Partial Transcript: So let's get started, if we can, by have you tell us a little bit about your family and your early life.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon tells about his early life working on his family farm in Brantley County, Georgia. He recalls growing up with his parents and ten siblings and how that experience shaped his character.
Keywords: Great Depression; Huey Dixon; Mattie Dixon; Model T; Ware County, Georgia; Waycross, Georgia; railroad
Partial Transcript: Did you go into the service?
Segment Synopsis: Dixon describes his enlistment and training in the Merchant Marine at the start of World War II. He then lists the places he traveled to in the Atlantic theater of the war, also sharing any stories he has about the locations.
Keywords: Alcoa; Algiers, Algeria; Antwerp, Belgium; Cardiff, Wales; England; Ghent, Belgium; Honolulu, Hawaii; Jacksonville, Florida; Liverpool, England; London, England; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York; Newfoundland; Oran, Algeria; St. Petersburg, Florida; Suez Canal; Tampa, Florida; Toulon, France; Waterman Steamship Company; boiler flue
Partial Transcript: At any rate, I went there to do- done every one of the Philippines on carrying back and to here and yonder.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon details his experience while stationed in Yokosuka, Japan immediately after the war's conclusion. He notes some of the interesting facets of Japanese culture that he saw. Dixon then talks about his time in Pusan, Korea.
Keywords: Chicago, Illinois; Hawaii; Hiroshima, Japan; Manila, Philippines,Honolulu; New Orleans, Louisiana; Tokyo, Japan; agriculture; martial law; public transportation; street preachers; trains
Partial Transcript: You came back to Waycross then?
Segment Synopsis: Dixon describes his time after the war working for Seaboard Coastline, a railroad company. He mostly goes into detail about his work as a fireman on the steam-run trains the company ran.
Keywords: Jacksonville, Florida; Thomasville, Georgia; coach shop; diesel train; engineer; sawmill; steam train
Partial Transcript: Tell us when you first got interested in politics.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon explains that his introduction to politics began when he was convinced to fill a vacant seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. He then recounts some of his memories from campaigning in person.
Keywords: Cap Hicks; Cheney Griffin; Dahlonega, Georgia; Fred Jones; George Bagby; Hoke Wilson; Homerville, Georgia; Nebo, Georgia; Rome, Georgia; Roscoe Pickett; reapportionment
Partial Transcript: Harry, who were your best friends in your first years in the legislature?
Segment Synopsis: Dixon briefly talks about who his friends in the Georgia House were. He then describes his roles on the Regulated Beverages Committee and the Appropriations Committee, focusing on his efforts via the Appropriations Committee to help a blind police officer receive a pension.
Keywords: Arthur Bolton; Carl Sanders; Forestry Commission; Fred Kitchens; Hanson Carter; Henry Neil; Jack Brinkley; Judge Durwood Pye; Mac Pickard; Milton Jones; committee chairman; liquor laws; peace officer; turpentine
Partial Transcript: You knew Speaker Tom Murphy very well.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon discusses his relationship with Speaker Thomas Murphy. Dixon then tells miscellaneous stories about Marvin Griffin and Eugene Talmadge.
Keywords: Cap Hicks; Carl Sanders; Fulton County, Georgia; Georgia House of Representatives; Hosea Williams; J.C. Daugherty; Moultrie, Georgia; Swainsboro, Georgia
Partial Transcript: You served with seven governors, right?
Segment Synopsis: Dixon touches upon his experience with Carl Sanders as governor, considering whether Sanders would have won election without the end of the county unit system. Dixon then talks about Denmark Groover's role as floor leader in the Georgia House.
Keywords: "Grooverize"; Elliott Levitas; Ernest Vandiver
Partial Transcript: Let's get back to governors for a minute.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon recalls his efforts to mediate a dispute between Steve Miller and then-governor Lester Maddox over the reappointment of Lonnie Sweatt to the State Board of Education. Dixon then gives his and several other congressmen's thoughts on Steve Miller.
Keywords: Ben Jessup; Motor Vehicle Committee; State Board of Education
Partial Transcript: 1970, Jimmy Carter beat Carl Sanders and ran on a platform of reorganizing the state government.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon discusses Jimmy Carter's efforts to reorganize the state government during his tenure as governor. Dixon particularly focuses on one incident in which Dixon, on the House Judiciary Committee, helped Carter nominate Elie Holton to a judgeship.
Keywords: 6th County Judicial Circuit; George Jordan; Joe Hurst; Roscoe Dean; Waycross Judicial Circuit
Partial Transcript: Well, after Carter, George Busbee beat Lester Maddox.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon summarizes his friendships with each Georgia governor from George Busbee to Roy Barnes, while also mentioning other friends that he met through his time in the Georgia House. He then briefly discusses his involvement since retiring from public service.
Keywords: Cap Hicks; George Bagby; Jake Cullums; Joe Frank Harris; Tom Murphy; Zell Miller; school teachers
Partial Transcript: You know, we didn't talk about that.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon explains his success in passing a bill that reformed insurance so that insurance cases where no one was at fault did not have to go to court. He also tells about working with Bobby Hill to amend a bill to help an imprisoned county commissioner.
Keywords: Camden County, Georgia; Clinch County, Georgia; Georgia Department of Agriculture; Insurance Committee; Vice-Chairman; beekeeping; inspection; reimbursement
Partial Transcript: Well, I want you to know that I've done just about half of it.
Segment Synopsis: Dixon shares a story from H.W. Lott's stint as a traveling judge, in which he broke up a fight in court by shouting. He also tells stories of the lawyer George Jordan, including one of Jordan hosting a mock burial for a town's defunct programs.
Keywords: Douglas, Georgia; Georgia Superior Court; Groover Road
BOB SHORT: Im Bob short and this is Reflections on Georgia Politics,sponsored by the Duckworth Library at Young Harris College and the Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia. Were here in the home of our guest, State Representative and Highway Board Member, Harry Dixon. Welcome, Harry, to our program.
HARRY DIXON: Thank you.
SHORT: Well, with your permission, wed like to divide our conversation intothree parts.
DIXON: All right.
SHORT: First, your early life...
SHORT: ...and growing up. Secondly, your public life as a state representativefor 38 years...
SHORT: ...and a member of the State Board of Transportation. And, lastly, yourlife after politics.
SHORT: So lets get started, if we can, by having you tell us a little bitabout your family and your early life.
DIXON: Well, I am one of 11 children, the oldest of 11 children, born to Huey00:01:00and Mattie Dixon here in Ware County. And theres 7 of us still living now and weve come through an era of almost no recognition of talents for a person, a people and I have been somewhat associated with--in and around people--that have been an inspiration to me over the years because of the humor that I hold for people and their shortcomings and things thatll get to em, you know. 00:02:00You learn those sooner or later and itll always be of value to you when you are holding em up for ridicule or something, like Hanson, Carter and Rowan. They have always been my punching boy on the other end, you know. When youre telling tales to various organizations and folks and outings, and Ive always enjoyed that immensely. And Ive had about as much throwed at me as they have as I have them over the years. But I might say that some of the things, the reflections I had, was for the important people that Ive known and the things theyve meant to me during my life and how I treasure the things that theyve done has helped me along the line along the way. I was--we were 00:03:00reared--my daddy worked with the railroad and we were reared sort of as a railroad family. And he, before we moved here to Ware County, we lived in Brantley County, a little adjoining county down here, and daddy drove back and to every day in a Model T or a Model A or whatever was of style during the time. I always thought a lot for my mama because of the hard work she done during life. The many things that she done that I did not give her credit for at the time when I was young and when it might have meant something to her, I did not do it. Ive been a little better toward my father. But I feel bad about that. 00:04:00As we go on through life sometimes thinking, "I ought to have done a little more emphasis toward my mother because she done all the work." I remember when I was a kid, I was just a barefooted kid, and we lived out in Brantley County. We had a farm out there, a 5-acre farm that looked like the Pacific Ocean, you know, when it come time to hoe and keep the plums cut down around things. And during that time, we we learned to live with little and to and then we was very fortunate compared to other people. Daddy did have a job, you know, and a lot of people did not have a job and it was during the throes of the Depression. And there was a lot of stories wrote about the various folks like myself that come 00:05:00along during that time that had that probably doesnt today have any recognition of some of the things that was involved back there and the things that your mama and daddy had to do or your uncle or your granddaddy to keep the old ships prow in the wind and keep them younguns fed. By the way, on a note like that, my father was one of 18 children born to the same mother and father. And they lived, about 16 of them, during life. Two of them died earlier on, but they have several different places. I can show you pictures here of them took in 38 and the early 30s. And its not indicative of a depression at all. 00:06:00All of em had cars. And we lived, done well as a family. By the way, their daddy kept them on a 26-acre farm and fed and clothed them on that small of a farm, you might say. Had cows and hogs and all that that kept the dinner table going. Like Rowan, I was telling Rowan about being so keen on soppin syrup. I told him that I got so good at soppin syrup until I wore the bottom of the 00:07:00plate out several times and daddy nailed a tin pan down on the table with some #8 nails. And then I sopped the head off of them nails before I knew what I was doing. I know thats a little off course there, but Im just sort of rambling there so try to hold me closer to the subject as youd like em.
