The Banks County News
February 21, 2001
Give me the heat
I always hear people complaining about being pregnant in the
summer months because of the heat. I even have one friend who
told me if she had a second child, she would make sure that she
got pregnant at the end of summer so as to avoid the hot humid
To her and any other woman with this perspective, I have this
to say: I'll take the heat.
Did you know that obstetricians and midwifes have a weight requirement
for each stage of pregnancy? They do. And at least my midwives
and OB treat it as the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights
all rolled into one unforgiving list of poundage guidelines.
One to two pounds in the first trimester. Fourteen pounds in
the second and a pound a week in the third. And God help you
if you gain anything over 25 pounds total. You will hear 20 minute
lectures on calorie counting and glowing accounts on the nutritional
value of broccoli steamed with no nasty additives like salt or
butter to clutter the taste of the little trees.
When my OB tells me not to gain another ounce, as he did over
60 ounces ago, I listen, nod politely and pity his poor wife.
After all, what can he possibly know about being pregnant and
hungry and that I was watching what I eat. I'm subsisting on
grapefruit and lowfat yogurt and an occasional sandwich with
real mayonnaise instead of the fat free.
But, then on my next appointment, I'll see one of the midwives.
Three beautiful women who have children of their own and understand
what I'm going through. Women who claim to have borne 10 pound
babies without taking even a baby Tylenol for pain. What can
you say to that when round ligament pain makes you grit your
teeth and long for the days when four ibuprofen dulled the pain.
They tell me that it's possible to go nine months gaining only
25 pounds. I say prove it. They must have been pregnant through
the summer months. When the heat of summer, which makes it impossible
to eat, subsided, I was hardly pregnant. I'll confess I have
now gained 35 pounds. But let me tell you why.
My baby is due on St. Patty's Day.
That is roughly five months after Halloween. My first Halloween
in a neighborhood. My husband and I were so excited about contributing
to the tooth decay of all our little neighbors that we bought
our Halloween candy from Sam's. I worked late. He worked late.
We had four kids come to our door. I still have Sweet Tarts laying
around the house. I resist them almost always.
Piper's birth will come four months after Thanksgiving, the holiday
of overindulgence and gluttony. I had only three small slivers
of my grandmother's pies and cakes. I skipped the gravy and the
stuffing, yet I still gained six pounds in three weeks.
Then the month of Christmas with Christmas cookies and more pies
and cakes and little chocolate Santas wrapped in shiny red tinfoil.
Who can resist Santa Claus? Tack another seven pounds onto the
scale for the month of December.
By New Year's, I thought I was safe. My doctor was lecturing
me, but I thought I had it made. I had made it through the holidays
and he wasn't putting me on a liquid diet. I would eat only fresh
fruit for breakfast and lunch and then eat a lowfat dinner.
On my birthday, I had two pieces of cake. One the day before
at work, minus the icing, and the other on my birthday. It was
a small sliver of cheesecake with strawberries on top. Pure heaven.
I thought I was safe. Silly fool.
Where in my thinking did I neglect to consider the ramifications
of Valentine's Day-the chocolate manufacturer's annual mega payday?
I am literally besieged at every point. At work, at home where
my husband's box of chocolate calls me from the top shelf of
the counter and at my Ginky's house where her recent trip to
the Russell Stover's outlet was quite profitable. I never would
have expected temptation at the hands of my sweet Ginky, yet
she opened box after box and offered me delight after delight.
Everyone has a weakness for chocolate. Even my daughter likes
it. She moves around happily right after I eat it, so it can't
be all bad.
Anyway, one trip to the doctor's later and I've been forbidden
to eat any more sugar. Five pounds in two weeks and I can't even
plead heavy shoes.
There's nothing tempting between now and St. Patty's, is there?
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
February 21, 2001
Glad about the flag
Oh, my! The legislature changed the state flag and now, the whole
"Why that's back-door politics."
"That flag represents our heritage in the south."
"Their cramming it down our throats."
