Just 10 minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day, as we were all kissing our significant others and raising the bubbly, former Lt. Gov. John Shelton Wilder passed away in Memphis. He had suffered a stroke at home earlier in the week.
While bipartisan tributes rolled in for the former legislative leader, more cynical comments about the timing of Wilder’s passing found their way online.
Some people pointed out that at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the federal inheritance tax — more often derided as the “death tax” — expired, meaning Wilder’s heirs wouldn’t be subject to paying a significant portion of his estate to the government. These commenters wondered whether the family had kept Wilder alive to exploit this tax law loophole created when Congress failed to act last year.
To lay this insensitive conspiracy theory to rest, here are the facts: Wilder was brain dead and taken off of life support almost two days before he succumbed. At that point, the family was told that the beloved Tennessee figure could hang on anywhere from two to 48 hours.
As had been his lifelong habit in matters both personal and political, Wilder lasted longer than anyone expected.
Rex has learned that some punk has launched a war on Nashville’s best-known bastion of privilege.
Patrons at the Belle Meade Country Club discovered — fortunately not the hard way — that someone tied high-strength fishing line between two trees and across a golf cart path. The fishing line was about chest (or neck) high and about four strands strong.
Rex’s well-bred sources say the BMCC has requested that the Belle Meade Police increase their patrols around the golf course, particularly in the evening and early morning hours, to attempt to identify any malicious activities.
While they’re at it, maybe the long arm of the law there can also get to the bottom of another case Rex discovered a while back. Readers might remember that a dark brown, ankle-length Gus Mayer fur coat was taken “accidently” from the BMCC cloakroom a year ago and still hasn’t been returned.
It’s freaking cold, people, so whoever took it needs to return it. Somewhere in the Belle Meade Kroger right about now, there’s an unhappy woman whose ankles are turning blue.
As regular Rex readers know, he was on break over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. All that really means is he spent less time doing what his editors told him to do and more time doing what his wife said.
He did get out a bit, though, and saw a couple of celebrities on the town being average Joes.
The first was at a bar where Rex went to watch a little bowl game action. It was a bit disconcerting when Rex’s buddy said, “Hey, look who just walked in. It’s James Denton from Desperate Housewives!”
This is not the type of exclamation particularly welcome from a guy at a sports bar. It’s cool that James Denton, a Nashville native, can go out and have a beer without being bothered. What’s uncool is instantly recognizing a dude from a nighttime soap geared to women and interrupting a football game to talk about it.
Rex and the rest of his friends are thinking of leaving that buddy at home come March Madness.
The other star sighting was at a local Publix. Rex was walking in when he noticed a luxury car with a vanity plate that read, “NOSHOW4.” That could only mean one thing — that old possum George Jones was around.
Rex was worried initially that Jones had fallen off the wagon because there’s a liquor store right next door. But imagine his relief 20 minutes later when he ended up right behind “No Show” at the checkout counter.
Rex had to look. Jones bought two pies and four canned hams. No possum.