Monday, April 9, 2012

Sinkhole Shakes Up Vinewood Residents

Vinewood, GA — A sinkhole that appeared without warning in the middle of Main Street has the residents of Vinewood up in arms. It has already claimed one life, that of local man Calvin Hull, when it opened up under his car while he was driving.

Local pharmacist George “Doc” Taggert attributes Hull’s demise to pure bad luck — simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It could’ve been any one of us,” Taggert said. “But it just happened to be Calvin on that very spot when the earth fell out from under him. Can you imagine what that must’ve been like? Tooling along Main Street in your new car, then boom. The street falls away and the earth swallows you up.”

The sinkhole is currently roped off with yellow “Caution!” tape, and through-traffic is blocked by yellow-and-black saw horses affixed with battery-operated flashers. But one man thinks that is not enough to protect the town.

Though scoffed at by officials, Cornelius Weehunt feels he has his finger on the common man’s pulse. “Folks is worried now the whole town might be swallowed up,” he states, pointing down at the slab of Main Street slanting into the deep pit. “Lookit that. Like a road to Hell.”

Weehunt has taken to standing guard by the sinkhole at night. “I don’t like standing this close to it, but somebody has to keep watch until it’s filled in and paved over. Nobody else is doing it.” He further explains, “All I care about is making sure nothing evil comes out of there. But if something does, I’ll raise the alarm.” Weehunt likens himself to railroad signalmen, and especially to the boy who stuck his finger in a dyke.

Known to locals as “Corny,” Weehunt was nearly killed himself ten years ago when he took a fall from a ladder while painting and landed on his head. Some locals believe that the accident affected Corny’s intelligence, but he disagrees. “People say I’m retarded, but that’s not true. It’s just that part of my brain is dead. And it can’t be one of the real important parts. If it was, I wouldn’t be helping out the town by watching over things at the edge of this sinkhole in the middle of the night, would I? Heck, no. Ain’t no flies on Cornelius Weehunt.”

Whether Weehunt becomes a local hero or the sinkhole’s next victim remains to be seen, but the mood has definitely changed here in Vinewood. “Vinewood used to be such a quiet little town,” seems to be a common refrain. Well, it’s very unlikely that things will be quiet in Vinewood for some time to come.

Readers looking for more information on Vinewood and its residents are invited to seek out Bad Juju, author Randy Chandler's history of the incident, published by Acid Grave Press.