Banks County Opinions...

JULY 3, 2002


By: Angela Gary
he Banks County News
July 3, 2002

Through the eyes of a child
Sitting in the gentle waves tapping at the ocean water as it rushes by him.
Reaching out a tentative hand to pet the horse that led the carriage ride he had just gotten off of.
A trip to the beach takes on a whole new look through the eyes of a child. Something as routine as a morning at the beach and a carriage ride become even more when you are seeing them through the eyes of a baby.
My nephew Jake, who is seven months old, likely won’t remember his first visit to the ocean. However, his family will remember his reactions to his first beach trip. We will also treasure the photographs of him splashing in the shallow water and reaching out to pet the horse.
Jake also spent a lot of time “walking” with Papa. Whenever he got tired or a just a little fussy, my dad would head out with him for a walk around the historic district. The shade provided by the Spanish Moss trees and the lack of much car traffic make this area a perfect place for a walk.
A trip to the beach is always a time for me to relax and rest. Most of my trips are packed full of tours, concerts and non-stop activity. My recent trip to Nashville left me tired, so I turned a business trip to Jekyll Island into a mini family vacation.
Taking Jake along was an extra treat as we all enjoy his company. In fact, my parents don’t even have to leave town. Just having their first grandchild around is all the vacation they need.
Jekyll Island is a wonderful place to visit if rest and relaxation is what you need. Sitting out on the back porch with a good book as a cool breeze blows is perfect for making the worries of the world drift away. The beaches are another place to go to put your troubles behind you. They are uncrowded and don’t have the commercialism that some of the Florida beaches are known for.
And if you have any young children in the family, take them along. The beach takes on a whole new look through the eyes of a child.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at


By: Phillip Sartain
he Banks County News
July 3, 2002

Over and out
Right after our first child was born, I was flipping through the Owner’s Manual For Little Girls, Father’s Edition, when I came across the chapter on toys. I got pretty excited at first. But when I looked, all it said was “Toys for little girls are none of your business - avoid them.” At the time, I thought that was weird advice. Eight years later, I understand
From the beginning, my wife has carried the toy load. As a woman, she naturally has the edge on picking out toys for little girls. And I have to admit that is has to be hard keeping a year’s supply of Barbie dolls on hand at all times. All I’m responsible for is removing the 17 feet of plastic twist ties to free the dolls from the packaging.
Once the doll is out of the box, I’ve learned to get out of the way. At that point, the girls rip off all the doll’s clothes and toss them in one corner of the room and the naked doll in the other. And with that, we have perhaps the largest Barbie Doll Nudist Colony in town.
After years of living in the colony, I decided that the girls might benefit from a toy that’s just a little more adventuresome. So I bought them a set of walkie-talkies. We tried them out last weekend. “This will be fun,” I said, taking them out of the box.
“But where is the doll?,” my youngest daughter whined.
“There is no doll,” I said. “You talk into them.”
That got their attention. “You mean like a cell phone? Does it have three way conferencing and call waiting?”
“No, girls, they’re two way radios. You use them outside.”
“Outside?” they all screamed. Actually suggesting that there is a world outside the house and that they should explore it occasionally is about as pointless as asking them to leave me alone when I’m in the bathroom.
But I persisted. “Come on and I’ll show you.” Outside, I showed them the basics. “You push down on the button to talk, and release it to listen. Now go on an adventure or a secret mission or something.”
As I was about to go back inside for a few minutes of peace and quiet, I noticed that they were standing about two feet apart from each other. I called to them, “You need to move further apart.”
In response, they each moved exactly six inches in either direction, and started asking each other “Can you hear me, now?” After they asked the same question to each other about a 160 times, I thought they might be getting the hang of it.
“Now keep on moving apart,” I said. But the further they moved, the louder they shouted at one another. “You don’t need to shout,” I told them. “Use the walkie talkie instead.” But, of course, they couldn’t hear me over the shouting.
“No, no,” I finally yelled. “You can’t go on a secret mission if you’re shouting everything.”
“But Daddy, we can’t hear anything if we don’t shout,” they complained.
“Then turn up the volume,” I said. After I showed them, they stood five feet apart and shouted at each other with the volume as loud as it would go so that everyone on the block could hear them.
“It’s works good now,” my middle child yelled at me. “But it makes my throat hurt having to shout into this thing.”
“Just talk normal,” I suggested as my eyes rolled into the back of my head. And they tried it. But as they did, they keep moving closer and closer to each other until they were toe to toe again. And all the while, they kept pressing the button and asking each other, “What did you say?”
As I stood watching, I wondered what I could have been thinking when I decided to pick out a toy. For my efforts, I got exactly 15 seconds of peace and quiet and a couple of slightly used walkie-talkies discarded in the toy box. I should have read the Owner’s Manual a little closer.
We ended up going back inside the house to hunt for some Barbie dolls with their clothes still on. The girls thought it was a great adventure.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.

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