When the walls came tumbling down
My story – Part 1 of 2
This is a story within a larger story. But it is my story. It covers several years of the most chaotic, disturbing time of my life.
I may ramble at times, but the facts are so discombobulated that they lend themselves to skipping from thought to thought, memory to memory.
It starts with the darkest day of my life and meanders from that day forward and sometimes backward because it is hard to separate them from the complete story.
The story begins with the day the FBI arrested my boss, the high sheriff of Anderson County.
To give you a clear picture of the setting, it is important to give you an idea of the layout of my office and desk as it lay in proximity to the sheriff’s office. As you entered the office, you had to pass my desk to get to the adjoining door that opened to his office. Therefore, in order to see the sheriff you had to pass by me.
It was a normal working day, early in the morning, and a local woman was there to complain about a problem she was having. She had been in his office approximately ten minutes when I looked up and saw two very serious official looking men in suits standing before me.”We’re here to see the sheriff,” one of them said.
I asked them to wait, explaining that he had someone with him. Disregarding what I had told them, they bounded across the room and burst through the sheriff’s door pushing the lady out in a rough way and slamming the door.
I sat there stunned, not knowing what to do. The lady was disheveled and speechless.
In a moment or two the sheriff called me into his office. He was behind his desk holding a sheaf of papers, his face so red you could have struck a match on it. The two men were hovering over him on each side of the desk.
“Bena Mae,” he said. “Get hold of my lawyer. The FBI is charging me with 99 counts of drug dealing.”
I ran to my phone but couldn’t locate his lawyer who was supposed to be in the courthouse. My son, who was an associate of the sheriff’s lawyer was nearby so he went with him to the federal courthouse in Knoxville and secured his bond.
As the sheriff, led by the two FBI men passed my desk, the sheriff in handcuffs with his coat folded over them like you see on television, my blood turned to stone. It was like living a nightmare, a nightmare that had many shocking revelations as scenario after scenario was revealed after the allegations were made public. It was like a movie that had no script.
It became headline news for months. The investigation by the FBI had been going on for a long time Every body in the sheriff’s department was being investigated, including me. Rumors were rampant with the staff wondering who was going to be indicted next. We were afraid to talk to one another, that our small talk might be construed as important evidence. A wall of silence grew around us.
I cried for weeks, not from fear for anything I had done, but for disbelief that those I had trusted were guilty of horrendous criminal activity and I had been sitting just outside the sheriff’s door when illegal machinations were being planned just beyond my ears. Was I naive? No, just trusting.
Next week: I was to learn there was a hit out on me by the drug cartel in case I knew something.
STRAWBERRY MARGARITA PIE
This delicious, frozen pie gives a great twist to your traditional Strawberry recipes.
1 1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
(make sure it’s not evaporated)
1/2 cup frozen concentrated margarita mix,
1 10 ounce package frozen strawberries with
1 cup whipped cream
fresh strawberries for garnish
In separate bowl, combine all the crust ingredients and mix well.
Press the mixture in the bottom of an ungreased 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.
Refrigerate while preparing filling.
In large bowl, combine the margarita mix and sweetened condensed milk.
Beat until smooth.
Add the strawberries and mix until well blended.
Fold in the whipped cream.
Pour over the crust.
Freeze for at least 4 to 6 hours or until firm.
Let stand at room temp for 15 minutes before serving.
Garnish as desired
Store in freezer.