My Great Uncle Herman was born and raised in Thomasville, Georgia. It’s about as far south as you can get without going to that swamp called Florida. He may look innocent and fragile, seeing as he’s 5’2 and weighs 120 lbs soaking wet, but he can get in trouble faster than ice melts in August. Herman’s mouth is usually the fault of most of the situations he puts himself in. He’s a church-going man, but he could make a preacher cuss from the damn pulpit. It’s hard for most people to understand his accent, seeing as it’s half English and half his own. Most of the time you can’t tell if what he says is a compliment or an insult. That being said, he still manages to find a way to get people to understand what he says just enough to put himself in bad situations.

You see, back in the 70s Herman was in the bar business, which helped support his drinking and gambling habits. One night he decided to go out and play a little poker with his buddies. Soon after he walked into the bar, he got smart with this big ol’ boy named Lee Roy who was about 6’4 and weighed 320 lbs. Now, Lee Roy didn’t take too well to what Herman said and they started to fight. After a few punches, Herman managed to slip away and ran straight for the door, when another man looking for entertainment could not resist and slammed the door in his face. Herman hit the door like a dog chasing a parked car. He scrambled to get to his feet, but found himself facing two of Lee Roy, both of them looking crazy with a knife in their hands. He realized that if he didn’t come up with something quick, he’d be a dead man.

Lee Roy made a jump at him, not knowing Herman had his own buck knife in his pocket. Once Lee Roy got close enough, Herman just started stabbing him anywhere he could reach! Thank the Lord he had one solid friend there who jumped on Lee Roy, bringing him to the ground with a loud BOOM! Next thing Herman heard was, “Run!” He didn’t have to think twice before he ran as fast as he could. Two or three of Lee Roy’s friends followed. Herman hid in a shop he owned a few blocks away while the men flew past him, fighting with each other about which way he went. When the coast was clear, first thing he did was call his attorney, who told him, “Herman, you’re either going to spend the night in a hospital or a jail cell.” He sat down and thought about it for a minute before deciding he’d rather go to the hospital.

As he was getting wheeled into the ER, he looked to his left and there stood Lee Roy’s three hillbilly brothers. Apparently, Lee Roy was hurt bad and had been in surgery for several hours. Obviously, Herman was charged with assault when he left the hospital a few days later. Word got out that Lee Roy’s brothers had plans to kill Herman. Expecting to get jumped any minute, he started to carry his pistol continuously in his pocket. They were always asking around town about where he was staying. Luckily, Herman was a skilled escape artist and cut it close a few times. One day while he was refilling his truck at the local gas station with his buddy, he decided to go in to get a Coke and some peanuts. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw one of the brothers walking in; he dropped everything in his hands and went straight for the back door, barely making it. He drove away laughing and carrying on to his friends about how stupid they were! As hard as they tried, they never came face to face with Herman again. But the truth is that you can find anyone you want to in a small Georgia town. I don’t think they really wanted to…

A few months later he had his court date and he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The judge took a good look at Herman, and then a good look at Lee Roy, taking note of their size differences, and asked, “Mr. Oliver, why on Earth would you stab this man over two dozen times? He’s over twice your size!” Herman looked at him straight in the eyes and said “Well, Your Honor, I thought he was going to kill me; the only thing I could do was stab him until he got off me.” The Judge sat there for a few minutes as silence filled the courtroom. He finally adjusted himself in his seat and said, “Well Mr. Oliver, it seems that we have a case of self defense here; you’re free to go.”

Herman’s luck hasn’t run out yet, seeing that he always finds a way out of the bad situations that he gets himself into. In my family this story is told at every family reunion, Christmas, birthday, and funeral. To borrow the words of a Jim Croce song, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger,” and to this day, not a man in Thomasville, Georgia messes around with him.

Sarah Suber was born and raised in the great Peach State, also known as Georgia. She moved to New York City to study photography at the School of Visual Arts and graduated in 2014. She never thought she would move north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but life is full of surprises. Her art is influenced by Southern culture and landscape. Her work captures the essence of the subject with light undertones of humor. She currently lives in Georgia.