More Jackson County Opinions...

SEPTEMBER 18, 2002


Column
By:Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
September 18, 2002

Wives’ Tales abound even in 2002
Any pregnant woman can attest that everyone has an old wives’ tale to impart about how best to tell the sex of the baby they’re carrying. Yet you’ll never hear: “if the ultrasound technician sees a penis, then it’s a boy” or “if the 23rd chromosome is an X X, then it’s a girl.” After all that would be too technical to be imparted from generation to generation and it lacks the aura of a good story (though if the ultrasound is wrong it does make for a good story). So I thought I’d take a moment to do a little old wives’ say vs. modern technology.
So . If there’s extra weight out front, it’s a girl and if all the weight is around the hips and bottom, it’s a boy. Not true. Shorter people carry babies out front and a wide belly usually indicates the baby is sideways.
And another one . If the baby is carried low, then it’s a boy and if the baby is carried high, then it’s a girl. Still not a spec of truth. First-time pregnancies often carry higher because the muscles have not been stretched as yet by a nine pound bundle of joy.
My favorite one . Hold a ring above your belly-if it swings from side to side, it’s a girl, in a circle, it’s a boy. Do you think perhaps God has to hold his sides from laughing so hard as he watches us do this?
But there are old wives tales not related to pregnancy. You may even have heard them and not realized they were created by an overactive imagination and superstition.
For instance, feed a cold, starve a fever. Completely false. Both fevers and colds cause fluid loss and depriving your body of nutrients will only make you sicker.
Here’s another good one I completely believed (Mom, I hope you’re reading this one): Wait an hour after eating to go swimming. This is false. I know, it’s hard for me to swallow, too. I had bought and framed this little superstition as fact. I was convinced that if I got out of the water, ate a Cheese It and jumped back into the water, my body would have cramps and I would drown. The truth is the American Red Cross says it is not necessary for you to wait to swim after eating UNLESS you eat a large meal and plan on rigorously swimming, you know like the 500 meter dash.
Some more wives’ tales moms everywhere should take note of are: Caffeine will stunt your growth. It won’t. It’s not good for you, but it won’t do anything to your growth. Not drinking your milk on the other hand-well, that you must do. And the green vegetables are not a wives’ tale, they really are good for you. But carrots won’t really improve your eyesight. The origins of the carrot eating wives’ tale may be WWII when British intelligence spread a rumor that their pilots had remarkable night vision because they ate lots of carrots. They didn’t want the Germans to know they were using radar. (Isn’t that a riot? Now I’m holding my sides because I’m laughing so hard.) Carrots will maintain healthy eyesight, but eating carrots all day long won’t help you get rid of the glasses.
Some foods have gotten a bad reputation thanks to old wives’ tales. For instance, chocolate will not cause acne and spicy foods will not cause ulcers though they will aggravate an existing ulcer. Ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection or an overuse of pain medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
And have you heard this one? “If you go outside with that wet head, you’ll catch a cold.” Next time you hear it, nicely tell your grandmother that cold weather, wet hair and chills don’t cause colds, viruses do. People tend to catch colds more often in the winter because that is when they are most likely to be indoors in dry air (which is good for the viruses and bad for you).
Here’s another one both my parents need to hear-Reading in dim light will not damage your eyes. So I do not wear glasses because I read under the covers with a flashlight when you called lights out. So there. Dim lighting will only cause eye fatigue. And sitting too close to the TV also didn’t do anything to my eyes. Watching too much TV or sitting too close to the TV doesn’t have any effect on your eyesight. But watching too much TV can cause obesity, aggressive behavior and a tendency to learn slower in school.
Another false supposition is that knuckle cracking leads to arthritis. It doesn’t, though it can lead to hand swelling, decreased grip strength and can result in functional hand impairment. Now that’s a mouthful. Say it three times fast. Can you see why someone just said it leads to arthritis?
And the #1 old wives’ tale that is not true: “If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.” They won’t.
Oh, but the loud music, it really can cause you to go deaf. So turn it down like your mother asked.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

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Column
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
September 18, 2002

