Banks County Opinions...

OCTOBER 16, 2002


Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
October 16, 2002

Special moments
He held himself up on the rails at the front of the wagon. His blond hair was blowing in the breeze. He looked all around in wonder and excitement with his big blue eyes opened as wide as possible.
“Da...Da...Da...Da,” he yelled at the top of his lungs as he quickly patted the edge of the wagon and his Dad’s shoulder.
He got upset when the tractor stopped and the wagon came to a stop. He wasn’t interested in the animated pumpkins singing and dancing by the road-side. He wanted the tractor to start up again and continue on through the fields.
I recently went on a hay ride through a pumpkin field in North Georgia. It was the first time I had done this. When I was a child, it wasn’t something that was offered in this area. As an adult, it isn’t something that I thought I would enjoy. I sure was wrong.
When I went to Burt’s Pumpkin Farm, near Dahlonega, recently with my 10-month-old nephew, Jake, I had a great time on the hay ride. I actually had more fun watching Jake’s excitement and wonder than I did looking at the pumpkins. As I’ve said before, everything looks better when seen through the eyes of a child.
I’m sure this fall holiday season will bring even more adventures with Jake, who I lovingly refer to as “my little boy.” As I have no children of my own, my sister just has to share him with me. I couldn’t love him any more if I had given birth to him myself. Ask anyone who knows. All I talk about is Jake, Jake and more Jake.
The next big adventure will likely be trick or treating, which I haven’t done in years (or make that, decades). Jake’s costume is all ready to go. He will be Superman, which he certainly is to us. I usually wear a costume on Halloween to the office in Jefferson because I give out candy at work to the kids who come by. This year, I’ve decided to be Lois Lane, which isn’t a real stretch since she’s a reporter. Since my own little Superman will be coming by, I decided that Lois would be very fitting.
Next up on the holiday front will be Thanksgiving. We all have much to be thankful for. Good health and family are among the most rewarding and important things you can have. I look forward to all that this time of thanks-giving will bring.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

Column

By: Kerri Graffius
T
he Banks County News
October 16, 2002

A year later and...oops!
Well, I finally made it through my rookie year here at MainStreet Newspapers. Being a journalist is like being in any other public service-related industry—you always have a lot of stories to tell.
Take my loved ones, for example.
When I first told my boyfriend, James, that not only would I be reporting for his hometown newspaper, but that I would be writing an occasional opinion column as well, he flipped out (a little).
He thought I would write about him in every column or share details with the rest of the county about our personal lives. He didn’t want any mention of his name and even suggested one night that I change my boyfriend’s name in each column, just to see if people actually read what I write. At the same time that he’s insistent on anonymity, he’ll ask me to say hello to one of his old high school friends that I just interviewed. Well, a year later and I’ve only mentioned his name three times in my columns (this marks the fourth).
But James probably doesn’t even know that I am writing about him. Every time I bring him the first copy hot off the press, he’ll throw aside the A Section (where all of my written stories appear) and flip immediately to the social section to see which one of high school friends is getting married now.
I’ve also learned in the past year that just because my family doesn’t live in Northeast Georgia, doesn’t mean I can write whatever I want about them. They check MainStreet Newspaper’s website often, just to see if I’m calling them crazy or poking fun at their names or just calling them strange.
For that matter, people around here often ask me about my “strange” accent. It’s Midwestern—I grew up in Texas.
On another personal attribute, I’ve realized in the past year that a lot of you think I’m someone else. It took some awkward situations and few months to figure it out, but I’m not Jana Adams.
For the record, I’m really short with long, blonde hair. Jana Adams, another reporter, has dark brown hair and Yve Assad, our photographer, has curly hair. Find the blonde-headed reporter and that’s me.
Funny, though, when I dyed my hair a few months ago (yes, I’m admitting that I dyed my hair), I really didn’t think anyone would notice. My hair was already dirty-blonde, but when I went straight blonde it seems like everyone had to make a comment about it. I don’t care what I’m covering—city council meetings, crime scenes, feature stories, whatever—someone mentions my hair. One city council member recently flagged me down in my car just to give me his opinion on it. Honestly, I didn’t think I changed my hair that much, but I guess I did.
Speaking of cars, around January I wrote a column about the new state teen driving laws. When I was writing that column I had a really bad feeling that I was going to get a speeding ticket the day after the column was published.
Two days after that column was published, I was driving to work and thinking, “Well, it’s been two days. I guess that feeling was wrong.”
Just then, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a police car racing after me. I had just received my first speeding ticket. Oops!
Back here at the MainStreet Newspaper office, I’ve learned how to deal with a news room filled with male, sports reporters—you just don’t listen to them.
Former sports editor Tim Thomas used to test my auditory skills the most. He knew I wasn’t listening to everything, but every now and then he would throw out some random saying, just to see if I would protest his comments (I didn’t).
Apparently, when Rochelle Beckstine used to occupy my desk, she would add spark to any controversial topic the guys were talking about. But, I usually just give them looks or roll my eyes and keep typing. (And Tim, I was listening.)
Overall, I’ve learned a few other things through my work here at MainStreet Newspapers.
Some politicians will hate you just because you’re a journalist; some politicians will love you just because you’re a journalist. Wearing skirts isn’t a good idea, because you’ll never know what you’ll be doing or what you’ll be walking into that day. And always have a camera, because news can happen anywhere.
There are also a few people I need to thank.
Thanks to all of the city clerks for answering my (many) questions. Thanks to the people at Subway in Jefferson for knowing what I order everyday.
Thanks to James’ parents for letting me crash at their home while I wait out meetings in West Jackson. And thanks especially to his mom for learning my meeting schedule and having dinner ready on those nights. It’s been a great way to know the future in-laws (my mom is so jealous).
Kerri Graffius is reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

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