Madison County Opinion...

June 12, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
June 12, 2002

Frankly Speaking

Make candidates answer your questions
By now, most of you are aware that elections are coming up soon. Chances are that you will encounter numerous candidates seeking offices from Board of Education to Governor. All these candidates will be asking for your vote.
Before you promise to support any candidate, there are many questions you need to ask.
Candidates for U.S. Congress, Senators and Representatives, should be asked if they support new efforts to stop massive federal spending and start drawing the federal government back within the limits set by our Constitution. It appears to me that politicians on both sides of the aisle are using the present terrorism crisis as an excuse to go on a mad spending spree and to expand federal control over our lives rather than limit them.
Candidates for Georgia government and legislature should be required to state their position on efforts to gain a referendum on the state flag. No one is satisfied with the scalawag rag imposed by King Roy and his vassals. We the people have a right to decide what flag, if any, is to represent our state.
These state candidates need to explain the absurd redistricting plan they imposed on us. Those who supported those plans need to defend them. Those who do not need to tell us what they intend to do about it.
The state legislature will not have to wait 10 years to change these ridiculous districts. They can vote a new, reasonable plan in the next session of the legislature. We should extract a promise from each of them that they will do so.
Federal and state officials need to address the massive education bureaucracy being imposed on our school systems. The best education reform program possible will be to abolish these dictatorial programs, return the responsibility for education to the parents and their elected local representatives, the boards of education. Then free our teachers from all that bureaucratic paperwork and let them spend all their time teaching.
I am sure that each of you can add to my list of questions for political candidates. The important thing is that they hear your concerns, and that you vote for those candidates who most nearly reflect your thinking. And of course, you cannot vote for these issues and candidates unless you are registered.
If you have recently moved, your records may not be up to date. If you haven’t voted in the past several elections, youR name may have been removed from the list. If you registered at the same time you renewed your driver’s license, and never received a card from the Board of Registrars, you need to check to be sure they received your registration.
You have to be registered by July 22 to take part in the upcoming primary and non-partisan election.
So register, get to know the candidates and their positions, then vote for the ones who most agree with your ideas. This is the year we can start taking our government back from the politicians and bureaucrats and recapture the principle of “Government by the People”
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
June 12, 2002

A Moment With Margie

Remembering Daddy
This time of year always reminds of my dad. He was 48 when I was born and died when I was only 10, but his impact on my life was — and is — profound.
Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 91st birthday this past Monday. Instead, June 30 marks the 33rd anniversary of his death.
Disabled from tuberculosis and emphysema, Daddy was my chief caretaker when I was little so that Mama could work full time to help make ends meet.
Orphaned by the age of 15, he had lived a rough life, working as a foreman on a road construction crew until his health forced him to retire while still in his late 30’s.
At night, it was Daddy that rocked me to sleep, singing “Rock a Bye Baby.”
Once, when he was feeling especially tired, my mother attempted to soothe me to sleep, but she said I cried for Daddy until he came, scooping me up in the old wooden rocker to perform our nighttime ritual.
Later on, it was Daddy who taught me to read and to do simple arithmetic.
Though he had only completed the seventh grade before he had to go to work, he valued the importance of an education.
And once I started to school, Daddy was waiting for me each evening when I got off the bus. I can still see him standing at the door, where he had been listening for the sound of the school bus coming down the road.
In the mornings, he woke me up, fixed my breakfast (Mama had already had to leave for work) and helped me to dress. I can still feel the warm washcloth wiping my face and his gentle hands combing the tangles from my unruly curls.
When my first baby tooth became loose, he sat me on his lap and told me about the tooth fairy. When the tooth, with some assistance from him and a few tears from me, finally came out a few days later, I could barely contain my excitement when I put it under my pillow. Daddy appeared as excited as I was the next morning when I proudly presented the small container that now contained a dollar instead of a tooth.
Summers were always rambling time for Daddy and me. To this day, I wonder where every interesting-looking road goes, and I know that that curiosity is borne of riding winding country roads in an old pickup by my daddy’s side. My hair short and very curly, I usually wore a baseball cap and shorts or “britches” on these jaunts. Daddy got a kick out of people thinking I was his little boy or even his “grandson,” since he was in his 50’s by that time.
Some summer weekends the three of us would take a ride into the mountains. While Mama set out our lunch along some creek bank, Daddy would help me collect smooth mountain pebbles and tell me stories of the Cherokee Indians.
One summer daddy couldn’t go rambling. His chronic illnesses had taken a turn for the worse and he was hospitalized several hundred miles away.
Each week that summer a box came for Mama and me. Daddy made a jewelry box out of burnt matches and two lamps out of ice cream sticks at craft classes during his rehabilitation. One week when he got a chance to go shopping, a small doll came and still another week he sent me a wondrous ink pen that wrote in blue, green and red.
For my part, I wrote him a letter several times a week, telling him about the adventures of me and my pets and other important details of my life. He always responded with a letter of his own.
My mother always told me that Daddy found Christmas as exciting as I did. Santa came on Christmas Eve at our house, because Daddy said our house was “first on his list.” Mama later said it was because he couldn’t bear to wait until Christmas morning for me to Make candidates answer your questions
open my presents.
And it’s Daddy that gave me my love of animals.
He could never bear to see a creature in distress or pain. Many dogs and cats came home with us when we found them abandoned on the side of the road. He treated sick or injured animals, and when he couldn’t make them well, he sadly ended their suffering.
The first time I ever saw my Daddy cry was when our little dog Banny, died. Her name was supposed to be “Baby” but for some reason I began to call her “Banny” and everyone else soon followed suit. As she grew older, Banny developed chronic breathing problems with symptoms similar to Daddy’s. Banny slept in a box in his room each night and spent her days following at his heels.
One morning he got up and headed to the vet with Banny, who’d had a particularly bad night.
On the way, Daddy said she stretched her nose to touch his arm and then quietly died.
Daddy brought her back home in her little box, sat her gently on the back porch and then wept openly, his heart broken over the little dog he had loved so much.
What a wonderful gift he gave me in that - to allow me to see his vulnerability and his “humanness.”
But what I remember most about Daddy are the lessons he taught me about life, and about what it is to love. Although his passing left me with a void that I still feel to this day, his care for me while he lived never let me doubt that I was loved, treasured and believed in.
What more could a parent’s legacy be than that.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.

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