Mountains wrapped in foreboding mystery
It was a dark and stormy night.
Whoa! Wait a minute, Virgil. No need to become melodramatic and embellish the tale (tale?) that the wild bunch told. All I need do is be a columnist and relate their adventure to you pretty much the way they related it to me.
It was a dark and stormy night. But the darker side of twilight, also known as dusk, was fast approaching.
The researchers, (a.k.a. wild bunch) had spent the better part of the day searching the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee for courthouses in the middle of county seat towns. They found one in Jonesbourough (population 3,091), Washington County, Tenn.
As they admired the historic structure and compared it to the historic edifice in their hometown of Jefferson, Ga., time slipped up on them.
So they were in somewhat of a hurry to get back to their swanky headquarters at the upscale condominium atop Beech Mountain, North Carolina’s highest peak.
There they would freshen up, dress in keeping with the other ski lodge clientele, review their day (with emphasis on the quaint old courthouse in Jonesbourugh), enjoy a scrumptious seven-course dinner, and, before turning in for the night, discuss their plans for tomorrow. There must be another courthouse somewhere in the middle of a mountainous county seat town that they had not discovered.
And although it was mid-July and 90-plus degrees in the shade, their spokeswoman wondered if they had fixed the generator and started making snow yet.
But first, they had to get back to the lodge.
These were not just mountains. They were rugged mountains. And the road the wild bunch traveled was not the interstate. It was two winding, narrow, hazardous lanes.
As they rounded a sharp curve, the lady in the front seat, passenger side, glanced to her right, down a steep incline, into a ravine.
“Oh, my!” Evelyn Carloss exclaimed.
“What?”
Evelyn told her friends what she had just seen, and Faye Griffin, the driver, and Marion Mahaffey and Debbie Stewart, the back seat passengers, exclaimed, “Oh, my!”
Evelyn had just done something nobody else—not even the FBI—had been able to do. She had spotted the fugitive-from-justice bomber.
What to do now?
They thought about turning around and going back. Fortunately, two things made that impossible. First, there was no room to turn around. Two, traffic piled up behind, and drivers on the verge of road rage wondered if the lady in the van up ahead would ever collect her thoughts and get on with it.
Faye collected her thoughts and got on with it. She speeded up.
The foursome climbed higher and higher and traveled faster and faster. As they rounded another curve, the spokeswoman glanced to the side and there, in a narrow pull-off space, was an automobile.
“Look,” Evelyn exclaimed. “The FBI.”
Faye, Marian and Debbie exclaimed, “Oh, my!”
“How do you know it was the FBI?” they inquired.
“Didn’t you see those little letters on the side of the car?”
They didn’t. They just took the spokeswoman’s word for it.
The better part of twilight was about to overtake daylight, and Faye pressed pedal to the metal on the winding, narrow, hazardous mountain road.
Just after they crossed over the state line, the spokeswoman glanced up the side of the mountain.
“Oh, my!” she exclaimed.
“What?”
“That dilapidated old building up there; it’s the headquarters for the North Carolina Mountain Militia.”
“How do you know?”
“Didn’t you see the weather-beaten sign over the door?”
“Oh, my!” exclaimed the spokeswoman’s traveling companions.
They had spotted the fugitive-from-justice bomber, the FBI and the North Carolina Mountain Militia. All four are involved in their community back home in Jefferson, but the last thing they wanted to do was become involved in a border war between the bomber, the government and some backwoods vigilance committee.
They didn’t know whose crime the vigilantes wanted to suppress and punish: the bomber’s or the government’s.
So Faye pressed pedal to the metal a little harder, and the wild bunch arrived back at the ski lodge just as darkness wrapped the mountains in foreboding mystery.
The ladies did not freshen up or dress for dinner. They had a Coke and a pack of crackers in their room. They did review their day, but the courthouse in the middle of Jonesborough. Tenn. (population 3,091) was mentioned only casually.
They didn’t turn in until the wee hours of the morning. Mostly they listened to the spokeswoman describe the fugitive-from-justice bomber, the FBI vehicle by the side of the road, the North Carolina Mountain Militia’s headquarters on the side of the mountain.
Finally, they dropped off to sleep. They dreamed not of courthouses in the middle of town or the fugitive-from-justice bomber or the FBI or the Militia.
They dreamed of a new day tomorrow, when, on their trek around the rugged mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, they would see Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or, maybe, even Elvis.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.


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