1956 New Years Eve Skit by Robert Phillips
EDGEWATER EXPRESSWAY, THE YEAR 1999
This is the story of a community located on a road once known as “Edgewater Road.” A community originally settled by the Cubbedges, Brannens, Loves and Phillips away back yonder in the early 1900s when Edgewater Road was a winding, sandy, rutted road in the wilderness of Chatham County. A community that had its problems with septic tanks, dry wells, power failures, bridge washouts, forest fires, snakes, wild animals and other reptiles. A community of petition circulators, for and against every conceivable thing—sometimes to further progress then again to stop progress, for road scraping and against road scraping, almost solidly against pollution while yet polluting, for cutting trees and stopping others from cutting trees, for better ingress and egress to their community and then again to block off other means of entering their community. A community of borrowers but not returners. A community of people with a burning desire for years to connect their community with the White Bluff Road (now U.S. Highway 17 South), only to succeed and then block of the road and hold out for years to their deadened road. A community of easement sellers, trying to get rich off taxpayers money. This is just a short summary of the type of people who helped to settle this community in order that you might better understand our presentation tonight.
Picture if you can this location back in the year 1956 when the Edgewater Expressway was only a dirt, rutted road winding through a settlement of approximately seven or eight houses. Where today stands the modern 40-story office building was once the location of Grandpa Cubbedge’s outhouse which probably accounts for the green lawn and beautiful flowers. Sandwiched in among commercial buildings, residential apartments, speedways, landing strips, swimming pools, space ship refueling stations and over the subways still stand the little quaint buildings in which the Cubbedges, Brannens, Loves and Phillips reside to this day. Where once used to wind the muddy, forever-tide-out, polluted creek is now our beautiful deep water river, properly dredged out by the County.
Enough of this and on with the skit—
The scene opens in the home of Robert Phillips, a little block dwelling on Edgewater, Harriet sits still trying to get a tune from the old piano. Lydia with her son Hurt III shooting marbles on the living room floor speaks first:
LYDIA: Mama, why don’t you quit banging on that old piano? You and little Hurt are getting on my nerves. Don’t you all have any consideration of my condition. If this one isn’t a girl I give up.
HARRIET: I think its time with little Robert, Jr., Jack, Iveyson, Harry and John. What would you name this one if it’s a boy?
LYDIA: Let’s not even think of it. By the way, where is Daddy?
HARRIET: Out playing golf with those Brannens again. Tommie, George and Earl are still trying to beat him and they act like kids about that silly game. He doesn’t know it, but he’s going to have to scrub the kitchen when he gets home—I think I hear him coming now.
(Enters Robert with golf club in hand, using it as a cane.)
ROBERT: Oh my god, you here with that little noisy brat again. He’s just like that great grandfather of his!
HARRIET: Boy you are sure in a bad mood, what’s the matter did you lose today?
ROBERT: Well, don’t you think it’s about time after over 50 years. Not only did both George and Earl finally beat me but Tommie even broke a 100.
(Enters Earl excited with a flower in his hand.)
EARL: Man, look at the rare camellia I finally got off one of my grafts. I didn’t think those things would ever bloom.
ROBERT: Well, your grafts are only about 50 years old and this is already the second one to bloom.
EARL: Where is Hurt & Ivey? The last time I saw Hurt he was looking for his drill, accusing me and everyone else of having it.
ROBERT: (Putting drill under the table) Don’t tell him you saw it over here. It’s about time for him to come in from the SAL Shops. You know they have him changing fuses in the Seaboard’s rocket ships now. As for Ivey, she’s in a mad rush sewing an evening dress for Lydia to wear to a New Year’s Eve party tonight—What was that that went by with the squirrel tails flying in the breeze?
EARL: That was George, you know he has bought another big, junky second-hand Buick. The way that boy loves those big Buicks,
HARRIET: He must be on the way to see Delores, you know that she has had another girl.
ROBERT: What name did she come up with for this one after Lisa, Mona Lisa, Militia and that other flock of girls of hers?
EARL: I don’t know, but I think it’s about time someone told George what causes people to have babies.
ROBERT: By the way Earl, did you ever get together with the Subway Company on a figure for easement rights through your land?
EARL: Oh, yes, I finally settled for a couple thousand dollars and a free pass to ride on the subway for me, my heirs and assigns. Mike never could reach an agreement and I understand that the Subway people and the Sewerage people are going to take Mike to court.
ROBERT: I wish he would hurry up and settle with the Sewerage deal, that ten acres of his is the only place in the County still with outdoor privies.
HARRIET: Have you heard whether Betty and Buster are coming out for the New Year’s Eve Party this year?
ROBERT: I was talking to Buster today and he says he won’t be able to make it because he is trying to finish up his new split 40-level house.
EARL: I understand he is going to have 40 bathrooms in this one.
ROBERT: And each one is going to have automatic commodes.
HARRIET: What is an automatic commode?
ROBERT: I don’t know but he figures that he will save enough on toilet tissues the first year to pay for them.
LYDIA: Have you seen the antique lamp Billie swapped around and came up with?
EARL: Billie finally ran up against a swapper that could out-talk her and she got so confused that she swapped both Michael and Donald for that fool lamp.
PATTY (Enters room) Hi, Lyd. Daddy did you see all those cars leaving Pop’s house?
EARL: Yes, I saw all those cars leaving Daddy’s house and I was wondering who they were.
PATTY: You may not believe this, but all the preachers in Savannah were hurrying to a meeting to re-write the Bible. That’s some Bible classes Pop’s holding at his house. Say, Daddy, have you heard how Mama is?
EARL: Yes, the chiropractor is trying to set her neck.
LYDIA: How in the world did she hurt her neck?
PATTY: She was watching the cars whiz by on this expressway and one of them turned all the way around and so did Mama’s head.
Lydia, do you have a babysitter so that you can come to my recital? To tell you the truth, I don’t know whether Mommie is going to mind all my kids. She’s so mad with Daddy because he’s going to make the house into apartments again. It’s a good thing, though, that he never did haul those things on the porch to Tybee.
LYDIA: Yes, I have everyone taken care of except little Hurt III. Nobody wants to keep him.
PATTY: Have you heard whether or not Lawton and Dorothy will be down for the New Year’s party?
LYDIA: No, I understand they’ve already made reservations to see Tech play Mars in the Moon Bowl. You know Little Lawton now has eleven sons playing on Tech’s team this year.
PATTY: Imogene told me the other day that she and Ray would be present. Some of our friends are going to be in for a shock when these two arrive, however. The new wonder drugs have put a full head of hair on Ray, but they caused all of Imogene’s hair to fall out.
LYDIA: Marilyn told me that she and Paul were coming if Paul got his air conditioning system installed. Have you heard, Patty, what religion he’s joining this year?
PATTY: Not any, since he just handed the contractor a $500 bill to cover all expenses. You know, they are rolling in dough since Marilyn started modeling in the nude for Esquire photos.
ROBERT: Earl, let me see that picture again you took in 1956.
EARL: Where is the New Year’s party going to be held this year?
ROBERT: Haven’t you heard? Mike and Billie are giving it and furnishing all the whiskey…
ALL CAST: See you at Mike’s in 1999. HAPPY NEW YEAR.