November 15, 2000
Gardening is good
That gardening is an enjoyable and practical pursuit is a given.
However, its therapeutic values for the mind, body and soul are
immeasurable. A case in point happened this past week in the
waiting room of a pain clinic at a hospital in Gainesville.
I had driven my pretty "better two-thirds" over for
treatment of a very painful condition. The waiting room was pretty
much full-you know how you get there on time and wait for half
an hour. Several came alone; others had their spouse or friend
bring them. Pain was mirrored by knitted and wrinkled brows and
lips tightly pressed together. Folks were reading the magazines
placed there for them; Southern Living, Time, Good Housekeeping,
etc., or just twiddling their thumbs and looking forlorn. I was
reading about turkey and trimmings and Thanksgiving dinner recipes.
A lady a few seats down broke the silence when she asked me,
"Are you from Banks County?"
I allowed that I was and then she asked, "Don't you write
a column about gardening and funny things in the News?"
I told her that I did and was gratified and proud when she told
me how much she and her husband and friends enjoyed it and learned
from it. Shirley and her husband, Alton Argo, formerly from Franklin
County, had moved into Banks County from Gwinnett County a few
years ago, retiring over on Brewer Road. She asked me a question
about a particular plant, and one thing led to another. People
put down their reading, quit twiddling their thumbs and leaned
over to listen and take part in the discussion. Wrinkled brows
smoothed out. Smiles began to play on the corners of mouths.
Wan or flushed countenances changed into more healthy-looking
We talked about favorite flowers and plants and how best to handle
them. As usual, there were the questions about pruning and dividing
and starting plants. People were having fun vicariously.
Driving back home, I thought about the incident there and how
much gardening and propagation of seeds and plants had meant
to my wife, Bess, as she successfully whipped the terrible scourge
of colon cancer. I can see her flitting between large pots and
raised beds with a bucket of compost or handful of transplants-a
slight smile on her face, humming a favorite hymn or popular
ditty. At church Sunday, sisters Mary Odell Caudell and Gatha
Barrett talked to me about how they enjoyed puttering in the
yard using experiences gained from their mother years ago.
If you are not already into gardening, perhaps you should give
it a try.
It has been a beautiful fall. Walks down to the river have allowed
me to revel in the beauty of the reds, yellows, pinks and browns
of the foliage. The early morning sun just bounces off the trees,
adding to the luster.
One gardening tip that you need to save till next fall is how
to lengthen harvest of your tomatoes. We remove the wire or other
scaffolding holding up the plants and allow them to fall to the
ground. Then we spread a light layer of straw of some sort over
them for protection. A few rays of sunlight can still get to
the fruit, allowing it to ripen somewhat. We harvested tomatoes
up until last week (first week in November) and still have some
in our basket for salads and an occasional bacon, lettuce (from
our own beds) and tomato sandwich.
Happy gardening pursuits.
C.W. Crawford is a Master Gardener and regular columnist for
the Banks County News.
The Banks County News
November 15, 2000
Response on dates
in news stories in BCN
We often get anonymous letters to our newspaper that have questions
in them. Unless we have an address or phone number, we are unable
to answer the questions our concerned readers have.
A recent letter-writer asked when an event would be held since
no date was given. The story, on a yard sale planned at the senior
citizen's center, reported that it would be held from 8 a.m.
to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The letter writer wanted to know which
Saturday that would be.
It is the policy of The Banks County News to not put the date
in a story if the event is to be held within the next one-week
period. That means if the paper, which is published on Wednesday,
states that an event will be held on Saturday, it means the upcoming
Saturday-not on Saturday two or three weeks away. If an event
is more than one week away, we put the date in the story.
Also, the letter-writer pointed out that there is one Saturday
every eight days. Actually, there is one Saturday every seven
days since a week has seven days, not eight.
We hope this clarifies our policy on putting dates in news stories.
We appreciate receiving comments from our concerned readers and
will respond to all letters that have a name or address included.
The Banks County News
November 15, 2000
Georgia's darkest hours depicted in new book
I have been a mystery fan for many years. From Nancy Drew books
as a child to John Grisham novels as an adult, I have been fascinated
I go the public library each week and get several mysteries for
my weekend reading. Most of the stories I read are not based
on true stories, but they are fascinating nonetheless. I often
try, and usually don't succeed, in guessing who the guilty person
is in the books I read.
A book published recently, which is based on true murders, is
even more enthralling than the books I read. It is so interesting
because it is about actual murders that have filled the pages
of Georgia newspapers for the past several decades.
"Murder In The Peach State" by Bruce L. Jordan is filled
with eight "infamous murders" from Georgia's past.
Jordan is a 21-year veteran detective who researched these cases
through newspaper articles, court transcripts and interviews
with Celestine Sibley, the Atlanta crime reporter who covered
many of the cases.
Of the eight murders depicted in the book, I am familiar with
two of the cases. One chapter is on the Jackson County murder
of Floyd Hoard in 1967. Having read an earlier book about the
case by Hoard's son, I know more about this case than Jordan.
It was still interesting to see the points he included in the
chapter. It is also amazing to see that it made the cut of the
eight murders of the century that Jordan decided to write about.
He said that he picked those that fascinated him the most.
I am also familiar with the Leo Frank murder trial as it has
been written about in the Atlanta newspapers in recent years.
I have always been troubled about this case because an innocent
man was found guilty of this murder. It is also painful to read
of how a mob took him from the jail and hanged him.
The rest of the cases in the book were new to me and I found
them very interesting. The case that was the most disturbing
to me was "The Death Farm: Jasper County." This occurred
in 1921 and dealt with the murder of several "slaves"
on a farm in this Georgia county. It's hard to comprehend that
this kind of brutal atrocity was occurring in our state as late
This was one of the cases where justice was served and the "boss"
of the farm got the punishment he deserved for his bigotry and
hatred. I cringed in pain several times and closed my eyes to
the horror unfolding on the pages as these innocent people were
killed because of the color of their skin. One man's actions
put a dark cloud over Georgia and its people.
Another chapter, "The Columbus Stocking Strangler,"
is about a serial killer who had elderly women of this south
Georgia town scared for decades. It is like those mystery books
I read and I had to keep telling myself that this case really
happened and these women were helpless against the killer. The
women were picked at random and tortured before being killed.
They were all elderly and included school teachers and retired
business women. It shows how vulnerable we all are in the face
of such evil.
Bruce Jordan shows Georgia's darkest times in this book. While
many of the cases are disturbing, it is also an important book
to read. The murders span from 1913 to 1991 and the victims come
from all social classes and races. Many of the victims had security
systems in place, but they were still helpless against the danger
that filled their neighborhoods. The killers seemed to have no
compassion or even human nature, but they were very real.
From Walton County to Atlanta to Macon, Jordan brings us details
on murders that shaped many towns over the decades. His attention
to these details and careful research make this book a must for
all mystery-lovers and those interested in Georgia's history.
It is a dark side of our history and one that won't be found
in many history books.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate
editor of The Jackson Herald.