More Jackson County Opinions...

November 21, 2001


Column
By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
November 21, 2001

Citizens of Maysville aren't ridiculous enough
The citizens of Maysville raised some valid points at a public hearing last week. The majority of them were upset, upset that they were paying taxes for such vital services as fire and police protection.
I wholeheartedly agree with them, but find problems with one aspect of their argument: it isn't ridiculous enough.
The whole problem originated when the Maysville City Council decided to raise taxes from a low, low, low 1.5 mills to just a low three mills. Man, that's a heck of a high millage rate.
And after hearing of this tremendous millage hike, several people showed up at a meeting that one of the citizens called secretive and unannounced. Of course it was secretive and unannounced, that's how all those people found out about it.
Then the citizens went almost as far as to call for the abolishment of several of the city's key services. While I agree with this, I think they could have done better.
Instead of just abolishing some of the city's services, let's just dissolve the entire government. It would rid many of us, including the newspaper, of the mundane task of dealing with Maysville government. And if you think about it, the services they provide aren't really that important.
The first thing to go would be the volunteer fire department. You really don't need a fire department in Maysville. Next time your house catches on fire, it would not hurt you to wait 20 or 30 minutes for a fire truck to come from nearby Banks County or maybe Commerce, if they are willing to drive that far. Sure, your house may burn to the ground, but you would be saving 1.5 mills so everything would be just dandy.
After the fire department, we'd have to get rid of the police department. Instead of having one police officer who covers the whole town of Maysville-making rounds through the town quite periodically I might add-you would be just fine with a deputy who rode through every two hours, if that often. And the additional response time of police if your neighbor was getting robbed and beaten wouldn't be a problem either. I'm sure you don't like your neighbor anyway.
Oh, and let us not forget traffic control. I know you've all got to be tired of speeding tickets from Maysville police. But if you get rid of the government and the police department, no one will be checking speeds in town. No one will be slowing down the traffic. I'm sure a couple of kids around the elementary school might get hurt because you have the liberty to drive 75 through town now, but that's a small, small price to pay just to save 1.5 mills.
Then there's the water department, which you all could do without. You can go back to using wells-wells which will likely dry up in a summer or two.
Without Maysville government, the grass on the side of the road will get to grow wildly, the library will close (I'm sure you don't use it anyway) and local businesses will likely abandon the small former town. Yeah, it all sounds good. I bet the post office will even close down if we can dissolve the government. But it's only a short drive to Gillsville or Commerce to buy stamps and mail letters.
I think this will be a great idea. In fact, I'm going to ask my mom and step-dad, who happen to live in Maysville, to propose to their local legislator that the government be dissolved.
I'm sure that they agree with me, and many of you angry taxpayers, that the citizens of Maysville really don't need any vital services, especially the kind you have to pay for.
Imagine that, paying for something that someone gives to you. That's unheard of and I, for one, won't stand for it.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.

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Column
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
November 21, 2001

