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The Lady and the Lynx
by Jim Holder




I am a volunteer (Vice Chairman) on our local Planning and Zoning Commission. Several weeks ago I phoned a lady who is a county employee in our Planning and Engineering Department and asked her to have her boss call me. I gave her my telephone number.

About 20 minutes later my phone rang and I recognized her raspy voice. She said very abruptly, "I live down the street from you people at Animal Control and have a problem I need to talk about.”

I have no connection with Animal Control, of course, but I said, "Well, what is it?"

She went on to tell me about this "lynx" that is living in her backyard and whups up on her tomcat on a regular basis. She said, “I know it’s a lynx; it has a bobbed tail." I told her it might be a bobcat, but bobcats have tufts growing out of their ears. (I know they are one and the same.)

We both went on and on about how mean lynxes are. She told me she had to get a stick to make it let go of her big tomcat's throat every evening, and it was “gonna kill her cat if we did not do something about it.”

I allowed as how those are very mean animals and we didn’t want to have it attack us. I explained that we at Animal Control were scared of lynxes AND bobcats. She agreed they were mean but insisted something had to be done. What were we to do?

She asked again for us to come out and handle it, as it was our job. I told her we were county employees and therefore did not do a lot. She made no comment so I repeated myself and got into it further, expanding on how we were so underpaid that about all we could bring ourselves to do was capture puppies and kittens and did not do that too often. She didn’t make any comment.

Then she asked about trapping the lynx. I suggested she get a humane trap that would cost her “about $400.” She asked if we had any. I told her we certainly did, as this was Animal Control, although we didn’t use them since we were afraid of getting bit. She then disgustedly asked me to bring her one so she could trap the lynx.

I said I could do that but she’d have to pay a $300 deposit. She fairly shouted that she could not afford that large amount. So then I informed her we did have a discount for county employees and inquired if, by chance, she worked for the county. She said yes, so I offered the trap to her for a $200 deposit. She said that was still too much because she worked for the county, just like I did, and I should understand her financial situation. This lynx was gonna kill her cat and she could not even afford the reduced deposit.

Then she wanted to know if she got all of the $200 back, so I informed her that if she caught the lynx, then clearly the trap worked okay and we would not refund her deposit. But if she was unable to capture the mean beast, then we would refund half or $100. This still was WAY too much money. She went on and on about how she HAD to get rid of the crazed lynx. She was very upset, and by now I was wondering how I was gonna get out of this.

I asked her if she had some influential friends since she worked in the County Planning and Engineering Department. She said she knew a lot of folks, so I asked if she knew the County Commission Chairman. She informed me she worked closely with him all the time (which I knew, of course) so I suggested she have him call me with the request and I could probably let her have the trap for $50. This she was not excited about doing, although she clearly thought about it for a few minutes. I then asked her if she knew anyone on the Planning Commission, as they were an influential group of very nice people. She was quiet for a few seconds . . . and then hollered out:

“JIM HOLDER!”

She told me she kept thinking mine was a familiar voice! She had written my number down next to one she got for Animal Control and called me by mistake. Our conversation had gone on for 10 minutes and I enjoyed every second of it, although I was getting a shade nervous at the end.

And by the time of our next scheduled commission meeting, the entire county staff knew all about . . . The Lady and the Lynx.

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Jim Holder was born in Lexington, Mississippi, and attended school there until moving to Jackson in 1946. He attended Barr and Whitfield Elementary, Enochs Junior High and Central High, graduating, barely, in 1955.

In his senior year at Central, Jim joined the Mississippi Air National Guard and continued to serve as an enlisted Airman for the five years he took him to finish four years of college. The ANG finally realized after his graduation at Mississippi Southern in 1960 that he could never pass the test for Sergeant, so they commissioned him a Second Lieutenant and sent him to USAF Pilot Training.

After winning his Silver Wings, Jim continued to fly in the Air Guard; however, in 1963 he was hired by Eastern Air Lines. Over the years he was based at Chicago, New York City, Boston, Miami and, for the most part, Atlanta. He flew just about every airplane Eastern had during his 27 year career, including the DC-7, Constellations, Electra, DC-8, L-1011 TriStar and the B-727 WhisperJet, which was his favorite. He was very active in the ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) and served as the Vice Chairman and two terms as Chairman for the Atlanta Council. Additionally, he held numerous positions at ALPA Headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, including 14 years, most as Chairman, on the Appeal Board, the highest judicial body at ALPA.

After Eastern, Jim flew the B-727 for American Trans Air until required by the Federal Air Regulations to retire at age 60. Since retirement he has been very active in the two Eastern pilot retiree groups (REPA and The Silver Falcons), serving both as President. He is currently the REPA webmaster and editor of their magazine, REPArtee. He resides in the Atlanta area, where he is constantly looking for something to fill up the magazine!

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