More Jackson County Opinions...

August 15, 2001


Column
By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
August 15, 2001

What I did on my summer break
Three months ago I left the greater Banks-Jackson-Madison metropolitan area and headed for a land far south-Augusta.
I had never been to Augusta. I never had the need to go. In fact, after my internship there this summer, I'll probably never go back.
But I'm a better person for learning how to survive in a very uncomfortable, hot, muggy, dangerous city.
I've been back for about two weeks now. I didn't suffer any heat strokes and I wasn't shot. But I did have a lot of experiences.
Many people have asked me what I did all summer. Basically, I flew on a corporate jet, ate at private restaurants, stayed in nice hotels and wore a suit every day.
And despite all those negative influences, I actually learned something. Here goes:
·I like driving my truck. Before this summer, I had never been on an airplane. After all, if I were meant to fly, I'd have wings. But while in Augusta, the other interns and I needed to get out to Conway, Ark. So the company put us on one of its private jets and flew us out there. The ride was like driving on a bumpy dirt road in need of good scraping. Halfway through the flight, we hit some turbulence. Buzzers began blazing. The exit signs lit up. I sat up in my seat and tightened my seatbelt. All I could think of was the crash scene in "Castaway." Flying is scary, so I think from now on I'll stick to my truck.
·I like cereal and sandwiches. A free meal is never a bad thing. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of lunches I paid for this summer, three. For the most part, whoever we were working with each day would take us out to eat. Many days, we ate at a private restaurant on the top floor of the tallest building in Augusta. It was a buffet, a very expensive one. Don't read me the wrong way. The food was great. But I've never been good at picking out which fork and which spoon goes with which food. At my house, I use one utensil, a old plastic spork from a take-home fried chicken place. I use it for cereal, salad, steak, chili, ice cream, cake, beans and anything else I eat. Also, I only use one plate, one bowl and one glass. To me, there's no need for three different forks, different-shaped spoons and special knives. Give me my cereal and sandwiches and I'm a happy man.
·I like my old, broken bed. At my apartment in Athens, I have an old double bed. Parts of the box springs are broken. Some springs pop you in the back. And most of my sheets are torn. This summer, as I traveled from Savannah to Jacksonville to Greenville, I stayed in nice hotels-the ones where people come in at night, turn down the covers and leave you a piece of chocolate. I never understood why they leave you chocolate to eat a night. Chocolate keeps you awake. But anyway, the bed was nice and so was the room. I just missed my bed, broken springs, torn sheets and all.
·I like my blue jeans. Every day I wore a suit. I had to button the top button on my shirts. I had to put on a tie. I was in Augusta, the hottest, muggiest place in the world, wearing a suit. Needless to say, I wasn't very comfortable. I got hot. I sweated. I didn't like it. There's nothing wrong with dressing up on occasion, but I think I'll stick to shorts and blue jeans for the most part.
Basically, that's all I learned this summer. All in all, it was a good experience. I'm glad I went, but I'm even more glad I'm back.
So until next time, I'll be sitting in my bed, eating cereal with shorts on.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@arches.uga.edu.

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Column
By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
August 15, 2001


A deep, cleansing breath
It's almost that time. The fall sports season is about to get cranked up, and when it does, the sports desk will be in an uproar until at least mid-May.
As I pondered the upcoming frenzy last week, I realized that a long, deep cleansing breath was in order just before the storm hits.
A quick scan of the horizon revealed that Jackson County would be playing football in Cleveland Friday evening. Cleveland. Not far from some pretty good trout waters. The plan began to take shape.
You know that saying about the best-laid plans? Well, this one fell through, too. But as is usually the case, things were not all that bad.
A Thursday evening phone call from a great friend set things in motion. Trout fishing? Saturday? Why, most assuredly I'd be interested. But, of course, it couldn't work out. It couldn't be that easy.
And it wasn't, but it worked out anyway.
Friday's trip to White County already held promise; it would be the first chance to see some competitive (though only partially, since no score would be kept), hard-hitting football action. That in itself was something to look forward to.
The scrimmage lived up to expectations; it was great to finally see some up-close football again.
Then, as I moved around the field and admired the somewhat new White County facility, a break in the tree line allowed big, bald Yonah Mountain to shine through. Football in the shadow of the mountain. What a sight.
Yeah, it's hokey, but it was a big moment to me, and very relaxing.
And then Saturday came. A quick pre-dawn scramble in the dark trying to find this or that, a quick stop for a biscuit, another quick stop at Wal-Mart for line and a few other things. With all the quick stops, the sun was beginning to rise, and we were still only a few feet out of Jackson County. All this running around wasn't very relaxing.
After finally reaching Rabun County and traveling through most of it, we took to the water. The phrase "we won't need any bug repellent" I'd uttered a few hours earlier came back to haunt me when we stepped in the middle of a mosquito hatch and were immediately covered. Again, not very relaxing.
We fished our way out of the mosquitos, and before long had our first trout on. It was a beautiful wild rainbow, about 14 inches. As we worked our way up my favorite stream, I could almost feel my pulse slowing, my shoulders loosening and my brow unwrinkling.
By the time we reached my favorite hole, the one where a small, shimmering waterfall gently drifts its way down a hundred-foot rock face, I was so relaxed I could melt. Seven more rainbows about the size of the first followed, along with a nice 15-inch brown with huge orange and blue spots on its sides and black spots scattered over its back.
The trip home was just as enjoyable, as we discussed deep theological issues (that sounds sarcastic, but it's actually the truth) and learned how to be friends again. Funny how quickly even the best friendships can grow stale, and how just as quickly they can be revived.
As we arrived home and I expected the breath of fresh air to slowly dissipate as we settled back into everyday life, there was my 8-year-old holding up a monster catfish and flashing a big, snaggle-toothed grin. The kid I'd left at home had one-upped his old man again. And it was quite a treat for both of us.
Bring on the fall sports; I'm ready now.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. He may be reached at (706) 367-2348, or via email at SpeckCh@aol.com.

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