"Why didn't they let us vote on it?"
After thinking a bit about it, and researching it a bit, I have
come to the conclusion that what they did was very timely and
courageous. They knew there would be a back-lash and that the
decision would cause much controversy. Yet they chose to move
ahead and put reminders of Jim Crow laws and bigotry behind the
citizens of this state.
And so it should be.
Why would a southerner want to be reminded, first of all, that
the confederacy lost? Secondly, why be reminded of what the stars
and cross stood for 150 years ago?
The stars and cross do not represent southern gentility, nor
a graceful way of life. To think it so, is to ignore the reality.
They do represent oppression and bigotry. Not a becoming legacy
to be passed down from generation to generation.
The thing is, for 90 years, no one needed the stars and cross
on the state flag. Then when it came time, in 1956, to abide
by the de-segregation laws of the federal government, state senators
Jefferson Lee Davis and Willis Harden proposed the flag include
the stars and cross in absolute defiance.
The legislature approved it, and, at the same time, approved
out-dated, illegal racial oppression. It was an "in-your-face"
move to hold the black population in persecution, retain white
supremacy and tell the feds where to go! It was designed by die-hard
extremists who did not know how to give up the "old ways"
and move towards de-segregation and equality in the state.
Last week, my colleague Ben Munro, said that he knew of no one
hurt by the flag. I differ and offer this example of how the
confederate reminder did and does hurt people to this day.
On a trip to south Georgia to visit a friend in the mid-70's,
I stopped in a small town, (which I will not name), for lunch.
The only restaurant in town looked quaint from the outside.
As I entered, however, I was totally startled to see "Whites
Only " on the right and "Blacks Only" on the left.
The white side had nice chairs, tables and booths. The black
side had furniture that looked like it was from the civil war.
It was a shock to me. Here it was 1975, and I was confronted
with this social dilemma. One I would never have thought I would
experience. I had a decision to make. Sit on the white side in
acceptance of segregation or sit on the black side in defiance
I chose the latter. My conscience would not let me do otherwise.
I had marched in several demonstrations, proudly, in support
of equality for all people. Just because I was alone in a strange
place did not mean I could give up my beliefs, out of fear and
I sat on the black side on a ripped chair with uneven legs that
rocked, at a table that had long ago seen better times. The two
ancient-looking, white-haired gentlemen at the table next to
mine told me, without raising their eyes to look at me, I should
move to the other side. I smiled and replied that where I was
would be just fine.
As I heard murmurs from the white side of the restaurant, I could
see they were not happy with my decision. I looked back at them
and smiled. When the police chief showed up, I got a bit apprehensive.
He told me it would be better if I moved to the other side, so
as not to upset the diners. I just smiled and kept eating.
The black gentlemen started a conversation with me. They told
me of the things that had gone on in the town and the area over
the years. Stories of a colorful, but fearful life. How as far
as they knew, I was the first white person to sit on their side.
They became at ease, and actually looked in my eyes when they
spoke, as I did in theirs. It was a very enjoyable lunch and
very enlightening conversation.
The flag didn't hurt anyone? It sure hurt these men. The insignia
of oppression sure hurt that black community and many, many more
across the state. Judging a man by his color is hurtful. Treating
a man or woman of color in a demeaning manner is hurtful.
And it hurt me. It hurt me because I was treated like one of
the bigots, one of the oppressors, just because I was white.
I did not like it!. I did not like to be confronted with downcast
eyes and fear because I was white. It hurt me.
Fate presents opportunities where uncomfortable or even dangerous
decisions must be made. Such a decision was made by the legislature
in adopting the new flag. I support their decision.
As for the Banks County Commissioners thinking of incorporating
the old state flag into a needless county flag, I am appalled
and ashamed. The act will be perpetuating an antiquated bigotry
that should no longer exist in our multi-racial community.
I would like the rest of the country to see that Georgia stepped
out of its repressive past and into a future incorporating all
its citizens into a free and equal society. Now that's something
to be proud of!
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.