Something about former Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble, who died Saturday, that many people probably do not realize is that he used to be a journalist.
When he was a student working on his undergraduate degree, Allen was the News Editor of the Eastern Progress, which is the student newspaper at Eastern Kentucky University.
When I first met Allen about 25 years ago, we quickly bonded over both of us having previously held that position at the student newspaper in different decades.
I suspect working as a journalist was something that Allen was quite good at even though I never read any of his articles. As many have pointed out in recent days, Allen was a great storyteller. He is just someone that could tell a story rich in detail and you couldn’t wait to hear how it ended. Even if you knew how it ended because you had heard it half a dozen times already, you still enjoyed listening to Allen tell it again and again.
One of my favorite stories that Allen liked to tell often involved a story he had been told about his uncle Wince, which I will try to relay to you here.
Let me set the stage for this story.
Most people have probably heard of Elliott Ness, the Internal Revenue Service agent in Chicago, who brought down reputed mob boss Al Capone on tax evasion charges. It has been the subject of several movies and television shows.
What many people probably don’t know is that Ness was the IRS agent in Cincinnati right before he got transferred to Chicago. The man, who replaced Ness, as the agent in Cincinnati was Allen’s uncle Wince.
Now politics was something that Allen always had a passion for, and when he was in college he got an internship at one point with one of the state offices in Frankfort. When Allen gets to Frankfort, there was this commissioner of something or another who – when he was a very green rookie – worked with Allen’s uncle Wince at the IRS office in Cincinnati.
They had a warrant for some bad guy, and Wince tells this green rookie that they are going to this seedy bar where they will try to serve this guy with the warrant. Wince warns him that there will be all kinds of other outlaws in there that will have warrants on them and all sorts of illegal stuff they will see, but they aren’t there for that.
They are just going there to tell this one particular bad guy that he has warrant for his arrest, and ask him to come with them. They aren’t going to pull their guns. They aren’t going to try and take him by force. If he won’t go, they will just get him some other time.
Wince and the green rookie get to this place and go inside. The establishment every bit lived up to the notorious billing Wince had described. They spot the bad guy they are looking for. He wasn’t going anywhere peacefully and tells the two agents that in quite colorful ways.
By golly, they are federal agents and this scumbag isn’t going to talk to them that way, so the green rookie pulls his gun.
Shaking his head no, Wince has just enough time to tell the green rookie, “You hadn’t ought to done that,” before outlaws from seemingly everywhere in the bar pull their guns and shooting starts in all directions.
Wince and the green rookie run for the door and get to cover outside. Amazingly enough, nobody got killed, or at least that is what the former green rookie, who was now a state commissioner, told Allen.
Allen wore several hats in his life, but his favorite titles were those of husband, father and grandfather. I am sad that Allen won’t get to spend many more years regaling his family and particularly his three granddaughters – Reagan, Samantha, and Lauren – with these stories and more.