SHORT: Well, how old were you when you came to Waycross?
DIXON: I was about it was 1939, and I was about 17 years old. And we movedhere into Ware County in the edge of town out there, and I remember very well the day that Pearl Harbor come along and where I was at and having the old 00:08:00crackling radio in the car telling me all about the Japs at Pearl Harbor and everything. And then you had to learn where in the hell Pearl Harbor was because it was not really ordinary suppertime stuff to you, you know?
SHORT: Yeah. Yeah.
DIXON: It was sort of an oddity.
SHORT: Did you go into the service?
DIXON: Yeah. I went into the Merchant Marine. I left here going into theservice and got to Jacksonville, and I was with three other fellows two other fellows. They both got guided into the service and I went on down the street about half a block and went into the Merchant Marine. They were hiring then. And they sent me on to St. Petersburg, Florida, and I done about a full months basic down there. They had all the facilities down there, and real 00:09:00keen facilities too for service work. And I got my basic education down there with them. And then when I got out through there, they had a system wherein theyd send you to ships wherever they needed them around and, in this instance, the first place they sent me was to Mobile, Alabama. And we took an old ship there it was an old, rusty steam-driven reciprocal-type engine and we took it around to first a little town right out of New Orleans and then around Florida to New York, then to Newfoundland and then to England. And I went to England. Ive been there several times on just such a jaunt as that. And I 00:10:00would go into Liverpool or into London or into Cardiff or into North Africa on other cases. Ive been in just one time, Ive been to North Africa. And on that tour, we went to Oran, Algiers and places like that that was Biblical, you know. Had the old steps that Jesus Christ chiseled in the stone going up to the sound there, Oran, you know. The harbor would be down low, but theyd have no railings on the walkway going all the way to the top of that mountain. And if you was coming down that thing drunk, youd turn around before you got to where there wasnt no railings over there to hold you and go back and drink some more or something or nother before you tried that or you got up some 00:11:00more steam for doing that. Well, that was quite a tour for me to go there and to see the Mediterranean and to go to the Suez. I went to the mouth of the Suez also and then come back by a place in off of Sicily, and I could see the Italian coast and everything, but come to that place there and went on to Toulon, France, where the Germans had just turned loose, whered just got loose from Hitler. And they were trying to go and get back into the fold. But they still had very many off-limit places that you shouldnt go. You know, restricted areas. And it was still in that state when I went into Toulon, and 00:12:00Toulon is where the old general there scuttled the French fleet. It was in the harbor there at Toulon. Oh, you could see the ships turned upside-down and bellied up at the berth and everything where they had done the French fleet that way, trying to keep the Germans from getting em. Or getting any use out of em. At any rate, I done that to begin with and, later, I done all my trips to back and to to England and to North Africa I mean, north to France, to Normandy. And I also went to Belgium, to Antwerp an Ghent, and theres another town in Belgium I went to. And theyre all on canals, see, 00:13:00so you go on you go in your ship up there on canals, and itll be just like cornfields almost rowing through your portholes there from the crops coming along. And I remember well about Belgium, of being a very clean town. The forests were all clean and well trimmed up and they you could see a piece of newspaper blowing, thered be a half a dozen Belgians after it to get it and put it in a trash can, you know, because they kept things that clean. And it was the same way on tugs or boats that they had on the canal there where their children went to school off of the canal, off of the tugs there, up and down 00:14:00that canal all the way to Paris. Well, later I come around, as I told you, to Cardiff, South Wales, and thats where I was at D Day in June of 1944. And we went in. We went in there, Cardiff, South Wales, and that section of London of England was a place where it didnt get daylight until after 12:00 of a night. You had about three or four hours of daylight, and it was after 12:00. And that was kind of odd for a country boy, you know. The streetcars all would quit running and they done sung done sung God Save the Queen and all the rituals that they go through with. And there wasnt nothing left but to go to 00:15:00bed and it still daylight. So that was another one of the things, the oddities in life, that I come through with and enjoyed. And, also, the friendliness of the people that I encountered along the way, even though they was rank strangers, couldnt speak English or anything, you could tell when their intentions were good or honorable or they wouldnt let you know if it was worrying them.
SHORT: So you saw the world.
DIXON: Yeah, I saw the world through that. Then I come back. Im just halfway through.
DIXON: I come back and got a boat out of Tampa, Florida, a brand new one justturned over to the Waterman Steamship Company or Alcoa (I cant remember), and I took it and went to Honolulu and was broke down with boiler flues in that 00:16:00brand new boat. And boiler flue is supposed to last for a long time, you know. And we had to stay there and cut every one of them flues out and put new flues in and just redo the boilers and left from there and went on to the real part of the world over there where they got some deep water. Thats where the deepest water in the world is is over there. Its seven miles deep, which is deep. That's a crevice in this hemisphere. And I remember losing my class ring there. I was lying on the front of the ship one morning at dark, and I had a ring 00:17:00around my neck, a chain, and I had that ring around there. And Im lying down on the deck and after awhile I noticed that thing had done come in two and there goes my damn class ring over the side. I mean, goes my class ring. Excuse me. Youll have to cut some of that stuff if it gets too raunchy. Okay? At any rate, I went there to do done every one of the Philippines on carrying loads back and to here and yonder. And then, from there, I went to Yokosuka, Japan. Lets see. Yokohama? Yokosuka? I went to Yokosuka, Japan. And they had just been surrendered about not even a whole week, and there I am spilled in 00:18:00there with all those Japs that wouldve killed you last week on sight and laughed about it. And I was sitting down there and letting em cut my hair. Some people letting em shave em. Thats what you call being optimistic, isnt it? I remember too, also, in the schemes that they tried to pull there. They had money a dual money system there, the Japanese system and the Allied Army issue that they put out, and the place was usually under martial order and you had some general in charge of that. And he had to lay down a lot of ground 00:19:00rules. Like youd say, To hell with--to hell with the emperor. Theyd say, To hell with Ben Crosby. Or, To hell with the general, over there that was in charge of the martial law. Yeah, and so I stayed there at Yokosuka and Yokohama, and those three cities Hiroshima, Yokosuka, Yokohama and Tokyo were all on the same line running on the eastern side of the Japanese mountain gorges up through the Pacific Ocean. And there aint nothing 00:20:00over there level. And if they got a spot of land that big around, theres some sucker up there with his plow or whatever it takes to farm trying to grow a crop on it. I dont care I dont give a damn if its that big around. And youd go by on a train and you would see em up there hanging on a hill working on their crops. But they all were not adaptable, but all of them used that was public transportation. Thats the only transportation they had. They didnt have automobiles or usually it was that they had to do public transportation. And theyd be hanging on that train. It was modern trains too. Youd come into a station and, instead of having one single line going in 00:21:00there, youd have one goes up, one comes down, one goes straight through, one be going this way, one that way, and theyll all be meeting there and wont be disturbing one anothers business. And theyd haul them suckers away from there. And being on the railroad like I was, you know, and seeing some of the things that they would do like hanging between those cars; theyd all have on those mittens or stockings around their nose to strain the air to be sure they didnt get any impurities in there and they would be hanging up between the two cars too. You know where the cars come together? Thered be four or five hanging up on each side back there on that. All to keep from having 00:22:00to catch the next train. You know? And that was a lifestyle with em. I never done it, but it was a lifestyle with them, you know, to do that. At any rate, I left there, reloaded. We unloaded there at Yokosuka and went to Korea to Pusan Pusan, Korea and stayed there overnight and got unloaded. And the best thing I remember about Pusan was they had a preacher on every corner, and he had a Coca-Cola box to stand on to get taller than the rest of them and he preached one sermon and then another. And the next block, thered be anothern down 00:23:00there preaching another funeral or preaching another sermon, you know. And it was just a different culture in Korea there. But it was more or less a touch of what you expect from the Chinese the Chinese might and the Chinese the Chinese largesse over what we, as Americans, know as theyve got beaucoups of people, where weve just got a few. A handful. We do a lot with a handful. They do a bunch and more with scads of people that they can make make go. Well, that pretty well takes me back to I come back to Manila and we left 00:24:00that ship at Manila. And I caught another ship and come back to Honolulu and then left another and then we had to stop there for a good while and (two weeks maybe) I come on to the west coast, come around by Chicago, by train, and back to New Orleans where I got out after the war, or the end of my spiel with them, you know.
