From Chicken Soup for the Country Soul

Zell and Fuzz

This is a true story. It happened up in my hometown of Young Harris. Young Harris is a very small town. We didn’t even have a fire department.

One day, a house caught fire. The whole town gathered around to watch it. We were helpless to put it out. About that time, we saw a pickup truck come over the ridge. It was a local character named Fuzz Chastain. He had his wife with him, all their kids, a cousin or two, and some aunts and uncles.

Fuzz drove right down to where we were all standing, but he didn’t stop. He drove that pickup right into the middle of the fire. He jumped out and so did everybody else. They started beating the fire with anything they could find—even their clothes.

It took ’em thirty minutes, but danged if they didn’t put out that fire. The mayor of Young Harris was there. He said, “This is the most courageous thing I have ever seen in Young Harris. Let’s pass the hat for Fuzz Chastain.”

They raised seventeen dollars. The mayor presented the money to Fuzz. “Fuzz,” he said, “the people of Young Harris appreciate this heroic act of yours.” Fuzz’s hair was singed, his clothes were burned and torn.

“But, Fuzz, there is one thing I’d like to know,” the mayor went on. “What are you going to do with the money?”

Fuzz thought for a minute and then said, “Well, Mr. Mayor, I guess the first thing I ought to do is get the brakes fixed on that pickup.”

Zell Miller
As told to Lewis Grizzard

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