business property around, we owned the municipal power plant which was valued at $400,000.  Our families owned the bonds on this power plant with a six percent interest rate, which meant we were bringing in $24,000 in interest every year.  We aren’t just greedy old men though; we use some of this income to help with the financing of public institutions like the schools and firemen.  When the men from the Gover’mint came and talked to me, they threatened the way we were running things.  With Gover’mint electricity we would charge the thousand families in our city about a third of what is charged now because the Gover’mint had regulations on the cost of electricity sold.  Instead our three families would be charged a great deal more.  Not only would our three families have to pay for what the other thousand families saved, without the interest from the bonds, the money to finance public institutions and municipal services would come from a huge increase in property taxes.  Since our three families owned most of the property, that money comes straight from our pockets.  The first Gover’mint man that came along tried to trick me into selling the Gover’mint the municipal power plant and buying electricity from them instead.  I told him I didn’t believe in that socialist trash and our city is doing fine without Gover’mint interference.  I told the second man the same thing, and the third man I told again.  However, the last man, Garth Lafavor, didn’t just take no for an answer.  He stayed in my city, talked to people, and studied the way it was run.  Once Garth Lafavor discovered the engineering of the town he wouldn’t let it go.  I told Garth that the system was rock solid and had kept this town alive whereas many others had failed.  The young man agreed with me but told me “Sir, what you say might be right, but your system is out of date.  I’m going to have to give you some advice you don’t want to hear before I leave, and that’s that you’re going to have to change the way things are run, or the Government will change it for you.”  I wanted to smack that insolent Gover’mint boy right in the kisser, but I refrained.  “I’ll fight’cha every step of the way” I told him.  The Gover’mint boys hit us hard with everything they had.  I tried to shut them out by cutting them out of the paper.  I told the farmers and business men that schools would have to close without the revenue from the power plant.  I told them the firemen and policemen would lose their jobs without money to pay them.  The Gover’mint men used handbills and a campaign to show the farmer in the city that they could end up paying less if they stood together.  The thousand families stood against our three, and with the help of the Gover’mint they boycotted us and forced me to send my attorneys and sons to work out a deal with Garth Lafavor and the Gover’mint.  It appears that there has now come a time when the Gover’mint can decide what is best for the people and implement that.  I fought it with all the strength I had but in the end I was forced to surrender to what they call progress.  Times are a changing, and only time will tell whether it’s for the best.