Banks County News
April 25, 2001
Oh no, not shoe shopping!
A fax came in one day recently, a media hike to the floor of
Tallulah Gorge. Hmm sounded interesting, fun. I've always wanted
to go down there. I've been around the rim a time or two, but
I've been never been down it. So, here was the opportunity to
It was just a hike, 200 feet down, 45 degree slope. Didn't sound
so bad. I read on. "Strenuous trail." Now how strenuous
could a trail be that was for the media? We, who sit at computers
or in meetings, or patiently pacing the sidelines of various
sporting events. News folk aren't exactly known for their ruggedness.
They said "bring your cameras," so they must know all
the gear a photographer would bring. I figured it was just a
bit of hype to get us to come.
Oh, it said Georgia Power would be releasing 500 to 700 cubic
feet of water per second. And kayakers and rafters would be coming
down the whitewater rapids. Wow, pretty cool. Get some good shots
of them going over the mini-waterfalls and rapids.
OK. Sure. I'm game for it. So I sent in my RSVP to attend.
A few days later, Christy Harvan, the interpretive ranger/guide,
called me and asked, "Any health problems I should know
about?" (That should have been the first red flag, but I
ignored the possibility.) "Any back, knee or heart problems?"
I replied, "Nothing serious." We chatted a few minutes
about the trek and the fun Sunday jaunt I had pictured rapidly
began to take on all the appeal of an army obstacle course. Aw,
it's just my imagination, I thought.
"Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and good hiking
boots," she said.
I quickly asked, "What, you mean I can't wear my trusty,
She said, "No, you really need a GOOD pair of hiking boots."
On, no, now I have to go shopping for a pair of hiking boots?!?
And you know me, and shoe shopping. It took me four months to
find a pair of simple dress shoes!!! Now, I have to find hiking
boots in three days? With virtually no free time? AARRGGHH!
At that point, the necessity of shoe shopping seemed a lot worse
than this trek down into the gorge. Should I just back out? No.
I'll find time to get the boots. I will go on this hike.
I managed to work in about an hour and a half one afternoon.
So little time. I hit a couple of the stores at Tanger 1. Hmmwhat
looked like hiking boots for women sure didn't look like the
hiking boots for men. The soles were entirely different. The
men's had all these grooves of varying sizes. Different treads
on different parts of the sole.
If I'm going to be climbing over rocks, I determined good treads,
like the ones one the men's boots were the way to go. Not these
wussy, designer, "for-looks-only" things for ladies.
These "things" were definitely not for serious hiking.
40 minutes gone and I was feeling the pressure. On to Tanger
2, where to my delight was a Dexter store. My favorite boots.
They should have something; some rugged stuff. Sure enough, after
a mere 20 minutes, I came out with what I needed.
I was feeling a real sense of accomplishment! Then I noticed
a Nike store. Had to go check it out. After all, they are the
"Just Do It" people, so they ought to have shoes to
"just do it" in. And they did! Found another pair,
all-terrain boots with special grips on the toes even.
I took it as a good omen -- how often can a woman find two pair
of just what she's looking for in exactly one and a half hours?
I was ready for the gorge!
Shar Porier is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
Banks County News
April 25, 2001
Loading the dishwasher and other essential husbanding
It happens almost nightly. I finish off the rest of the milk,
rinse out the glass and open the dishwasher. Looking in, I discover
that there is nowhere to put my dirty glass. After a second look,
I also realize there are only four items total in the whole thing.
"What is this?" I say aloud, my hand on my hips in
disgust. If I had a hard hat on, I'd look like any other construction
site foreman displeased with the progress of the project.
I mutter rhetorically, "Who in the world loaded this thing?"
Knowing that I didn't do it, and also knowing that my wife is
the only other person who lives with me, the answer is pretty
clear. I don't blame her individually. It's a woman thing; a
gender-based spatial/perception deficit. I know because I checked
with an authority -- my brother.
"Yeah," he said. "I have to re-do the dishwasher
"What seems to be the problem?" I asked.
"Well, Stephanie just doesn't know where to put anything.
She just throws it all together in a big jumble. It usually takes
me a while to get it all straightened out. But I get it done,"
he added, very professionally.
He took me over to the machine and demonstrated. Having some
experience of my own, we then debated the pros and cons of dishwasher
"It depends on your design, actually," he opined. Pulling
out the top rack, he pointed out the variations possible for
loading dirty glasses to obtain maximum capacity.
"Man," I admired, "you must have read the owner's
"Naww," he waved me off. "Trial and error. It's
the only way."
Then we examined the bottom rack. "It gets tougher down
here. This is where Steph makes most of her mistakes. She can't
visualize, and in the end it costs her points."
"You mean you grade her?"
"Not really, " he said. "I grade myself."
"Sort of like a competition," I mused.
"Yeah, that's it."
"Do you time yourself?"
He looked at me a little oddly. "No, I don't think speed
is the key here. It's efficiency and proper utilization of space."
"Oh," I apologized. "Well, what's your record?"
I struck a chord, and he stood back rubbing his chin, in a pose
of deep reflection. "Well, we had a party one night, and
Stephanie cooked a whole lot of food. This place was a wreck.
She wanted to leave everything until in the morning and run a
few loads then."
"Why didn't you?"
"Well, I went to bed, and lay awake thinking about it. In
my mind, I carefully catalogued and placed all the dirty dishes.
I didn't know if it would work or not, but I had to try it."
"It was a work of art," he glowed.
I could understand his feelings. I've been there before. Unfortunately,
it's an unappreciated art. In fact, my wife is not at all impressed
when I drag her into the kitchen to show her my handiwork. "Look,"
I say, "this is how to load a dishwasher."
"So what?" she shakes her head, and trudges back to
her "Southern Living" magazine and tea in the den.
That always stings a little, but I figure she'll applaud my efforts
when the power bill comes in. In fact, I'm really hoping that
I'll get enough credits to earn my first Husbanding Merit Badge.
Once I nail down the Dishwasher-Loading Badge, I'm going to work
on my Garbage Badge. It's just a matter of knowing how to handle
that twist tie.
Phillip Bond Sartain is a Gainesville Attorney.