More Jackson County Opinions...

 October 18, 2000


By Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
October 18, 2000

Pandemonium at the Beckstine residence
A few months after we moved into our house, my husband and I held a housewarming party and invited all of our family and friends. We cleaned everything. I got out the oven cleaner to clean the oven I may have used 12 times and Eric got out the paint and a paintbrush to go over a few spots we had smudged moving in heavy furniture. With all the cleaning we did, someone would think we expected Martha Stewart to come over. I kept thinking that most of the people who were coming into the house had known me for so long that they would know that my natural state is cluttered. Not dirty, just cluttered. Mail on the computer desk. Clean clothes in the laundry basket. Shoes anywhere but in the closet. Still, everything found its place on the day of the party.
I had never planned games for a party, but for this one, my first housewarming party, I did. I decided that a scavenger hunt would be just the thing to break the ice. Eric and I bought little prizes at the dollar store and I spent a whole evening with my sister-in-law picking out the perfect places to hide them. We had 20 prizes in all that I hid in various places throughout the house like the oven, the bathtub, the toy box, and in drawers and closets. It took me half a day just to come up with the perfect clues that would not be too easy.
When everyone arrived at our house, Eric and I handed out bags and asked everyone to choose a partner. I got several speculative looks and I started feeling like maybe this wasn't such a good idea. The adults didn't look too enthused and the men in my family and in Eric's just refused to take bags. I explained the rules and the goal: to come back to me first with proof that they had solved every clue in the form of the prize or a strip of paper that was also at each location with the prize number on it. At last, I gave out the page of clues to each team, starting with the kids' teams and giving them a head start.
Before long, the spirit of competition had overtaken everyone and my house was pandemonium. My sweet grandmother, Ginky, and my uncle Jon split up to search for prizes separately in order to finish first (this was against the rules). Jon grabbed all of the strips of paper from the grill on the back porch when he grabbed the prize. I told him to put it back. My sister-in-law, Ida, caught sweet Ginky carrying the location of the prize around with her as she searched for other prizes. Ginky said that she thought the huge Tigger was the prize. My mother and my aunt knocked a few people over in their zest to reach the silver teapot first. My husband's mother bribed Eric to tell her where a prize was. Two of my cousins by marriage pulled every book off a shelf before they found the prize behind the last book they checked. And our niece toddled about awed by all the grown-ups running from place to place. Eric and I just watched and laughed as people searched frantically through our house in the race for the grand prize-a bag of German gummy bears.
When the game was over, the ice certainly was broken. Everyone laughed and talked and thought up opportunities for playing the game at their parties. Guided tours of the house weren't necessary now that everyone could tell me the contents of the closet in the second bedroom or where the flour was kept in the kitchen. The game made everyone feel at home and content to sit for the rest of the afternoon to talk and eat German gummy bears.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
October 18, 2000

That chill in the air
There's no time like fall. Everything is just right.
Spring is fine, don't get me wrong. And summer and winter? Yeah, they're nice, too. But fall has no drawbacks.
Spring has pollen. I hate pollen. Sure, the world couldn't exist as we know it without pollen, but I still hate it. If Bill Clinton really wants to leave a positive legacy, he should do something about the pollen problem.
Summer is, of course, too hot, and winter is too cold.
Some time around the fourth or fifth football game of the season, the air starts to get a little crisp. Those first few weeks when you need extra clothing at a football game are really special.
Hunters enjoy fall because deer and dove seasons are in full rut (pun intended). Football players love fall because they don't have to sweat as much during practice.
Oh, and who could forget the World Series? Who cares if the Braves are in it; this is one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
When fall rolls around, my father-in-law likes to go out on the back porch, cup his hand to his ear, and listen for the sound of coon hounds chasing a ring-tailed varmint throught the woods.
Riding around with the windows down is much more enjoyable after the thermometer drops below 80 degrees. Of course, if you're riding with a woman, you can't roll the windows down anyway because it will mess up her hair.
One of the nice things about fall for fishermen is the fact that most outdoorsmen are hunting. That leaves a lot of open space on the lakes and streams for casting in solitude.
Fall also brings back a lot of memories of sipping hot chocolate in the stands, riding a cold bus back from football games, and playing freeze-out in a jeep with the cover removed. Just admit it, you did it, too.
Thank God for that crisp air. We need it to wake us from the sleep brought on by the summer doldrums.
During the next few weeks, take time to enjoy the crisp (but not yet cold) air. Go out and sit on the porch and watch the sun set while you sip hot chocolate and listen to a good college football game on the radio. Take the kids to the mountains to see the beautiful leaves. Find someone who owns a jeep and play freeze-out like you did when you were a kid. Okay, maybe not that.

* * * * *

On a personal note, fellow Mainstreet Newspapers sports guy Drew Brantley has chosen to move on to greener pastures in his career. Drew has been a constant source of invaluable information, and he will be sorely missed in the sports department.
Just remember, Drew, with those greener pastures come bigger cow pies!
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. His email address is

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