At Saturday’s Pickin’ on the Square in downtown Franklin, retiring Highway Patrolman Joe Morris was treated to a “roast” by veteran storyteller and emcee Patti McClure and Pickin’ coordinator Donnie Clay.
Morris’ daughter Beth presented him with an American flag that had flown over the state capitol and a letter of commendation from the office of Rep. Heath Shuler.
Morris was a highway patrolman in North Carolina for 20 years.
Photos by Betsey Gooder
Roasting of Joe Morris
We're here tonight to roast a man ... Joe Morris is his name.
Now I don't really know if Joe Morris has ever had his claim to fame!
But I met this man way back in 1979 ...
It's hard for me to roast him cause I think he is mighty fine.
So Joe, just sit back and listen cause I'm gonna roast you really hot.
I'm gonna tell the world what you have done and what you have not.
But let's tell all your friends just where you were born
Over in Jackson County February 16,1944 early in the morn.
You must not have liked Jackson County so much cause you moved over the hill ...
Right here in Macon County . .. and you happily remain here still!
Who would ever believed you worked in a shoe factory when you were a young man. You were only 20 years old and to be a highway patrolman was your plan.
You worked in the shoe factory while waiting to get in highway patrolman school.
Man, it didn't take long for you to learn to be a patrolman you couldn't be no fool.
Well you might not have been married just once, Joe.
Cause Mary Ann, Dale and Elaine are three of your wives I know.
Man, Joe, what in the world were you thinking about to get married three times.
Gosh, I bet all those marriages cost you a whole bunch of nickels and dimes.
Your first wife was Mary Ann and the two of you adopted a baby girl, oh my.
She was the cutest little girl named Beth and she will always be the "apple of your eye."
Then you were married to Dale who was such a wonderful gal;
And she was taken to heaven and you lost ·your wife and your pal.
Now you are currently married to Elaine, wife number three
This marriage is still working and you seem happy as you can be.
Now three marriages, what were you thinking, Joe?
Lots of responsibility that's one thing for sure I know.
Enough on your marriages, Let's get on with you being a patrolman for 20 years.
I know sometimes when you think of what you did you might even shed a few tears.
After Patrol School, you worked in Bryson City as a secretary .... 1964 was the year.
Then to Winston-Salem, Highlands and back to Franklin and you didn't shed a tear,
Cause you were tired of patrolling and giving tickets everywhere but closer to home.
You were getting tired of driving a patrol car and no more did you want to roam.
After 20 years as a highway patrolman, you decided it was time for you to quit.
So you turned in your badge and gun and said I've had enough of this job!!!
But they tell me you were a darn good trooper and really followed the law;
And as you traveled up and down many highways, there's no telling what you saw.
There's no telling just how many tickets you gave as you were hard at work.
There's no telling how many people you stopped probably even many a "jerk"!
I heard that you were one of the first highway patrolman to have a radar in your car.
Boy, I bet with radar on your patrol car G631 you knew who was speeding near or far.
I also heard that you were part of an escort for Lady Bird Johnson ... lucky you;
And you were part on the Riot Squad with Martin Luther King another job you did do.
Yes, you were a really good trooper and your fellow officers enjoyed working with you,
After 20 years of being a highway patrolman, it was time to find something else to do.
The first job after being a patrolman, you decided to open up a gas station in town.
You knew people had to have gas in their cars just to ride around.
But you soon got tired of that and decided-you had to find something else to do.
The next adventure was to go to Waynesville and open a jewelry shop brand new.
You piddled with jewelry for a while and you even fixed a diamond ring for me.
You were having a time just finding a job that really suited you to a tee.
When you were offered a job with Homer Holbrooks, you were happy as could be.
You worked as a lieutenant for Homer till 2002 and you started in the year 1993.
Working somewhere in the law enforcement was really what you liked to do.
And you had a chance to move to Cherokee County's Sheriff Office sometime in 2002.
Now Joe, at your age, working over in Murphy was the job that just suited you;
You were a captain there and just until yesterday, August 31st , is what you did do.
Now I especially want to recognize Joe as a Mason as tonight I speak here.
He has been a part of the Masonic Lodge since 1969 ... that's many a year.
Now Joe I certainly have not roasted you to very hot tonight, my dear man.
I'll leave that up to you so called friends to roast you as I hear that's the plan.
But as your friends roast you tonight, know they love and respect you quite well;
And I had fun writing this poem for you and I hope your night turns out swell.
By Patti McClure
September 1, 2012