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
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
"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.
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
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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