To say that Bob Folsom was ornery would be like saying the pope is Catholic – there was no disputing the fact.
Folsom, the brother of former Alabama Gov. James E. "Big Jim" Folsom, was a city councilman and mayor in Elba during my growing up years.
Bob Folsom was old enough to remember his home town before the WPA built levees. Consequently, he kept the city focused on maintaining them. When flood waters devastated the town in 1990, many commented, "As long as Bob Folsom was alive, the levees were in good shape."
In my mind's eye, I can see the blue of the coveralls that were his uniform. If ever an industry came knocking, they must have thought Bob was there to apply for a job, not to convince them to stay. Despite the appearance, he had a keen interest in politics, perhaps because his brother had been governor and his sister, Ruby, had taken a few bows on the political stage.
I don't remember the year, but I can remember my father's exact words in a conversation the two had about politics, probably in he late 70s or early 80s.
He was speaking of Jim Folsom Jr., son of the former governor, and a man who wasn't blood-kin, but was technically a nephew-by-marriage, another favorite son of a famous Alabama politician, George Wallace Jr.
Folsom's niece, Cornelia Ellis, grew up to be George Wallace Sr.'s second wife.
It looks as if Daddy could repeat those same words about the 2006 races if Bob Folsom were still around.
Folsom, a Democrat, is said to be making plans to seek the office of Alabama's lt. governor, a post he held before Guy Hunt's legal troubles earned Folsom a bunk in the governor's mansion. He's also former mmber of the Public Service Commission.
The younger Wallace, left his father's roots and switched to the Republican ticket, also plans to seek the lt. governor's office. A former two-term state treasurer, he is a current member of the Public Service Commission.
The two of them, capitalizing on name recognition, could easily win their parties' nominations and square off in November of '06.
The political pundits in Montgomery say Wallace, whose name recognition is higher, would win that race. They're probably right, but it would be an interesting race.
Michele Gerlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 867-4876.