SHORT: You came back to Waycross then?
DIXON: Came back to Waycross then, right. Well, I had worked at the railroad inthe coach shop prior to that, and when I come back, I hung around here awhile, done a few things, worked at a saw mill my daddy owned and two or three other things, and then finally went back to the railroad but went in the 00:25:00transportation department as a fireman. And I stayed in there about four or five years before I got promoted to engineer. And then I was an engineer from 1946 through when I quit--I really didnt quit til 86. I quit the railroad in 86.
SHORT: That was the Seaboard?
DIXON: Yeah, Seaboard Coastline, right.
SHORT: Did you travel the whole route?
DIXON: No. We just got a district here from here to Thomasville and from hereto High Springs, Florida, and from here to Jacksonville. I had one run--that Southwind that we run from Jacksonville in our district on through Waycross to Thomasville before we got off. So youd my journey thered be deadhead from here to Jacksonville, take the train and then come through here going back 00:26:00to Thomasville, and doing the same thing oer again, you know. Not the next day, but laying over in Thomasville a day.
SHORT: Those were the old steam trains.
DIXON: Yeah, mostly old trains, but they come diesels diesels come inpretty soon after I first started with em. But, and they were proud to be here too, you see. Wed wrestle with them old, old Alabama coal trying to make it burn in them old steam engines, and they had several ways of making it known to you that you couldnt whip one of them with all the things that could go wrong with them. I got one thing in there that tells you about coming up to the water tank at Valdosta there and a fellow told me about all the things that you 00:27:00had to do as a fireman. And he went through all that and what all he done and everything, and he come back up there and sat down just beat til hell wouldnt have it, and the engineer hadnt moved out of his seat over there. And the engineer took out a plug of old chewing gum and throwed him a plug of Juicy Fruit over there, and he took it and unwound it and put it in his mouth, and he was so hot that that the sugar Juicy Fruit melted to sugar water, run between his bottom teeth and down his overall bib. Thats what they call a fellow hot, wasnt it?
SHORT: Harry, tell us when you first got interested in politics.
DIXON: Well, I first got interested in politics pretty soon after that, 46.00:28:00That was in 1962 that I first went up there and they had a vacancy here and my neighbor here talked me into running and I won and it was during reapportionment time and I had to run about three times before I ever got to take a seat, you know, on account of them changing it, the reapportionment, and declaring you had to have a new election another election. Well, it done that about three times before I really got to take a seat. I beat two fellows one time and another one of them fellows another time. All three times I had opposition by the same three. But then later, as I went on through life, I was there 38 years continuously and I had opposition about half that time. Theyd come up for reelection every two years in the House and, of course, they did the Senate 00:29:00also. And I always had opposition and I was always lucky enough to survive through all those years, and I learned as I went along a lot of things. I met a lot of people. You know, after reapportionment, you had to get yourself stretched out. I had to leave here and go from here all the way to St. Marys and back up to well, really St. Marys and Kingsland. And all during that time, I had Charlton County also which is Folkston, see. And I enjoyed being in and with the people all that time that I had to do business with and that I knew. And I 00:30:00made many a friend along the route, and I cherish that today.
SHORT: Well, back then, running for public office was hard.
DIXON: Yeah, it was. Youre darn right it was hard.
SHORT: Old style politicking.
SHORT: Knocking on doors.
DIXON: Thats right.
SHORT: No mass communications like youve got today.
DIXON: Thats right, not at all. I remember one time I was politicking overthere in Homerville. Id just gone over there and theres a bunch of fellows around a table at a little restaurant there, you know, where the town hall folks gathered to drink coffee and everything. And theres one fellow there that I couldnt you know, you cant tell. They were all picking at him a little bit, and I did notice that. And he went to leave and I hadnt worked him yet, and I run over there and caught him at the cash register and told him who I was and wanted to. Well, that damn gang over there just got to laughing like the 00:31:00devil. I didnt know it was the towns idiot. And they was all laughing at me about that, see. And lets see. He had something wrote up here on his oh, hell. Oh, No Show or something. But anyhow, No Show couldnt read nor write, but he worked over there at the grocery store, and the only way he could put restock the store was take the boxes with pictures of the cans on it and then get the right ones to go. Thats what you call operating at a little bit of a disadvantage, wasnt it?
SHORT: Yeah. Ill bet when you were campaigning out in those country stores,you met a lot of real characters.
DIXON: Yeah, real characters. This was such a one. Later, he called me one timeand wanted me to buy him a guitar. And, hell, I bought him an old guitar that 00:32:00cost about $10 and took it to him. And I havent heard from that fellow lately. Im trying to think of his name. His that they had wrote on his they had stenciled on him more or less. At any rate, he was one of the fellows from Homerville that I had to come along. Then another time I run over a boy on the railroad over there and killed him. He was on a bicycle. And I hit him one day on there in the daylight daytime going west, and it run over him. God, that bicycle, it squished it up til it looked like no more than a storage battery or a car automobile battery, that bicycle did. And throwed him 00:33:00 knocked him off of the ditch there going through town. And I went on to Thomasville and come back here, and the next day they was having his funeral and I went over there to his funeral and everything. And they sued us in court later. Thats all right too. Youd expect that, you know.
SHORT: Right. So you go up to the Capitol in 1963?
DIXON: 1963, right.
SHORT: Right. What was it like being a freshman legislator?
DIXON: Well, it was like you were having to learn a lot of tricks in a littletime. I know that down from this area we had several people, like Hoke Wilson that lived in Nahunta down here, was down there and so one time Hoke wanted me to help him get a Ford automobile. Well, theres an old boy from--oh, hell, 00:34:00from north Georgia up there that had a Ford dealership where Jeanette Jamiesons from.
DIXON: I believe it was Toccoa.
DIXON: There was a fellow named Fred Jones had a Ford dealership.
DIXON: Dahlonega, right, right, right.
DIXON: At any rate, I went back there. Oh, he was back there one evening. Itook Hoke with me and we went back there and I sat down behind old Jones and theres some other fellow talking with him there. And I told him that this is Hoke Wilson and he was from Nahunta and he wanted to buy a Ford truck, but he wanted to get everything coming to him but the green stamps. Said he could have the green stamps. During that time, old Cheney Griffin was sitting next door, 00:35:00the next seat over, and he heard some of the conversation and come over there and stuck his head in and said, Hey, bub. Says, You wouldnt be interested in a 1956 Cub International tractor, would you? Unused. You know, thats what they tried they tried him about it later. I mentioned something about that in here in one of these that I was fixing to tell you about, about Cap Hicks was a real--like youve seen these hanger-ons? Everywhere, every time a governord get elected, it wouldnt be no matter who Cap voted for, hed soon be up there huddling around the governors office, helping with the chores around there or whatever was necessary.
DIXON: And old Frank old Cap lived a life like that, you know.
SHORT: Yeah. Yeah.00:36:00
DIXON: One of the funniest things I ever had--and this is really old and thisisnt anything I dont I might not ought to say this; maybe wed better talk about something else, but George Bagby was a brand new lawyer and he said he got a call one day from Roscoe Pickett. Roscoe was Mr. Republican in Georgia, throughout Georgia, and the only damn one in Georgia, or the only one that was you had to go through Roscoe to get a mail carrier job. You had to go through Roscoe to get just about anything. And that was one-half of the that was one-half of the show. Well, anyhow, George was telling me George Bagby was telling me that Roscoe Pickett called him and wanted him to go with him to Chattanooga and says, Ill make it worth your time. He says, Well, I cant go. Ive been elected over there to recorders court, and 00:37:00I have to old court. But George said he got to thinking about it. The man said hed give him a hundred dollars. He said, Hell, hed put recorders court off, and went with Roscoe to Chattanooga, and said Roscoe told him, says, Here, Shorty. Says, When I bring the money out here, you count it and be sure its all there. And so Roscoe goes back in and talks and talks and George is sitting out there twiddling his fingers. And after while, Roscoe come out there and throwed a briefcase full of money down and told him to count it. Well, he counted it. Everything was getting better and because George was gonna get a hundred of it, you know, his self. Well, they were coming back to Hiram or wherever they live over there, wherever George lives, you know, 00:38:00over there toward...
SHORT: Paulding County.
DIXON: Paulding County, yeah.
DIXON: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SHORT: Nebo, Georgia.
