More Jackson County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 13, 2002


Column
By:Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
November 13, 2002

More short notes from all over
Thank God for the shoe box stuffed with interesting stuff. Interesting to me, anyway. I hope, dear readers, that some of these thoughts, ideas, insights, vibrations, gems of wisdom, etc. are interesting to you, too.
* * *
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
I am indebted to Frank Gilbert for that one.
Frank has contributed more stuff to the box than he realizes, most of it around the oblong table where Byrd’s boys meet regularly for coffee, inspiration, information and education—among other things.
One morning he quoted Pres. Roosevelt’s famed World War II statement, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then added, “That’s still true.”
But Frank was not through with truisms that morning. He continued: “The greatest risk is not taking one.”
“If you are afraid to walk near the edge, you’ll never see over the side.”
“If you are afraid to die, you are afraid to live,”
The man has a way of getting you down off your high horse. Commenting on my stuff in The Herald, he said, “Sometimes reading your junk gives you an idea. Then it’s not junk.”
I was afraid to ask Frank if “junk” is a cut above or a cut below “stuff.”
* * *
I don’t know who brought the following insight to the table. It may have been Frank. Sounds just like him. Whoever brought it, credit goes to the late George Washington Carver for saying it originally: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”
* * *
That quote aroused my interest in the renowned scientist, and so I pulled a reference book down from the shelf to refresh my memory of his accomplishments.
Mr. Carver (I can’t bring myself to just call him Carver) was born of slave parents in 1859. When he was a baby, a band of nightriders stole him and his mother. According to The World Book of Encyclopedia, his master bought him back in exchange for a racehorse. His mother was never heard from again.
Plants greatly interested the young boy. He learned their names and growth habits, and became known as “the plant doctor.”
Mr. Carver went on to win international fame for his agricultural research. He revolutionized farming in the South, developing products from peanuts and sweet potatoes.
Consider the stuff (good stuff) this great man contributed to his generation and generations that followed, including ours: 300 products from peanuts, ranging from instant “coffee” to soap and ink; and 118 products from sweet potatoes, including flour, shoe blacking and candy.
Mr. Carver made synthetic marble from wood shavings, dyes from clay, and starch, gum and wallboard from cotton stalks.
The honors the man received for his many valuable contributions to science do not do justice to his contributions to the lives of ordinary people.
Are they still studying the life of George Washington Carver in history, science and agriculture classes in our elementary, middle and high schools? Is he an important part of black studies courses in our colleges? Is he honored during Black History Month?
Let’s hope so. He certainly deserves to be.
* * *
I don’t think Mr. Carver had anything to do with developing 10-Grain Cereal, but it is something in which he might have been interested.
As far as I know, this fine product is not available in stores. I call it a fine product because it works wonders in keeping this old man fit.
I realized I was out the other day, and I panicked. Drove all the way to Helen just to replenish my supply. To tell the truth, that’s the only reason I go up there.
On the right, at 7107 South Main Street, before you get to the heart of the fake Alpine Village, stop at the Nora Mill Gallery. That is where you will find 10-Grain Cereal. It is called 10-Grain Cereal because it contains ten whole grains: cracked wheat, cracked rice, corn grits, rolled oats, flax seed, soy grits, sesame seed, rolled wheat, rolled triticale and buckwheat.
You cook it just like the modern-day oatmeal, grits or cream of wheat—only longer. These whole grains haven’t been messed around with (that’s what makes ‘em healthy), so you need to cook ‘em 15 to 20 minutes. Just follow directions on the tag attached to the bag.
You’ll also find recipes there for 10-Grain Cereal muffins, mountain spice cake, broiled topping, and 10-Grain Cereal meat loaf. I have not tried any of these. 10-Grain Breakfast Cereal is my dish.
Shirley says the stuff looks like birdseed. I bet the birds would go for it.
There’s only one drawback. Some of the tiny seeds, such as flax and sesame, sure can get between your teeth. But that’s a small price to pay for a delicious, healthy breakfast. It is made more delicious, if not more healthy, by adding a little sweetener, a few raisins, a pat of butter, and a dash of cinnamon.
No, Nora Mill Granary did not pay me to write this.
Virgil Adams is former editor and owner of The Jackson Herald.

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Column
By: Kerri Graffius
The Jackson Herald
November 13, 2002

Grandparent logic
Sometimes, the gap of understanding between the generations is something that can’t ever be negotiated. But, every now and then, the generations can reach an agreement on things that just sound plain dumb or make brilliant sense.
Such is the case with some recent conversations with my grandparents, ages 78 and 73.
A few years ago, my grandmother noticed I was wearing a long-sleeved red shirt that read, “Mount Kesler. 100 miles of fun in the snow since 1977.” She immediately asked me about my snow-time adventure.
“Kerri, you went skiing?” she inquired.
“No, grandma. It’s just a shirt that I liked at American Eagle that was on sale.”
“Oh, well, where’s Mt. Kesler? I’ve never heard of that.”
“It doesn’t exist, grandma, it was just on the shirt that I bought.”
“But, how did you buy the shirt if the place doesn’t exist?”
“No, grandma, I bought the shirt at American Eagle because it was cute and I liked it. There is no Mt. Kesler. American Eagle made it up for the T-shirt. And I’ve never been skiing.”
“But I still don’t understand how you can buy the T-shirt, Kerri.”
“Well, grandma, if you look in my closet you’ll see that I’m the Athletic Department at The Gap, I play soccer for Abercombie and Fitch and I play rugby for Old Navy. And all of those organizations were probably created in the 1970s.”
“Kerri, you play rugby?!?”
“No, grandma! I bought the T-shirt that says I play rugby because it was cute and all of the clothing stores offer shirts telling people we do stuff that we’ll never do, like visit a hot dog stand in Iowa.”
“See now, Kerri. That just doesn’t make sense to me,” my grandmother huffed.
After that conversation, I never bought another T-shirt advertising something I wasn’t — no matter how cute the shirt was. It’s just stupid, as I now see.
My grandparents, who live in Waco, Texas, had a few other random comments about common sense when they visited me recently.
I wrote down some of their remarks on a newspaper article my grandmother gave me called, “Iceman’s last meal included venison and wild goat.” Now, I don’t know why my grandmother saw that article in her local newspaper and though about me, but in any case, she brought it from Texas to Georgia.
As we were driving around the North Georgia Mountains, my grandparents pointing out a few things, such as the common sense of “Falling Rocks” signs.
“How the heck am I supposed to be looking for falling rocks as I drive along this curvy, mountain road,” my grandfather said. “I ain’t got time to watch for falling rocks.”
Around that time, my grandmother asked me about the growing frequency of wacky and sometimes irrelevant commercials on television.
“Do y’all have those crazy commercials?” she asked. “Boy, I’ll tell you, we’ve got all them crazy commercials. Everything has to be stupid nowadays for someone to buy it. And I think it’s those crazy commercials that are making society crazy. If we didn’t have those crazy commercials, everybody would be normal.”
Umm, mind you, my grandparents live in Waco (insert crazy people joke here).
On the day they visited, it was a clear, blue sky day — except for a few, small clouds that almost seemed out of place.
Naturally, my grandmother had her reasons for the lonely clouds: “Why did the smokers have to ruin the day? If we didn’t have all them smokers, we wouldn’t have those few clouds floating around on such a pretty day.”
Common sense or not, maybe I’ll have my “grandparent sayings” and logic someday (Dear God, help me now).

Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her email address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.


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