More Jackson County Opinions...

February 14, 2001


Column
By Jana Adams
The Jackson Herald
February 14, 2001

Pringles cans, 'mailbox' bags and valentines for everyone
I spent part of the day Friday visiting kindergarten classrooms at Jackson County Elementary School during craft time, admiring the artwork of students preparing cards and "mailboxes" for Valentine's Day.
The teachers were kind enough to let me hover, and the students were patient enough to let me fix a camera in their faces as they carefully printed out "I love you, Mom and Dad!" traced their hands to make hearts, pasted red and pink hearts to their white "mailbox" bags or drew noses and glued eyes on their "Clifford the Big Red Dog" valentines.
It was a lot of fun. In Carol McDonald's class, I was informed that the children were making valentines for Mom and Dad and, according to one student, also "for brother and sister and dog."
Victoria Jackson, a student in Dell Tate's class, looked at me as if I were a little slow when I asked who she and her tablemates, Tony Yang and Jessica Phillips, would give valentines to on Wednesday.
"We will give valentines to everyone!" she exclaimed.
Tony showed me the "mailbox" bag he was making, complete with a picture he had colored and pink hearts he had glued to it.
"We are going to put the valentines we get and give into our bags," he explained.
Jessica held up her completed "mailbox" bag and asked, "Is that pretty, or what?"
I agreed that it was very pretty - and it was.
I had flashbacks to third grade, Mrs. Tribble's class, our Pringles can mailboxes and those hundreds of valentines that came in cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic. Remember? Once you cut or tore the plastic covering, valentines were all over the house.
My friends and I waited anxiously to see if we would get a valentine from our "boyfriend." In those days, it was a pretty sure thing - as Victoria reminded me Friday, "We will give valentines to everyone!"
Most everybody got those same cardboard boxes of valentines and spent an evening carefully printing the names of everyone in the class on little white envelopes, then licking the foul-tasting glue that would never really keep the envelopes stuck together.
Still, we would carefully analyze the valentines we received from that particular "boyfriend" of the day, or hour, wondering just what secret meaning was behind the card that pictured a coy Donald Duck holding a heart and saying "Be Mine."
I'm not sure at what age the trend of giving valentines to everyone in the vicinity goes by the wayside, when it becomes a more selective process. Perhaps when it is no longer socially acceptable to buy the $2 box of hundreds of valentines and distribute Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with wild abandon - when the social mores require you to purchase individual cards at $3 a pop.
But I do remember in later school years getting one of those mass-produced cards from a boy who was obviously clever and creative enough to buck the social system. Not a "boyfriend," alas, but still, I spent some time wondering just what secret meaning was behind the card that pictured a coy Donald Duck holding a heart and saying "Be Mine."
It's funny. As adults, we still look to that one day out of the year as an opportunity to let loved ones know that they are important. Well, hopefully, it's more than that one day out of the year, but you know what I mean. Pringles cans and "mailbox" bags full of cartoon figure cards may have evolved into flowers, candy, dinner out and other gifts, but the Valentine's Day craze is still basically the same. All you have to do is look around and see and hear the advertisements (evolution of the school hallway bulletin boards) - Watch out! Don't forget! Valentine's Day is on the way!
I wonder if they still make those Donald Duck cards.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.

Column
By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
February 14, 2001


Congrats, area wrestlers
This week we salute area wrestlers with four pages devoted to last weekend's state tournaments in Adairsville and Fitzgerald.
A huge tip of the hat to our wrestling teams, both of whom reached beyond expectations with their respective performances.
Jackson County wrestlers finished only six points out of second place in the Class AAA event, in their best placing ever at the state level. The Panthers scorched opponents all season long, losing only one dual meet early in the schedule, and finished at or near the top in every team tournament they entered.
With his gold medal at 103, Jason Powers becomes only the third individual state champion in the history of Jackson County wrestling. The program has indeed come a long way since its genesis in the late 80s, thanks in large part to excellent coaching and training from Phil Thurmond and a superb group of assistants.
Across town at Jefferson, that other Thurmond guy told his troops that he'd shave his trademark moustache if they brought home the team title. Let's hope it regrows quickly.
The success of both teams stems from the intensive drills and conditioning employed by their coaches. The hard work has paid off handsomely, not just in the final outcome, but in the fact that Panther and Dragon wrestlers seem to have a little something extra left as the clock winds down that many of their opponents lack.
Knowing the right moves and using them at the right time is important in wrestling, but conditioning is vital to winning consistently.
Wrestlers on both teams will forever remember events surrounding the state tournaments, but particularly those at Jefferson.
As the matches continued late into Saturday evening, seeing Bremen in contention reminded me of the 1983 state Class A tournament, when Jefferson also brought home three individual gold medals and the team trophy. As with this year's, the outcome of that event was not decided until the championship finals.
Jefferson held a slim lead going in to the final round, but faced stiff competition. The title was clinched when Leroy Dowdy won at 119. That match was marred by an injury that likely would have forced Dowdy to default today.
Late in the match, one of Dowdy's teeth somehow managed to slice through the inside of his upper lip, and the blood began to flow.
"It's not that bad," Keen is said to have told Dowdy. "It's just bleeding a lot because it's in a bad place.
Dowdy later told Keen he knew the cut was serious, as he'd been able to stick the tip of his tongue all the way through his lip to the outside.
Later, Keen, Dowdy and another scrawny kid spent time in an emergency room waiting for the lip to be stitched up. When they emerged sometime in the wee hours of the morning, snow was falling.
And so that first state championship trophy rode home from Bremen up I-85 in several inches of snow, tucked under the arm of a weary, sleeping kid with a sore mouth.
Cherish your memories, guys. Long after you've left the mat for the final time, they'll still be even sweeter than they are now.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. His email address is SpeckCh@aol.com.

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