DIXON: And, anyway, old George said that said that him and Roscoe stoppedat a bawdy house there at Rome and said'd they give the woman a sack of the money and told her to keep it, not let it get out of her sight. Well, it got to getting kind of raunchy down there, and they was getting a lot of inebriation around there and doing all kind of crazy around there with the girls, and so she got concerned about it. So she called Cap Hicks, of all people. Cap was a radio man there and he was a recorders court judge there in Rome, and he went down 00:39:00there that Sunday evening, it was on Sunday evening. So he went down there and found Roscoe and George Bagby both well drunk. And had to get em drill em out of that drill em out of that mess. Now a lot of people, that wouldnt mean nothing to, but Roscoe used to be the Republican Party in Georgia. And you remember that, dont you?
SHORT: Yeah. I remember Roscoe...
SHORT: ...very well.
SHORT: Hes from the mountains up there.
SHORT: Pickens County. Harry, who were your best friends in your first years inthe Legislature?
DIXON: Well, my first years as a legislator, I reckon the best friend that Ihad was Hanson Carter.
DIXON: Hanson. And and, of course, Rowan was over in the Senate I had tocome back and to every weekend with Frank and Frank usually flew back and to 00:40:00after about the first four or five years up there. And I enjoyed that immensely during life. And Franks gone now. But Ill say this about that. He has always been the best person to me that I think Ive ever known, and he lived right here next door to me. Then I had Rowan, and you you just pick up various ones along the way that that have impressed you one way or the other. And I have thought about--Francis Houston come by here the other day and told me that hed just got to thinking about Jack Brinkley and called Jack Brinkley to see if he was still alive. And he said he went and got right in to Jack Brinkley. He was working for his son, a lawyer over there, .and Jack has been stayed in Congress 13 years but retired and hadnt been doin 00:41:00nothin since then. But then Ive met some real I sat right there with the Columbus delegation like Milton Jones and Mac Pickard and Harry...
SHORT: Harry Jackson?
DIXON: No, Harry Jackson was from over there, but this was Harry that was arepresentative that was always trying to pass liquor bills. Harry.
SHORT: I dont remember.
DIXON: Yeah, hes a representative.
SHORT: Uh-huh. Well, if he wanted to pass liquor bills, he came to the right place.
SHORT: You were chairman of a committee...
DIXON: Yeah. But that was before I was chairman.
SHORT: Oh, it was?
SHORT: Well, lets talk about that for a minute. You were chairman of thatcommittee and, as I remember, you rewrote the liquor laws in Georgia.
DIXON: Yeah, at various times, they renovate them and bring them up to date and00:42:00you get involved as a result of being chairman. Usually, its the department wants to zip up on something to give them rule-making power or something that they didnt once have or somethings growing into being a problem for them that they need some handle on that, over the years, will just get cluttered up if you dont straighten them out a little bit.
DIXON: And Ive been doing that kind of stuff all my life. I was chairman ofRegulated Beverages for about 27 years. And prior to that, I never had well, no I wont say prior to that. But for about ten years after that, I never went to a damn thing they ever had and nothing about regulated beverages. And then old Fred was their do it man, you know. Fred Kitchens. 00:43:00
DIXON: And Fred got me to go to a convention with em one time. Well, hell, Igot to where I wanted to go to all of them conventions. So it was really on the spot--nothing but on the spot all the time.
DIXON: Theyd ask you to speak a little bit every now and then or somethinglike that. But Fred always throughout has had me and even since then has had me every time I was able to go to go down there with them on the conventions, you know.
SHORT: Youre also on Appropriations.
DIXON: I was also on Appropriations and I done most of my work onAppropriations. I had two or three meaty items here. One of em was the paying a grant in lieu of taxes for some acreage that is in Ware County, Georgia, that 00:44:00the owner gave to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture turned around and gave those properties to the Forestry Commission as long as they used it for things appropriate to the progress of the development of turpentine and other things to do with forestry. And so Ive had to sort of say grace over that a long time. I got, as a result of passing a constitutional amendment, I got it to where the state I mean, the county could get a grant in lieu of taxes from the state as a result of that acreage here, which is over 29,000 acres. And I got that done when I first went up 00:45:00there. And I have done several things that made me be real appreciative of being on the Appropriations Committee where you could do it the shorthand way and things like that and wouldnt have to go the whole route, you know. And have the chairman help you, you know, and things like that like like I was talking about just then about that grant in lieu of taxes. So the countys been getting that for--God knows, ever since 1963. And theyve been getting those monies from the state. I call the various things that I had done and I have enumerated them there in that leaflet that youve got there. One of the 00:46:00things was more--I say, the hardest thing Ive ever done was a fellow here, a policeman, got blinded in service by a fellow that was mentally deranged, and he killed no, he didnt; he blinded the policeman with both eyes in both eyes. And the only thing--he worked for the city. The only thing he because they didnt have no pension system and he had no way of getting a dime and him blind. Well, they let him have the stand down at the courthouse for selling Cokes and things like that down there, and he got to where he could run that very well. But I got, when I come along, I got to thinking that maybe Id 00:47:00be able to get him a pension out of the Peace Officers Benefit and Annuity Fund, but I found out one thing. The Fund was born ten years after the policeman was blinded. Well, that was gonna really have to do some fancy dancing to get out around that because thats a clear violation of the Constitution is to do anything ahead of time like that, and particularly before its in operation. Well, I went to the Peace Officers Benefit a Peace Officers Convention and got a resolution from them that they wouldnt scrap me for anything I could do that might help the policeman. Well, I got that and that was really 00:48:00cherished. Well, Carl Sanders come in. I went to Carl Sanders and told him what my plans were and I told him, I says, You know its constitutional. I mean, You know its unconstitutional. He said, Yes, I do. And I says, But you just promise me that you will not veto the bill. So he didnt.Old Henry Neal was his yard dog, you know, and Henry called me, Well, boy, we gonna have to re were gonna have to veto that bill about that policeman down there. I says, Well, did you ask the Governor about it? No, I havent asked the Governor, but he usually gives me that kind of... Well, the Governor told him, no, he had made a commitment to me. And thats the case were Carl Sanders didnt have to do it, but he kept his word to me. And I feel quite kind toward him all through the years as a result of 00:49:00that. Well, I, in going through the steps to try to make that walk, I had to call a meeting of the Peace Officers Benefit and Annuity Fund, of which the Governor was a member. And we had to have a hearing in the Governors Office, and the Governor called me out there, Carl Sanders. Well then, had Arthur Bolton, who was the attorney for the Fund, somebody oh, yeah, Frank Edwards, who was attorney for the PO for the Peace Officers Association that was on there too. So I had I was lined up against some heavies and Arthur had 00:50:00got to be Attorney General at that time, see. And Carl Sanders called me in the back and says, Youve got a loser out there. Im gonna tell you now. You think about what you want to do with it. I says, I called for a continuance, I said, because I was in a jam. I called for a continuance of it and put my thinking cap on and went to Arthur Bolton and told him, I said, Arthur, you cant stand for this to be on your record for you denying that blind man a pension under those circumstances and ... Well, that softened Arthur up a little bit. So Arthur agreed that we would take it to court in an 00:51:00area where one of the board members lived. There was three or four right there in Fulton County. So I got it in Fulton County court before a Judge Durwood Pye. And Ill never forget he issued an order absolute that said as long as that Peace Officers Fund had $100 a month in it, that that blind man got the first $100. So every bit of that was appealable and a losing situation. I couldve lost it anywhere along the line because all they had to do was appeal it. So I had it hooked up like that. They went to paying the man and they paid him from 1963 through 1992. And it wasnt but a hundred dollars a day a hundred 00:52:00dollars a month to begin with, but it grew during that time, you know, as minimum as a minimum fund, you know. Per month.
SHORT: Um. You knew Speaker Tom Murphy very well.
SHORT: Tell us about Speaker Murphy.
DIXON: Well, Speaker Murphy was, he was hell if he didnt like he didntlike you. But if he liked you, he could let up on it a little bit. And I was kind of in that category that hed let up on it a little bit. And I always was worried about something, you know, and it involved getting Tom involved in it one way or another, and he used to laugh about all that being done. And one thing I would like to call your attention. Tom Murphy one time, this black 00:53:00fellow that was on my committee, a good fellow, J. C. Daugherty from Atlanta. J. C. Daugherty was a lawyer and he was not an ordinary person. He was always trying to do something up and above the cause to help promote. So he got me one day to come to go with him to Tom Murphy about getting Murphy off of Hosea Williams. And so they had done that. Right after that, Hosea had gone with 00:54:00Reagan or somebody over yonder to Tokyo and he let off a spiel that wouldnt wait, anti-Tom. And so Tom Murphy called me back in there with J. C. and he told me he told J. C. he says, J. C., I tried to help the fellow and he goes over yonder, and Tom give an article there out of the paper where hed give him hell. Says, As far as Im concerned, he aint nothing but another--. And says, And you can go tell him that I told you so, and anything I promised him has gone with the wind. In other words, you had your 00:55:00chance and you blew it. And so that but Murphy called me in there for a witness, see, because he had me in there when he I had gone in there with J. C. to try to get him to lighten up on Hosea. Hoseas hard to help. And he was a beautiful character. Hosea Williams was a beautiful character. And he you hear him tell them old tales about when he was farming on Marvin Griffin's farm and they whipped him with a full black cow whip--and all the crap that didnt happen, you know.
