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June 18, 2008

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By Kerri Testement

How do you honor your father?
What do you get for the man who doesn’t completely realize he’s a father?
My husband has been a great father to our little girl — but it still doesn’t “click” with him at times that’s a daddy.
And it still slips his mind that I’m a mommy, too.
Let me be clear: We know we’re parents. It’s just when Mother’s Day or Father’s Day roll around, we think about our own parents. We get them cards. We try to give them a gift or take them out for a special dinner.
But we have forgotten that we, too, are parents to our daughter for the special occasions.
On Mother’s Day, my husband was preparing to take his mom out for lunch. I had to work later that afternoon and couldn’t join them.
It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that it suddenly “clicked” for my husband.
“Oh! Hey, babe! Happy Mother’s Day,” he said in the middle of another task. I was just happy that he remembered — and I didn’t have to say a word to remind him about myself now being included in Mother’s Day.
While I know that Father’s Day is approaching this weekend, I don’t know how to celebrate a man that’s been a terrific daddy for his little girl.
The Census Bureau provides some interesting information about where to shop for Father’s Day.
I could buy a shirt or tie at one of more than 8,685 men’s clothing stores around the country. I could buy some tools at one of the nation’s 14,257 hardware stores or 5,925 home centers. Or, I could buy a football at one of 23,195 sporting goods stores in the country.
There are an estimated 64.3 million fathers in this country, according to the Census Bureau. About 26.5 million men are fathers who are part of married-couple families with children younger than 18, as of 2006.
Father’s Day started after a Spokane, Wash., woman listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. She wanted a special day to honor her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who raised his six children.
Spokane’s mayor selected Father’s Day with a June celebration because that’s when the Civil War veteran was born.
The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson named the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day, according to the Census Bureau.
Father’s Day has been celebrated every year since 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
So, how do you honor a man that’s been a great father? The answer to that question shouldn’t come just one day a year.
Kerri Testement is the news editor of The Braselton News, a sister publication of The Banks County News. E-mail comments about this column to

By Jana A. Mitcham

A rude awakening
I got a letter in the mail the other day notifying me that the monthly cost of our trash pick-up was increasing, due to fuel costs.
I can understand that necessity, from a business standpoint.
Still, it’s another drop in the bucket of rising costs for all of us.
Even stamp prices are on the rise, again. Just how many times have you found yourself tacking on a one-cent stamp in the past few years, trying to get some use out of the already outpriced stamps you bought in a roll?
Prices in general are up and climbing.
The economy is down and declining, so we hear. Word has it that 2009 and 2010 will bring a stronger recession.
I talked with an older man – he’s in his 80s– not too long ago who said he believes “young people” are in for a rude awakening. It’s possible, he said, another Depression, or the likes, is before us.
Still, he pondered, it might be good for “them” to tighten up their belts, to think about costs before spending, to ration.
In other words, to live frugally, like our grandparents and our parents did. (Um, trash pick-up wasn’t an issue, for a very small example.)
I’m one of the semi-young people who hasn’t had to stand in a bread line or to “make do” with rationing.
Still, I do have some very vague recollection of seeing the long lines of cars on television during the oil embargo of the 1970s, or perhaps even being in our family car and waiting at the gas station. From what I’ve read, motorists with odd-numbered tags would buy gas on odd-numbered days and so forth.
I do remember with clarity that there was a time when it cost me $8 — yes, $8 — to fill up my car with gas. Now it’s closer to $50 — up $20 in just a matter of months — and that’s low, in comparison to other, larger vehicles.
There is some cost relativity, of course, as at that $8 time, the minimum wage was just over $3 an hour. I would have been in high school and early college, so I probably didn’t earn a lot more than minimum wage.
But, in retrospect….$8!
Now prices are inflated, but people’s income is not matching pace. Health insurance is going up, cost of living is going up, expenses in general are going up. All different messes, but they all pile up to expensive living.
An article about how the economy is facing that “’70s feeling” again notes “some parallels between today and the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the oil-dependent U.S. economy saw double-digit inflation largely because of an unexpected energy shock. Growth fell while inflation rose, creating stagflation - a stagnant economy and high inflation.”
I can’t pretend to be an economist. I’m not sure of the exact differences between recession and Depression, and whether or not those terms may be used interchangeably.
Still, I have to agree with my 80-plus friend. I believe we will all be tightening our belts sooner than later.
Jana Adams Mitcham is features editor of The Jackson Herald, a sister publication of The Banks County News. E-mail comments about this column to


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