Banks County Opinions...

November 21, 2001


By Angie Gary
The Banks County News
November 21, 2001

New Toby Keith song has patriotic theme
Fans of Toby Keith got a real treat at a recent concert in Hiawassee as they got to be among the first to hear him perform a powerful patriotic-themed song which is especially moving following the events of Sept. 11.
The concert came on the heels of the recent tragedies the country is facing and personal troubles Toby has encountered with a stalker. These factors may have led to Toby being more subdued than in earlier concerts I've been to this year, but he still brought the packed house to its feet throughout more than an hour of playing old and new hits.
The most moving part of the concert came when Toby performed the patriotic song about "Old Glory" and patriotism. Standing center stage with the spotlight on him, stage lights formed a huge flag behind him. A spotlight was on an American flag in the corner and Toby played on an acoustic guitar painted like an American flag.
"Now this nation that I love is under attack," he sang. "...a sucker punch came flying from somewhere in the back. Soon as we can see clearly with our big, black eye, we're going to light up your world like the Fourth of July..."
Toby also performed his next single, "My List." He recently performed this on Touched By An Angel and has completed a video for it.
"This song is about reshuffling your priority list," he said before singing it. "It is a very timely thing. You might want to check the words out."
The lyrics include: "Go for a walk, say a little prayer, take a little breath of mountain air...It's time I make time for that...Start living. That's the next thing on my list."
Toby opened with a rollicking version of "Country Comes to Town" which set the pace for the evening. The screams from the audience started then and didn't stop until well after he had left the stage over an hour later.
He changed one of the lyrics to fit with the recent surge of patriotism across the country. "I'm American, baby, I was born and bread here." he sang as screams and cheers came from the audience.
I loved the ad-libs he slipped into some of his songs. In "I Wanna Talk About Me" he changed one lyric: "I want to talk about Georgia."
Other songs Toby did include: "I'm Just Talkin About Tonight," "I Wanna Talk About Me," "My List," "Should Have Been a Cowboy," "I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now," "Blue Moon" and "How Do You Like Me Now."
The Easy Money Band once again did an outstanding job. The guys even did a little dancing this time around, which was pretty funny. Toby also again spoke on behalf of rednecks and pointed out he had been named national spokesman for the American Redneck Society.
"It's my job to go around the world and check on the population and it's well represented here tonight," he said.
I've seen Toby on stage in everything from a denim vest and jeans to all leather. In Hiawassee, he had on a white cowboy hat, white button-up shirt, black jacket and black pants.
For more information on Toby Keith, check out his web site at I enjoy checking out the message board where fans leave notes on various topics. It was great to meet a Maysville woman at the concert who I had communicated with through the message board. It was the first Toby concert for her and her husband. It was my third and I hope to go many more.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at