SHORT: Made a good story, huh?
DIXON: Made a good story, yeah. Oh, along that line, talking about Marvin, onetime Cap Hicks was working with Marvin and Marvin asked him, says, Cap, can 00:56:00you is there any way you can get us over to the Fulton County Courthouse? Says, Cheneys on trial over there today. I want to go over there and see what it sounds like if I can slip in there. And so Cap Hicks took him through the Sheriffs Office and up through an anteroom and up through so-and-so and finally come up to the balcony of the court courtroom. And they was back there, the only two back there in the balcony of the courtroom, looking over. And they were right down below em there and said the scene, the routine went kind of like this. If you remember what they had him up about was some folks from down here around Moultrie went up there, a delegation, and give Marvin Griffin a sack with $15,000 in it. And so such was the case, you know, 00:57:00about getting the Reed Bingham Park down there in Moultrie. And so they had done that and they had Cheney in court about the money and not accounting for it and so forth and so on, everything to do with that $15,000. And so him and Marvin was sitting there him and Cap was sitting up there and Cheney and them was down there and they was going through their--Is this Mr. do you know Mr. Griffin? Yes, sir, I do. Do you see him in here? Yeah, I see him. Thats him sitting right there. Uh-huh, okay. So you its established that you know Mr. Griffin. Yeah, you do. All right. Well, says, If you will, tell us what happened that day that you went in there and took 00:58:00that sack with $15,000. And the the fellow says, Well, says, I went in there, and said, he was talking on the phone, and said, I was standing there holding the sack. And he talked on the phone a while. And Marvin told Cap, say, Come on, Cap. Lets go. Said, That aint a credible witness. Says, Hes lying already. Says, Marvin wouldve took that, I mean, says, Cheney wouldve took that sack first if thatd been Ma on the phone. [Both laughing]
SHORT: Well, you know something, Harry? Back in those days, there was youdidnt have to report money contributions.
DIXON: No, thats right. Thats right too.
SHORT: So it wasnt illegal.00:59:00
DIXON: Wasnt illegal at all, no.
DIXON: But they wanted always the press and everybody wanted to make itsound like it was funds from Jesus Christ.
SHORT: Yeah. They were after Marvin...
DIXON: Yeah. And even though itd be sloshed[ph] way on out there on theedge. [Gap on tape] Oh, old Marvin, though, I I love to tell those tales because they are so true. Let me see here.
SHORT: Well, you knew Marvin well.
DIXON: Heres one. Heres one of the better ones about Marvin. He said thathe always felt when he got his nose red with bourbon that he said he got to feeling where he was as wise as a tree plumb full of owls. Thats pretty good.
SHORT: Thats a great one.
DIXON: Its a damn tree plumb full of owls. And heres another thing he got01:00:00caught with. He had this tale he would tell about he told me that he had always--when he hed get his tongue where itd trip over his ear sometimes. And said hed make all kind of messes. One was that he, as when he took that drink and then got to feeling like the wise owls, says he had a urge to be Shakespeare. Or he had a Shakespearean turn about him and that such was the case one time when he was politicking down at Bainbridge, Georgia no, down at Swainsboro, Georgia and they was trying to get vocational school down there 01:01:00back when they built that span of vocational schools way back yonder. And so they had been slower getting one because the locals had to get up about a million dollars to slap lfe into it to get it to going with it. Any rate, old Marvin was fixing to leave a outing he was at down there at Swainsboro, a fish fry. And he got there early of a evening and they had plenty of corn balls and bourbon liquor, but the fellow skinning the fish wasnt do too well so he his schedule got to pushing him. He had to get off and go on somewhere else and had started to leave and somebody called him back and said, Marvin, tell these folks back here in Swainsboro about the vocational school. And Marvin 01:02:00says he jumped up there impromptu back in the back of a pickup truck and said, I just want you all to know down here, if you elect me your governor, I will see that you get the vocational school. And he says, Ive always said, lets see. Ive always said, Ive always said you cant any more teach what you dont already know how, then you can come back from where you aint never went. Thats what you know of getting your tongue tied. That's pretty good. I got that wrote down there.
SHORT: Yeah. He was quite a speaker, wasnt he?
DIXON: Yeah, he was quite a speaker.
SHORT: Stump speaker.
DIXON: A good stump speaker.
DIXON: He sure was. It was like one time Talmadge was down here, old man Gene01:03:00 Eugene Talmadge. Thats about when I was first involved in politics when old man Talmadge was running that last time. So such was the case and I went down here to the corner or a park that used to be a schoolhouse on it and theyd done away with the schoolhouse, and we was in just one little corner of that park down there. And there mightve been 25 or 30 people and old man Talmadge got up and says, I always want yall to know that I aint what you think I am; that Im a ordinary person like anybody else. Says, I would estimate, and he says, Folks of radio-land, I would estimate that 01:04:00this crowd is about 2,000. Or that is what thats about what the night cop at Odum, Georgia, would estimate it to be. The night cop at Odum, Georgia. Aint got but one damn police if theyve got any. The night cop at Odum, Georgia.
SHORT: I bet youve got a thousand stories about members of the legislature.
DIXON: Yes, sir, I have.
SHORT: Well, tell us a few.
DIXON: Well, Marvin and Cap Hicks had quite a career together there and let mesee, Bob. I was trying to I had wrote something here about Marvin. At any 01:05:00rate, back to Eugene Talmadge, right during that time that he made that statement about that, he says, And they say Im mean toward blacks. And I want you to know its a lie. Says, Ive got one with me here tonight. Stand up, Hawk. Big old fellow stood up back there. Hawk, you live on my farm? Yassuh. Says, Aint I good to you? Old Hawk says, Got okra under the cow horn. Thats what you call really sizing it up, aint it? Got okra under the cow horn. Yeah, lets see. Now I was at that. I 01:06:00was at that gathering right there. But along come modern politicking like Carl Sanders. And I was on Carls side. Of course, I got scarred up a little bit, but not a lot. But I have got scarred up on others that I made the wrong call on it.
SHORT: You served with seven governors, right?
SHORT: Lets talk about them for just a minute.
DIXON: All right.
SHORT: The first one was Carl Sanders.
SHORT: What do you remember about Carl?
DIXON: Well, Id done a little stint under Ernest Vandiver too.
SHORT: Did you?
DIXON: A extra session. And then Carl come in 1963.
DIXON: January 1...
DIXON: ...or January whatever.
SHORT: Right. And he was he got elected for the as the first governor01:07:00after the demise of the county unit system.
DIXON: Thats right, the demise of the county unit system, right.
SHORT: And Marvin was sort of a county unit politician.
DIXON: Thats right.
SHORT: Do you think that if they--under the county unit system, that Marvinmightve beat him?
DIXON: Yeah, he wouldve beat him under the county unit thing. He wouldvecertainly beat him, because Marvin was riding on a pretty heavy thing there with his rural roads thing, you know. That got Georgia out of the mud really. He could really raise some sand about it. But in so doing, in getting the initial bond issue, he got him and Groover and everybody else got beat. Groover was the floor leader, see.
SHORT: Right. What do you remember about Groover?
DIXON: I remember all about him. Hes one of the hes one of thebrightest scholars I have ever known during my lifetime. One of the brightest, 01:08:00the most able persons I have ever known during my lifetime, Ill have to say. Youve got other folks that are skilled lawyers or this, that and the other, but Groover absolutely was unselfish as hell toward governors he served under. Hed get up at 6:00 in the morning and go over there and meet with the Governor before anybody else ever got up, you know. And more or less plot out the days activities. And they leaned on him like that. And some of them wouldnt do it for the first month or two, but they got to where they would. I mean, without him barging in on them, you know.
SHORT: Um. Well, he invented a new verb: Grooverized.
DIXON: Yeah, yeah.
SHORT: Did you ever have a bill Grooverized?01:09:00
DIXON: Yeah, yeah, old Groover. I dont know of having one Grooverized.Hes helped me on several occasions on things Id get involved in that I was over my head in. And somebodyd be putting me out pretty heavy, and people like Elliott Levitas or Groover would come to your rescue, you know?
