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On The Light Side

December 20, 1988

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) _ Attorney Dean Sanders told client Jo Ann Hawkins that he wanted a red Mercedes for Christmas, and she made his wish come true. She even rode it into his fourth-floor law office.

Ms. Hawkins burst through the door of the Schenk and Sanders law office in this north Texas city Monday atop a mule she’d named Mercedes and decorated with a red ribbon.

″Those (other) Mercedes cost $70,000,″ the Bowie, Texas, woman said. ″That’s a $30 mule.″

After riding in, Ms. Hawkins escorted the animal to a back room where Sanders was meeting with a client, and knocked on the door.

When handed the reins, Sanders responded, ″What is this?″

Staff members who were in on the surprise broke into laughter as the bewildered attorney came up with more questions.

″What is it? Is it a real mule? What’s its name? Where am I going to keep it?″ he asked.

He said he isn’t sure what he will do with the mule, which was taken care of Monday night by a friend.

″I could take him over to the courthouse, stake him to the courthouse lawn and he could run for judge next year,″ he said.


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - In 1899, two local businessmen went to Atlanta and acquired the first rights to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola - for $1.

That’s how the world’s first Coke bottling plant wound up in this southeastern Tennessee city, and that’s why a retired Coca-Cola executive wants to open a museum devoted to the popular soft drink.

Sebert Brewer Jr. heads a group that’s working on plans for The Coke Plant, a proposed $3 million to $5 million high-tech museum near the city’s riverfront.

″We want to show the stages that Coca-Cola bottling went through from the beginning of the bottles all the way to the cans and the talking machines, all the ways it has reflected changes in the American life,″ said Sandy Wagner, a Boston consultant helping plan the project.

Ideally, the museum would be housed in the old downtown Coca-Cola bottling plant, which now serves as headquarters for the Hamilton County Board of Education.

The museum would have a permanent collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia, show traveling exhibits from Coca-Cola Co. archives in Atlanta and give audiovisual presentations on Coke history, marketing and technology.

Financing for the museum is still up in the air, Brewer said, but the group will probably seek some assistance from local and state governments and private donations.

Last month, Coca-Cola announced plans to build a $10 million four-story museum in Atlanta called The World of Coca-Cola to chronicle the history of the 102-year-old soft drink company. That project is scheduled to open in 1990.

The Coke Plant would not be sponsored by the Atlanta conglomerate, but Brewer said Coke officials have expressed support, and he believes there’s room for two attractions.

″We’re extremely optimistic we can pull it off,″ he said.

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