By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
November 21, 2001

Ghosts of Thanksgivings past
Hasn't the weather been beautiful. Pleasant afternoons, warm sun. Fall has got to be the best time of the year.
But here I was, stuck in bed, with another bug! (Now, what is the purpose in getting a flu shot if it doesn't work?) I looked out at the sunshine and decided sick or not I was going outdoors to enjoy at least one of these beautiful fall days before the cold weather sets in.
Bundled up in spite of the 70-degree temperatures, I sat and looked out over the field and trees. The beautiful colors just a week ago had all but disappeared. Leaves were falling all around. It was so peaceful, so calm. The chickadees and nuthatches were shuttling back and forth from the feeder. The cardinals, a bit shy at first, not used to the stranger in the green robe and indian blanket, soon came down to feast on some sunflower seeds. Squirrels wrangled with each other high in the oak, fighting over the few acorns the tree produced this year.
One would grab an acorn, stash it securely in its mouth and take off down the tree to bury it for a future snack during the coming cold months.
Nature might get to slow down, but we have to speed up! The Holidays are just around the corner! Aaaaarrrggh! Christmas shopping!
Thankfully breaking that train of thought was the sound of hundreds of fluttering wings and noisy cheeps and tweets. The invasion had begun. Robins flitted from tree top to tree top. The moved in waves up and down, from the ground to branches.
The locals were putting up quite a racket themselves. The chickadees and nuthatches really didn't seem to like the new arrivals. They stopped coming to the feeder and retreated to branches scolding the rust-breasted newcomers.
My grandmother used to say when the robins came through, it meant cold weather was on the way and here to stay. Grams. I had to smile as I thought of her bustling around the house getting ready for Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, she would bake all the goodies. Pumpkin, apple and (the disgusting sounding) mincemeat pies. I never quite understood what was in a mincemeat pie as a kid. And I never felt the need to pursue an answer to that question. The name was enough to back me off. Besides, pumpkin was my favorite and so as long as I saw a couple of them cooling on the racks on the dining room table, I was content.
Of course, keeping the family out of the baked goodies was always a challenge she seemed to enjoy. We'd beg and beg, "Oh, we can cut one of these pies."
"Oh no, you can't," she'd say, feigning frustration. It didn't matter how much we threatened or begged, she never gave in. The pies were for Thanksgiving dinner, and that was that.
In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, my dad and grandfather would get up and go hunting. They were supposed to bring home Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the time they did, but Grams learned it was best to be prepared. So she'd be up with them, making dressing for the turkey that seemed near as big as me. They'd tell her, "You don't need to bake that bird, Ma. We'll be bringing home the main course." She'd just look at them with a raised eyebrow of experience. She wasn't going to get caught short of food for the clan.
She'd have the turkey roasting in her coveted electric roaster. The only time it was used was during one of the holidays." She 'd get her baster out and would cluck over that bird that like a hen over her eggs, constantly dousing the turkey with its juices.
The ham, dotted with cloves, pineapples and cherries, would be in the oven. I still remember that sweet smell as she'd open the door.
Mom would be getting other things ready - the deviled eggs, the sliced cheeses, the cole slaw.
Later in the morning, the men would return home, either in victory or with a great story to tell about how they "didn't feel like shooting anything today."
They'd clean the rabbits or the pheasants (if it was a good day) and givethem to Mom to work her magic. She knew how to tame those critters and turned them into the most delicious dishes.
Pots and pans simmered with veggies and giblets and gravies. Rolls would be in the oven warmer.
When the whole family had arrived, and it was a big family, Grams would go turn off the TV, much to the dismay of the male portion of the family into a game on the little black-and-white screen. It was dinnertime and everyone would be at the table at the same time to say "Grace" and eat, or else. With Grams, you really didn't want the "or else."
There was very little room for our plates on the table. It was covered with every dish known to our cooks.
It wouldn't be long before the turkey, the ham, the rabbit, the pheasant were just a pile of bones. All the veggie dishes would be empty.
Finally! Time for the PIES! Gramps and I had this thing with whipped cream. It was much more fun to squirt each other than waste it on a piece of pie!
My recollections were rudely interrupted as Lyla, my white Persian, suddenly jumped in my lap and the birds went berserk. There were so many flying every which way, she was like a rubber-necker at an accident on the interstate. She wanted so bad to jump at one of them, but choosing which one set her into a frenzied spin that took her to the ground in a way most un-cat-like manner!
I laughed at her indecision, which is the wrong thing to do to a cat. She gave me one of those "cat-looks" - like, "I meant to do that."
I picked her back up and she sat in my lap, still watching, but now more demure. I gave her a hug.
I felt suddenly sad. Homesick. Started to miss the fun times of many, many years ago. If only
But, Lyla wasn't going to let me indulge in self-pity. No. She cooed and purred and rubbed against my cheek bringing me out of the shadows of the past, chasing the ghosts away.
"Hmmm." I'm going to have to do something special this year for my "family" (three cats and four dogs). As I scratched her ears and looked into her deep-yellow eyes so filled with contentment, I decided, she was definitely going to have some bird this year.
Now just how big a turkey am I going to need?
From somewhere, I thought I heard Grams say, "12 pounds ought to do it, dear."
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

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