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August 20, 2005

Those columns the other day about the taxicab service that used to exist in Perry also brought back some memories, or anecdotes, that may be familiar to you. Or, perhaps you have not heard any of these until now. If that's the case, these little sidelights may amuse you.

One of the old-time cab drivers several years ago was Pat Townsend, whose headquarters were established at Bush & Joe's Smokehouse, on the northeast corner of the square. Roy and son Doug Morris now have their bookkeeping service base there, and you can hardly smell the old Smokehouse. Anyway, Pat answered the phone there to serve potential cab users. One evening Pat became aware that he was getting a call from the same customer at about the same hour every Friday evening. The order was always the same: "I want a one-way ride to Red Rock." No ifs, ands or buts. Just a ride to Red Rock. The pickup point was always the same: outside one of the Perry movie houses. Pat finally could stand it no longer. He had to ask it, "Why me? Why am I the one he's using?" So finally he asked the ultimate question, asking why the patron was only using Pat's cab. The answer was not hard to anticipate. The customer said, "How much do you charge for a cab fare to Red Rock?" Pat truthfully replied, "Twenty-five dollars." And the customer said, "How much does a city ambulance charge?" The answer was considerably more than $25, and that seemed to end the question and answer phase.