Thanksgiving is for forgiving
Thomas Wolf, the North Carolina author who wrote "You Can't Go Home Again," was wrong. You can go home again, and that's where I am this week.
I'm home for Thanksgiving. It's a trip I've made-oh, I guess 50 times or more-since I joined the Navy in 1941 and left home for good.
But that's not quite right, is it? You never leave home for good. You can always go back. Leastwise, I hope you can. If you can't, I wonder if it was ever home in the first place.
My home is McLemoresville, Tenn., population 311 if you count dogs, cats and chickens. McLey (that's what we call it for short) is a place, and that is what I came back to. But I came back to more than a place. I also came back to family-what's left of it. And I came back to friends-what's left of them.
And I am back in time this week, back to 1927 or '28, back to when I was 4 or 5 years old, back to my very earliest memory. Thanksgiving is for remembering, too.
I couldn't have been more than 5. It was a cool autumn evening. It was exactly 73 years ago today. (Just kidding, folks; my memory's not that good.)
Anyway, a bunch of us kids were gathered around a campfire toasting marshmallows. As always happens, one of the kids got his marshmallow too close to the fire. He accidentally touched his flaming delicacy to my sweater. It was one of those hairy, fluffy angora sweaters that were popular back in those days.
Well, the goat hair and fluff exploded in a flash, and my beautiful angora sweater (I remember it was brand new) was reduced to its bare base. My eyebrows and hair were singed. That's all.
That not only is my very earliest memory. It was the first of many times in my long life that I escaped death. (I am looking forward to asking my old friends-the two or three left-if they remember, too).
Why do we remember things like that? Near-death experiences do have a way of staying with us.
And why, at this Thanksgiving season, am I remembering the time I wished I were dead? Not literally, but the mental and emotional kind of death that makes you want to crawl in a hole and pull the hole in after you.
On Thanksgiving Day, 2001, why am I still remembering the awful thing I did on the eve of Christmas, 1943?
I guess it's because I keep thinking and hoping-yes, knowing!-that Thanksgiving is for forgiving.
I know that Mama forgave me. I never asked her to, and she never said she did. But mamas, more than others in the family, were born with forgiving hearts.
And I don't doubt that God forgave me. Yes, I asked Him, and I claimed His promise that He would.
And over time I have been able to forgive myself.
But forget? No.
After 58 years, home again, I still remember. And Mama won't be there to hear me say I'm sorry. I wish I had told her...while there was still time.
I guess all of us have said or written things we wish we had not said or written. Oh, how we wish we could take them back.
Unfortunately, our words-especially the bad ones-are like a pair of ill-fitting jeans that we have worn and dirtied. We bought them on sale, and the sale was final. No way can we return them. Likewise, we are stuck with our words. For good or for evil, they are with us forever.
This Thanksgiving morning I am remembering some evil, harmful words that I wrote to my Mama a long time ago. Funny, but I am also remembering that old song the Mills Brothers sang a long time ago: "You Always Hurt the One You Love."
It was a letter in answer to one I had received from her just before Christmas, 1943.
She and Daddy and my brother and sister had been to Huntington, the county seat of Carroll County and my old stomping ground nine miles up the road from McLey. (That is where my girl lived. My, how I miss her!)
The folks had eaten at The Pig Cafe, my favorite hangout, seen a war movie at the Carroll Theater, and had a good time.
I was homesick, frustrated, depressed and engaged in a real war in the filthy, dirty North African theater. I was not having a good time.
And so I unloaded on the family. I let it all hang out. I described in detail the conditions under which I existed-not lived, existed. I went on and on about how different my life was from theirs, how great it must be to eat at The Pig, see a movie, and have fun. I told them in no uncertain terms that I didn't want to hear about the fun they were having at home. At that moment I didn't think I would ever go home again. Thomas Wolf was right.
I dropped the V-mail in the slot, and immediately my heart ached for Mama. Oh, how I wished my arm had been a rubber snake so I could reach in there and take it back. But I could not.
I don't know for sure, but Mama probably cried for days over that letter. But she never mentioned it. She lived to be 97 years old, and not a word. She didn't have to say anything. I knew how badly I had hurt her. She never brought it up because she didn't want to hurt me. I know she loved me anyhow. They call it unconditional love. What it is is mother's love.
Yes, I have been forgiven, by my Mama and by my God-and finally by myself. But words, once spoken or written, are indelibly imprinted upon our minds and stored in our broken hearts.
There may be a message here somewhere. I, you, we-all of us-need to be more careful with our words. If we've said or written something to someone that is offensive, ugly, harmful or evil, we need to ask that someone to forgive us-if he or she is still alive. We need to say we are sorry-before it is too late.
And we need to forgive ourselves. Let's make this Thanksgiving Day a day for forgiving.
To forgive, and to be forgiven-what greater blessings are there?
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

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