SHORT: You know, Harry, a lot of people dont know this, but he was a memberof that Pappy Boyington...
SHORT: ...Marine group...
SHORT: ...during World War II.
DIXON: Right. Yep, he sure was.
SHORT: He was a pilot.
DIXON: You know, I went on a place (if youve got the time, just a minute,for me to tell you about one of my railroad doings). I was running for oh, yeah, I was running a train from here to Thomasville. I believe I was fireman. I 01:10:00was a fireman on a passenger train. And we was going west of Quitman by what you call the Grooverville crossing. It crossed kind of like there, I got it it crossed kind of like that. It wasnt no true crossing, but it was a leaning crossing. And a fellow come out from behind there and hit that engine right behind the right behind the, between the engine and the first car, and knocked the brake cylinder out from under it and that automatically knocked the total brakes on the train. And thats where he hit it, right back there at the back of the engine. So he wasnt planning to stop no how, apparently, you know. He it was just a what they call aggravated crossing accident. And so 01:11:00it knocked that fellow knocked that fellow crazy. Well, when the flagman went by him back there, going back to flag, he said he was cussing like hell. Oh, Lord, just rolling inside that cab. And itd knocked the engine slick loose from the firewall between the cab and the engine. Im talking about on the truck. It knocked that truck engine way on down the right-of-way or railroad right-of-way there. So he was really hurt. Well, they got him outta there and took him to Thomasville and they done everything they could for him at Thomasville and had to send him to Augusta. And they had sent him on up to Augusta, and then I didnt see no more of him for a long time. And a couple of 01:12:00years went by and I happened to be politicking over there around Homerville and I saw this fellow shuffling alongside the road kind of like Joe Hamill, you know. And I stopped and picked him up, and I just got to talking to him to find out what his name, rank and serial number was. Gonna ask him to vote for me and everything. And I asked him, I says, I says, Did you have polio when you was a child? No. Says, This just happened to me about two or three years ago. I says, Yeah? What happened? Says, Was you in an automobile accident? He said, No. Some son of a bitch in a train hit me over yonder 01:13:00west of Quitman and, uh, and liked to killed me. Ive been in the hospital ever since and all. Well, man, I got o let me get outta here. I didnt want to have no conference with him. And so later they called me to go to court and he was suing the railroad.
DIXON: I had to come back from the Legislature and went down there, and theykept him in one room and me and the rest of us in another room, you know. And he never did I never did run into him during the trial. So they had to put the trial off one Friday evening til Monday morning. So they told everybody, Go to your house. Dont get involved with no conversation about this trial, and all that kind of stuff. And the fellow went home and got up on a 01:14:00mule and the damn mule throwed him and killed him.
SHORT: Oh, my goodness.
DIXON: Now aint that a hell of a note?
SHORT: That is.
DIXON: Just before having to tell that fellow that that was me that was on that train.
SHORT: Yeah. Huh. Well, lets get back for a minute to governors.
DIXON: All right.
SHORT: After Sanders, there was Lester Maddox.
SHORT: What do you think about Maddox and his administration?
DIXON: Maddox was a very dear person. He was really, he was reaching out toanybody that any experience at all about items. About things that affect you. One time, we hadnt been there no time and he was having to make an appointment to State Board of Education. And he called me down there because the fellow was from around Waycross here, and Steve Nimmer was in the Legislature then and he Steve wanted him to get rid of Lonnie Sweatt. Well, Lonnie 01:15:00Sweatt was a old-timer and come from over in Pierce County here.
SHORT: He was on the Highway Board.
DIXON: No, he was on the State Board of Education.
SHORT: Oh, the State Board of Education.
DIXON: He was chairman of the State Board of Education.
DIXON: So Lester was set to reappoint him, but Nimmer got to hollerin andgot to hollerin that he didnt want that fellow elected for a damn thing or reappointed or nothin. So Lester gets me to go down there and bring Nimmer and lets all talk about it a little bit and see if we cant get some righteousness out of it. And I called old Nimmer and he got down there and I kind of had to side with Lester about the thing. I says, The old man, hes good for one thing. Hell beat your behind, Nimmer, just as sure as this comes off like Lester is trying to tell you. He will whip your behind. Well, Nimmer 01:16:00says he told the Governor, he says, Well, Governor, I might not be here but six months, but I want to have done something. If I can get that SOB run off, thatll be part of my victory. Well, Lester didnt appoint him and, sure enough, the old man got in a damn coupe automobile, went all over the district, and beat hell out of Nimmer. Now I happened to help Nimmer along. I got him a job with 3M as a sort of a spokesman during the session. And he was already helping the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association and others. And lets see. Oh, the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association and his own outfit; 01:17:00he was a Chevrolet dealer. They had all kind of crap going on charter-wise. At any rate, Nimmer Nimmers eyes, he was there with Lester and his eyes punched up, looked like a roadmap of China. Thats when he said, Governor, if I aint here but six months, I want to have done something. And so Lester went ahead and run Lonnie off and that was what developed after that. But Nimmer was one of those people that was jolly in defeat though, and particularly since he got them two little ol skinflint jobs that he could forge all kind of expense accounts on, you know. And make it roll smoothly and one hand wouldnt know what the other hand was doing. And we used to set him afire a little bit, Nimmer. He was on the Motor Vehicle Committee, and Ben Jessup was 01:18:00the chairman for many years and Douglas Dean was vice-chairman. So things was going real hip. Every year when you have reorganization or every two years you have to lay out the lines of what the committee can do. It takes ten to be a quorum and it takes if we have 20 members, it takes ten to be a quorum. It takes five to report a bill out of a subcommittee and yeah, yeah, yeah. And Ben Jessup went through all that shit crap and he come out the other end and he says, And, Nimmer, you dont get to vote unless its a tie. Thats after Nimmer had done been gone two years.
DIXON: Nimmer, you cant vote unless theres a tie. One of thefunnier moments, you know.
DIXON: And then we got to telling, also got to telling Douglas Dean that every01:19:00year they gave Ben Jessup the Ford people, the Automobile Dealers Association give Ben Jessup a brand new Ford and youd just leave it there, see. Old Douglas Dean, hes vice-chairman, but you dont say nothing about that; just let him come and say, Look here. Im vice-chairman. Says, Cant cant yall do something to help me a little bit? I says, Well, I says, Im not the one that calls all the shots about anything like that, but, I says, youll have to talk to some of the rest of the boys about it. Old Douglas would go around talking to first one and then the other about getting him a damn automobile like they giving Ben. And all the time, there aint no automobile involved at all.
SHORT: 1970, Jimmy Carter beat Carl Sanders and ran on a platform of01:20:00reorganizing the state government.
SHORT: Quite a battle.
DIXON: Well, I went through that and thats probably my first reorganization,although there had been tints of it along. That was an awful undertaking to say youre gonna do that throughout state government because you can mention one thing; if you just said Department of Human Resources, that would be a masterful load right there. But when you say youre gonna do that throughout state government, youre just almost saying things you cant live up to. But you can go through all the departments of it and it would make might make you feel better or might not. And its one of those things thats always controversial. Theres always more fallout against it than there are for it. 01:21:00
DIXON: Always. Because you upset somebody and then but, anyhow, CarterI mean, yeah, Carter; I went to the trial that they had wherein he won. His mother was there with a group of old ladies, and it was a colorful gathering. We was in the Rules Committee room there in the Senate I mean, in the House. Had the Appropriations Committee there in that thats where they held it. And Ms. Carter, got up there and defended that about the old so-and-so that stole the votes from over there around...
SHORT: Lumpkin, Georgia.
DIXON: Yeah, yeah, yeah, somewhere over there. I knew that dude, the guy thatwas elections--
DIXON: He worked for old Tommy Irvin.01:22:00
SHORT: Joe Hurst.
DIXON: Joe Hurst, right. Joe Hurst worked for my he was in the Legislature.
SHORT: He was.
DIXON: He worked for Tommy Irvin. At the time, Phil Gamble and them.
SHORT: Yeah. That election really set Jimmy Carter on the path to the presidency.
DIXON: That set him on the path to go and to do the thing.
