November 23, 2004
Tifton--- Most parents feel thankful this holiday for their children, and so is a family with a special son who brings joy to them and to their town.
A good idea can take a life of its on, as Barbara and Joe Vines found out with what they call their third, and surprise son, named Johnny. "Just to give the community something to smile about," says Barbara Vines.
When they moved here, they had an unsightly property marker, but Joe had a better idea to replace the marker with a concrete creation of a little boy driving a tractor.
They did more than sit it in their yard. The Vines go to great lengths to make sure their special son wears the most up to date clothing, going all out for every special occasion like Thanksgiving and Halloween. "We just kind of watch after him and keep him dressed properly," says Joe Vines.
The hard truth is that he's hard to fit. "The concrete don't give an inch," says Barbara as she adjusts Johnny's Halloween mask. His concrete body demands the perfect fit, with his doting mother having to make or altering his clothes. "Just want him to look perfect," says Barbara.
A little duct tape helps. "That tucks his little sweater in his waist," says Barbara as puts rolled up piece under the orange sweater. They waste no opportunity to show off their son.
A family photo album includes Johnny prepared for the storms that hit this past summer. The political Johnny, who revealed his political preferences the day before the November general election. The good natured Halloween Johnny with a friendly mask. And, the Thanksgiving Johnny. Barbara already has his Christmas suit ready to go.
Hundreds of cars pass daily, with people making it a point drive by to see what Johnny is wearing that day. "One thing lead to another, and it kind of exploded on us," says Joe.
An explosion of community fun and thanksgiving. "I got a feeling this will go on for a while." And, many people would like that, thankful for a young boy who has the corner on expressing thanksgiving.
Johnny's small size offers his parents a challenge to find or make the right outfits, including a football helmet he wore during the high school football season.
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