Banks County Opinions...

February 21, 2001

By Rochelle Beckstine
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 heat.
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.



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By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
February 21, 2001

Glad about the flag
Oh, my! The legislature changed the state flag and now, the whole state's a-flutter!
"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 of it.
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 acquiescence.
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.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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