DIXON: So one time, it had been real stormy right there. I have always had aclose association with the Americus delegation. And George Hooks and the various ones that come along. The old lady, whatever her name was that was there. Told you about her husband all the time, you know. And just general language out there on the House floor and crap like that. Something she said to her husband, 01:23:00something her husband said back to her and, yeah, yeah, yeah. But, at any rate, one time, they were trying to get legislation passed to create a new judgeship here and they had made two or three efforts to do it, and George Jordan, who was in the House from Coffee County, would find out about it of course, you know, and he would go object to it, just raise hell just raise holy hell. Well, that, thats hard to create one and the man fitrom the host county there raising all that hell. But they was trying to fix it to where Elie Holton could be appointed judge. Well, Frank Eldidge had got it passed through the Senate. Well, wed try to pass it through the House and George had beat me. He just beat me all over. He was going around with a damn trash can under under dope 01:24:00 and hed be having a trash can hed use for a briefcase to carry all of his files in. And he would come in there right at the last minute and give you a beatin on that kind. So I got Eldridge to pass the thing through the Senate and just give it to me and put it in my pocket. And I was gonna catch George Jordan gone. And I arranged for Tommy Irvin to want to see him and he took off. Well, Elliott Levitas was the chairman I mean, Elliott I mean, Robin Harris was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and he took a walk too to keep from getting involved principle-wise. So I passed that damn thing through the House. But, before I did, Jimmy Carter had come up there in the anteroom and called me out there, and I got out there and he wanted to know if Id amend 01:25:00that bill. I said, Hell, I Is just fixing to do it here! says, Ive just--lot of stuff on it. I'd hate to change it right now. I aint got time. But he, he says, Well, I was wanting you to change it to where Id have a chance to make an appointment myself. I says, Who was you gonna appoint? He says, I was gonna appoint-- the guy I just called his name. The guy I just called his name, uh, ...
DIXON: George? No. The man that was elected judge, good grief.
DIXON: Elie Holton. Elie Holton.
DIXON: He says, I was gonna appoint Elie Holton. I said, Well, hell, Ithink thats who I was kind of doing this for. I says, Yeah, Ill change it. I took my pencil and changed it to where Carterd have the right to make the appointment.
DIXON: And everything rolled smooth then.01:26:00
DIXON: And the fellow got in as the Superior Court Judge in that circuit. Andhe was the second judge. They had a single judge in that 6th Judicial--6th County Judicial Circuit for many, many years, and I got to getting him a secretary and other things to kind of let him keep up with the circuit. And then we got to appointing judges; that cut his work down in half. But that was the way it was born and went on up through. Now theyve gone crazy with it now, appointing judges and creating judgeships that they dont need. I just believe if they were once really overworked, theyre really underworked now because 01:27:00 in that same circuit, instead of just one judge, youve got three. And one of the big one of the biggest squabbles I had was about that same thing. Roscoe Dean would not pass it unless it had a referendum on it. That, now that was the creation of a secretarys position for which LEAA would pay 60 percent of the salary. A judge, a lady from the--oh, hell from the Probation Office was the judge of Superior Court judges secretary also. I mean, but she was just doing it for them. For him. Got no pay for that. She was getting paid from the other bunch. And didnt have to do it. But thats how it was. But, anyhow, I went in there one time about that secretary thing to the Superior 01:28:00Court judge, and Roscoe Dean was holding it up in the Senate. I went in there to talk to him because it was late; the hours were getting late and everything. And I told him, I said, Roscoe. I squatted down by him and there, Ive come down here to see you about that bill youre holding up there for the secretary for the superior court judge, Waycross Judicial Circuit. Roscoe jumped up like a crazy man and went to hollering, Hes gonna hit me! Hes gonna hit me! You know, like a damn crazy. It made me feel about that damn little. I got up me and my ass on out of there. But it made me that Roscoe pulled a damn deal like that. I got Eldridge and them to get him to do it by I threatened to beat his ass out in the hall right there. Old old Dean? 01:29:00
DIXON: And I mean Id have Id have got used up, but Id have damnsure been on him like tar.
SHORT: Well, after Carter, George Busbee beat Lester Maddox, and you servedwith Busbee for a long time.
DIXON: Right, right.
SHORT: Tell us a little bit about Busbee.
DIXON: Well, Busbee was one of them fellows that then you been running up anddown the road with you and going with you to places as a representative, you know, and a member of committees and interim committees and things like that. And Busbee was one of the fellows that I was real close to, felt real close to, because of that association. And then later, the next one to come along was Joe Frank Harris.
DIXON: I felt even stronger toward him than I did George Busbee. I knew JoeFrank a little better. He had been in the House and set there with me a lot, and 01:30:00Joe Frank had been a prince of a gentleman throughout the years. You know? And I knew his wife and everything and I knew all about him and the hard feelings that him and Mr. Jake Cullens had.
DIXON: Thats what some of those blacks used to say. Theyd say, theydsay, Isnt that that Mr. Cullens over yonder a-standing by the door with his hat pulled down over his eye? Id say, Yeah, thats Mr. Cullens.
SHORT: Well, Joe Frank defeated Mr. Cullens.
DIXON: Yeah, he defeated Mr. Cullens...
SHORT: For the House of Representatives.
SHORT: I dont think Mr. Cullens ever got over that.
DIXON: He never got over that at all, no, uh-uh.
DIXON: He went in another direction after that.
SHORT: But but Mr. Cullens and George Bagby were big friends.
DIXON: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they were great friends, yeah.
SHORT: Then there was Zell Miller.
SHORT: You served with Zell.
DIXON: I served with Zell and it was kind of a sugar sweet thing all the time01:31:00that he was there because Murphy, you know, was going at a tangent in another damn direction all the time. And youre having to kind of watch your step and be kosher because Murphy was the kind of fellow would just run you off, you know, if he could. And usually he could. Hed find a way to do it.
SHORT: Uh-huh. They had quite a battle for the many years.
DIXON: For many years, him and Zell did.
DIXON: And that, consequently, that got me in another jam with the dearestfriend I ever had and that was Cap Hicks.
DIXON: Cap Hicks was one of those people that was had plenty of richheritage to him, you know? Experiences thatd come along, hed been able to come along with. I was real proud to have known Cap Hicks during his last days. 01:32:00I went to his funeral. I flew up there. George let me see. No, Zell Miller preached the funeral and Hovie Lister played the piano and sung the only two or three songs that was sung.
SHORT: Right, right, yeah.
DIXON: And it was held at Martha Berry College.
SHORT: In Rome.
DIXON: In Rome.
SHORT: Yeah. And then you served with Roy Barnes.
DIXON: With Roy Barnes, right.
SHORT: And he was--
DIXON: Roy was on my committee with me.
SHORT: Was he?
DIXON: Roy is the best AWOL fellow you ever heard tell of in your life. Hedjust sit on it every now and then about during the middle of the year, says, If you need me, let me know. Or something like that, you know. And then the rest of the time, he was AWOL.
SHORT: Oh, thats funny.
DIXON: He didnt fool with nothing like a little ol committee.
DIXON: Ill say this. He certainly was a breath of fresh air, Roy was. Roy is01:33:00a knowledgeable person and Im sorry that he got on the he didnt deserve what he got at the time he lost that election.
DIXON: He didnt deserve it from the school teachers nor nobody. But theschool teachers just went out on a tangent. And they made a case out of it.
SHORT: Well, is there anything special, Harry, you want to talk about before wewind it up?
DIXON: Well, I am proud to have been been in your company and meet thefriends you brought around. I am proud that Im doing very, very well health-wise, but I reckon 2009s been the worse year Ive ever had. I have really been sick. I was in a coma for ten days, and hatll take a lot out of 01:34:00you. Of course, that meant I had to go back through Baptist Village and learn how to walk again and things like that. So Ive just been back here, back home, about three or four months, you know, with this stuff Ive got now, two ladies that stays with me. But I still enjoy television and current events and current news. I enjoy that as my pastime. And I am proud to still hold enough of my faculties that I can see and that I can hear and do the things thatll keep you abreast of living in a modern world.
SHORT: Kick a football?
DIXON: Yeah. Stayed up last night til I got punchy, watching that perennial.01:35:00
DIXON: You seen it, didnt you?
SHORT: Yeah. Well, youve certainly been a great public servant and youvedone a lot for Georgia, and I want to thank you for Young Harris College and the University of Georgia for being our guest.
DIXON: Well, thank you so much. I I am proud to have been a part of theoverall operation. Ive done several things, if youll notice when you go through that there, thats self-explanatory you might say. And if you I got these things wrote down here; if you need verification of it, Ill get Robbie Rivers to put something together that will show the short title or something.
SHORT: You know, we didnt talk about that. Youre talking about now, aboutthe no-fault insurance.
DIXON: Yeah, about the no-fault insurance. Thats one of em.
SHORT: Yeah, we havent talked about that.
DIXON: The no-fault insurance, right.
