The Jackson Herald
October 18, 2000
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.
The Jackson Herald
October 18, 2000
That chill in the
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
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
* * * * *
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
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. His email
address is SpeckCh@aol.com.
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