More Jackson County Opinions...

January 17, 2001

By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
January 17, 2001

The squeaky shoe guy
For weeks, I denied it.
My family and my friends tried to tell me. They tried to give me help. I just blamed it on moisture or the recently waxed floor.
Sure my shoe was squeaking. But it wasn't my fault nor was it my shoe's fault.
I just ignored the problem, hoping it would go away on its own. Each night, I would lie awake in my bed, thinking about my shoe, wondering if I should buy new ones or just learn to control my problem.
But it became too much for me to bear.
I didn't want to be the squeaky shoe guy. You know-the guy whose every step sends that annoying squeak echoing down hallways in hospitals and government buildings and schools. The guy you just want to walk up to and rip the shoes off of.
Sure, it's easy for you to sit there and think that it's not a "real" problem or that it could never happen to you.
But every time I took a step I heard that squeak. And people looked at me.
Yes, I saw them look at my feet as they passed by me. I noticed as they cautiously glanced up from the morning paper or the textbook they sat reading.
And it happened to me no matter where I'm walking-on carpet or pavement or even grass.
What's worse is that my shoe began to affect not only me, but also the lives of the people around me, the ones I love. They were embarrassed to go out into public with me. They didn't want to be the one hanging out with the squeaky shoe guy.
Eventually, I began to come to grips with my irritating condition. I learned to accept my shoe for what it is. I acknowledge, now, that I have a squeaky shoe.
Since I first accepted my problem nearly two weeks ago, I've been seeing a shoe doctor. Though he remains hopeful, he won't say much about my shoe's prognosis.
Maybe there's moisture in my shoe's sole. Maybe the sole is out of alignment. Or maybe the shoe, one in my favorite pair, is ready to be retired.
But whatever happens to my shoe, I'll proudly wear it, squeak or no squeak. The squeak is what makes my shoe unique and sets it apart from other shoes.
And next time you run into a squeaky shoe guy, don't get mad. Instead of walking up and slapping him, take the time to be thankful that you have quiet shoes.
After all, you never know. Tomorrow morning you may wake up and put on a squeaky shoe.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His e-mail address is

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By Jana Adams
The Jackson Herald
January 17, 2001

All in a year's work
With the start of each new year, the newspaper staff here has its own time of retrospection, looking back at the year that has passed. More specifically, we are looking back at the stories we wrote, the photographs we took and the pages we laid out, trying to view them as a judge might.
Each new year we bring out the bound volumes of the back issues of the newspapers and spend some time perusing our work with an extra-critical eye. Then we settle down with inky fingers, scissors and tape to package our selections with the folders, envelopes and labels required by the Georgia Press Association for the annual Better Newspaper Contest.
I'm not sure exactly how scientific or specific the GPA judging process is ­ I know I judged a contest for another state once, and found that I had 50 or 60 feature stories to read in a very short amount of time, and then had narrow down my favorites to three. That is hard to do, and, if taken seriously, time consuming, with time sometimes being a limited commodity.
So I know that while it is nice to win awards and get a sense of validation within the field - and it is something to be proud of - there should be a certain amount of realism to balance out any hint of big-headedness. It looks good, sounds good, is good and does feel good to win awards - and MainStreet Newspapers has won plenty to be proud of - and then you go back to the work of putting out a newspaper each Wednesday for the "real" audience, the people who read the newspaper week after week.
While winning awards is rewarding, the actual process of looking back through a year's worth of papers is also beneficial, I think. It's interesting to have a review of the year's work, noting not only the events that happened and what people said and did, but also my own strengths and weaknesses over the course of the year. Inevitably, some weeks are better than others - some stories are more interesting, some words are better chosen, some photographs are more dynamic and some pages are more eye-catching. Sometimes I cringe in embarrassment and sometimes I think, "Well, that's not too bad; did I do that?" It's a good process and gives me ideas about what to do - and not do - in the future.
Just in the course of writing a feature every week, I talked to a lot of interesting people in the year 2000, each with a story to tell - from the first story of the year about B.B. Rhody and her family's homemade soap and candles business, to the last of the year about local author John Ringo earning a number of science fiction book contracts. In between there were stories of how people met and married, community groups that reach out to those in need, descriptions of other cultures and general information about what local people do, who they know and where they've been and are going. I have my own memories and impressions of these people and interviews, as well - ones that didn't necessarily make it into the articles - that are renewed as I flip through the back issues.
And that's just from the feature stories. There's a whole year's worth of meetings, government, crime, sports, school, church, legal, obituary and social news that we have all covered, written about, photographed and put together within the pages of the paper. In some ways I'm amazed; how did we get it all done, week after week after week?
It's hard to believe a year has passed, but, looking back, there's no disputing it - it's all right there in the newspaper. And now we're well on our way to recording the history of 2001 for the county ­ and maybe winning some awards while we're at it.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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