SHORT: Well, you were the--
DIXON: The status of no-fault insurance was I was vice-chairman of the01:36:00Insurance Committee. Old man McCracken was chairman. He was a lawyer from Augusta area, and he he hed rather take a dose of croton oil than come down here during the interim. Well, the insurance industry was having a chill about changes they wanted made in that industry and I thought that it was something that presses all the time, but I got to recognize it as being as being a worldwide movement to change the proof of guilt from one party to another party, and do it in a manner that you didnt have to clog up the courts for determining fault. So, thus, the no-fault. They changed it from 01:37:00showing fault to no-fault. And the industry got together and, instead of me and you as individual citizens having to go through a lot of rigmarole to get relief for a fender-bender of some kind that youd usually have to go to court going to court would cost you more than that would and petition it to where your insurance company insured your wreck to you and they liened against your insurance company on down the road if necessary. You mightve been you mightve been the same insurance company, you know. But, at any rate, that Dr. McCracken didnt want to fool with it. He was opposed to it, to tell you the truth.
DIXON: And I was vice-chairman. I had to do a study committee; I was chairmanof that. And then I had to draw up the legislation, but I had a-plenty of help 01:38:00with that. Draw up the legislation. And I passed it through the House against Tom Murphy railing against me. (That was before his time as Speaker, you know.) And so, I passed that almost single-handedly. Although they had several names on there, somebodys got to do the work. You know? Thats the name of that game there. There might be four or five names up there, but that fellows got his name on there first, hes the one that they always look to to answer all the question.
SHORT: Right. Right.
DIXON: The others just to be pretty about it or something. Or provesomething later on, you know, that they done this, that or the other.
SHORT: Right. Any other bills youre proud of?
DIXON: Any what?
SHORT: Any other legislation?
DIXON: Oh, oh.
SHORT: Matters that you passed that youre proud of?01:39:00
DIXON: Yeah, let me see. No-fault insurance. I also created a fund in theAgriculture Department that would reimburse beekeepers for the inspectors tearing up and burning their hives as a result of American or European Foulbroods. Now that was Clinch County is the biggest honey producing county in the state of Georgia. And I had a hold of em. I created that at that time 01:40:00(although it was almost nothing when I created it), but funded it through the Agriculture Department. And then if a state inspector stopped a truckload of bees thats transitory, you know--thats been to Florida working the orange groves and coming back to Georgia, thats where they usually do it is the state line, check them bees. And if theyre bringing back Foulbrood, theyll destroy that hive and everything right there. Setting a match to it, you know. So this reimbursed them for the cost of having to let the Agriculture Department there burn the bees up and burn the hives up. Bob, when you get down to it, when you get to looking through it and going back and trying to remember stuff and forgetting stuff, Ive really forgot about as much as I can remember. And I 01:41:00dont know whether thats the old human being in a cycle or what. But I feel like for the things I did remember that Id done, and I could talk about it pretty much accurately. And I know from whence a lot of that stuff comes and youd be surprised at the people that go through life and dont even know that, you know.
SHORT: Right, yeah.
DIXON: But I, I feel honored to have had the opportunity to have been subjectedto the things I have been subjected to since I have been in the legislature and representing Ware County. You see there where down here one time we had the chairman of the county commission and a fellow that he had working for him stole timber from the county. They just went out there and cut all the timber at the 01:42:00airport and split the money up between them. Well, we had a mean superior court judge here one of those that was a single judge, you know and he put that chairman in jail and would not give him bond. And so there he was in the jail. He was elected. He was in the jail. He couldnt get bond, but he was running the county from the jail cell, signing the county checks to the county employees and everything. Well, thats sort of an atrocity, you know, and it just dont roll that well. Well, I done a bill there that I might have mentioned here (and I dont know), but, any rate, it fixed a provision for the governor to make an appointment in a case like that if theyve been convicted and found guilty. And the governor could go ahead, even though he was elected, 01:43:00and make an appointment to his position. And then if he redeemed his self in some way through he could go right back to where he was, but it didnt hold the county hostage while he and his problems could be well, hell, in that case, him and that fellow was just robbing the county out of that much money. And he was a young fellow just come off just come off the scene here, never been in politics before. And was a likable fellow and everybody liked him, and, damn, they went to doing that the first damn thing. And so Ill never forget I was I had that bill in the House and was giving it the music and old--that fellow from Savannah thats such a controversial black fellow that-- 01:44:00
SHORT: Bobby Hill?
DIXON: Huh? Yeah.
SHORT: Bobby Hill.
DIXON: Bobby Hill. Bobby Hill come up to me and wanted me to allow him to putan amendment on that, and it was because he was attorney for the group down around Warrenton that the county commissioners had stole a bunch of money and so forth and so on, and he was representing em. And I allowed him to put that amendment on there, and it was something inconsequential. It didnt change it in any way at all; it was something just minimal. I expected him to ask for more, but that was minimal and he did and I changed or let him change it to that. And that was so Ive been tried just about every way you can be 01:45:00tried when it comes to dealing with public items and people, you know. Then when I went to Camden County down there, I got a full dose of the sub base. I had hit St. Marys and Kingsland, and they were real nice people to me. Theres about four sections about four factions down there. Damn, if I wasnt friends with all four factions.
SHORT: Thats unusual.
DIXON: Thats unusual. You didnt usually drop your foot in a rut somewherealong the line, wont you?
DIXON: Well, Bob, I know that its hard that itd be hard for youthe way that Ive been inconsistent with things here and carried on here with no more of a format than we had going. I just hope that you can pick it clean. 01:46:00
SHORT: Its been great.
DIXON: That you can pick it clean and I wont have to--
SHORT: Its been great. I wouldnt change it.
DIXON: --wont have cussed anybody.
SHORT: Listen. Its been great. I wouldnt have changed a thing.
DIXON: Is that right?
SHORT: Thats exactly right.
DIXON: Well, I want you to know that Ive just done about half of it. One ofthe things I got to remind you of, old H. W. Lott was a Superior Court Judge. You remember him from way back.
SHORT: Berrien County.
DIXON: H. W. Lott.
DIXON: All right. He lived over in the circuit over here next door, the onethat Brooks Blitch is in.
DIXON: So he was got appointed as a traveling judge, you know, like onecircuitll get another judge to hear cases over in theirs. So he was over there at Douglas one day, which was out of his which was in the Waycross judicial circuit. But Judge Lott was over there looking down the jury list one 01:47:00morning, and George Jordan and another fellow was there trying a case. And the judge was looking at his book. The jury was sitting over there. And George and the fellow got in a squabble and George hit him right in the nose and it went to blowing blood everywhere, and he went to his knees and old and the fellow got up and got to hollerin and snortin blood and said, You seen him, Judge! You seen him, didnt ya? Old H. W. had been looking at the jury list and he looked back out there at them and says, Lookie here. Yall cut that out. Thats what you call a hell of a comeback.
DIXON: Thats what you call order in the court, wasnt it?
SHORT: Thats great.
DIXON: Lookie here. Yall cut that out. He just knew that George wasgonna get him in trouble out there, sure enough. And old George, George was my 01:48:00friend. He was a good friend, although he was really out of it in his latter years. He was out of it. One time I went by Douglas and they had a undertakers thing out there on the courthouse lawn and had three or four people out there around and everything, and I looked over there and it was George Jerdan and he was holding a big service for burying Miscellaneous. He had cut it to where the county could not operate with a--you know, that kind of fund, Miscellaneous Fund, and was burying it on the courthouse lawn.
SHORT: Thats pretty funny.
DIXON: Thats pretty funny.
DIXON: And that, you know what? Ive enjoyed that kind of stuff.01:49:00
DIXON: Being in being involved in it and knowing something about it.
DIXON: Knowing something about it. And, by the way, before Groover died, II was on the Highway Board. I got that highway between between Macon and Gray named Groover. Its a four-lane highway. And me and Langdale was up there here a while back and come down that highway, and we got about halfway down it and old Langdale says, I havent seen none of Groovers signs. I, finally I seen one or two and then thered be a skip, wouldnt be none for a long time. And then so that DOT wasnt keeping them up worth a damn, you know.
DIXON: Because Groover had died too, you know.
SHORT: Yeah. Yeah.
DIXON: Yeah, the day that I had that occasion up there recognizing that as01:50:00Groover Road, he had to stop me during the initial part of the ceremony there because I had forgot to ask the preacher to say the--and imagine old Groover, as tough as he is, having to remind me about saying the blessing. Asking the blessing. Thats one of the things, as Marvin said, Youll get your tongue over hung over your ears.
SHORT: Harry, thank you.
DIXON: Well, Bob, have I...
SHORT: Its been a wonderful conversation.
DIXON: I just...
SHORT: We appreciate it.
DIXON: I hope so because if you want to, well do part 2 and 3 later.
SHORT: Okay. Okay.
SHORT: We could do that. Love to do it.