The Jackson Herald
December 24, 2003
Rest for the weary
Tis the day before Christmas and all through the house, everything is stirring, even the cat and the mouse.
And stirring is putting it mildly.
If you are cool, calm and collected; if everything is peaceful and quiet at your place; if dinner is prepared and you are ready for the influx of family and friends; if youve found the Bible and turned to Luke 2:1-20; if you are awaiting the birth of baby Jesus with calm but joyful anticipation congratulations.
If you are hurried, harried and harassed; if you are uptight, stressed out and all bent out of shape; if you are wondering why you did this and swearing to the high heavens that you wont do it again next year condolences.
Time out. Take a break. Read this. Find comfort in the realization that you are not alone.
OK, so who am I to be writing a Christmas advice column? Im no Dear Abby, Dr. James Dobson, psychologist, psychiatrist, preacher, minister, teacher, behavioral scientist, or one of those marriage-family counselors. By what authority do I write this stuff?
Suffice it to say Ive been there, done that. So listen up.
Im 80 years old, the father of three sons and a daughter, the stepfather of another daughter, the grandfather of five grandkids, and the husband of two wives but not at the same time. Ive been a big contributor to the economy before the holidays, and Ive paid a lot of interest to financial institutions after the holidays. And Ive sworn to the high heavens that Id never do it again. But I did.
And you know what? It was worth every heartbreak, every headache, every minute, every penny.
Strange, isnt it? Sure it is, but during these 80 years Ive discovered that it always rains after a dry spell, that the sun always shines after a storm, that no line is ever as long as it looks, that it really is more blessed to give than receive, that everything I have is a gift from God, and that the best is yet to come.
My prayer is that you will make it through the storm. I know you will appreciate and enjoy the calm if you slow down, recognize the calm bearer, and accept the gift.
But today is the day before Christmas, and you know what that is like. You are living it. Thursday is Christmas Day, and you have a pretty good idea what that will be like.
Friday is the day after Christmas, and you dont have a clue. Let me clue you in.
The extended family grandma, grandpa, brothers and sisters and their kids, the in-laws, uncles, aunts and cousins have gone back to where they came from. You are left with your own brood and with a lot of dirty dishes, dirty linens and clutter.
There are kids scuff marks on the walls, and you expect to find scuff marks on the floors if you ever get around to picking up the wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and stuff.
Clearing the floors is a top priority because, somewhere in that mess, is Susies doll. Grandma left unhappy because she gave Susie the doll, and it is lost. Susie is unhappy, and screaming, and vowing she will not play with any of her umpteen other toys until she finds her lost baby.
Yes, mother, we know. You could use some help, but daddy and Johnny are out behind the barn target practicing with Johnnys new BB gun.
New electronic gadgets occupy tabletops in the living room and den, and you wonder why they gave you that stuff when you havent even figured out the computer yet.
The arms of couches and chairs in the living room and beds in the bedrooms are covered with colorful gifts of clothing: blouses, scarves, slacks, shirts, shorts, skirts, sweaters and unmentionables. All of it is so pretty, but none of it fits. Exchanging gifts after Christmas is almost as hectic as buying gifts before Christmas.
It doesnt help any when you discover that your sister-in-law gave you the sweater that you gave her last Christmas.
Your loving husband hasnt had a beer in six months, so you dont appreciate your brother giving him a case of Bud Light.
You havent found all of the credit card receipts yet, but the ones you have found total $2,681. Last months bill was $1,862 and you made the minimum payment: $18. Next month youll owe so much interest that Alan Greenspan will consider lowering the rate.
Your not-so-loving husband comes in from target practice and begins to help you clean up the mess. Then he remembers that theres a football game on television.
Not to make him feel bad, or anything like that, but when he comes to the kitchen for a beer during halftime, you show him the credit card receipts and a financial statement proving that his outgo this month exceeded his income by $683, and he better see about getting a second job.
Now, lets fast forward five or six hours.
Like all days, the day after Christmas ends and you realize it will be 364 days before Christmas 2004.
Both of you are too tired to be anything but a loving wife and a loving husband. So you crash on the couch in front of the fireplace and admire the Christmas tree in the corner. You turn out the lights and enjoy the glow of the fire.
Little Susie and Johnny are tired, too too tired to be up this time of night. They are snug in their beds, fast asleep. Susie is cradling her lost-but-found doll. Johnnys BB gun leans against the wall near his pillow.
You survey your surroundings and discover the floor is not as scuffed as you thought it might have been.
You are surrounded by gifts, many of which dont fit and some of which you dont like, but you realize every one of them says something about remembering you, thinking of you, caring about you, loving you.
Thats what the necklace and earrings are saying, in the glow of the fireplace, on the night after Christmas. Likewise the new rod and reel, and the new tackle box filled with enough lures to last a lifetime.
You snuggle a little closer.
Yesterday and the day before in fact, every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas you labored and were heavy laden. Now, at the end of the day after Christmas, you have found rest.
Amazing what a little newborn babe can do for you. It happens every time you slow down, recognize him, and accept the gift he brings.
Virgil Adams is former editor-owner of The Jackson Herald.
By: Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
December 24, 2003
Time for me to say goodbye to journalism
After six years of writing for a living, you would think that one 500-word column wouldnt be any trouble for me.
But when I sat down to write this my final column for MainStreet Newspapers I found it quite difficult.
I asked a co-worker for help and he suggested that I start off with a story about the most poignant thing that has happened to me in the past six years as a reporter.
Thats just the problem. Because as I told him, too much has happened. Ive seen too many sporting events and witnessed too many great moments and too many tragedies. And Ive met way too many people to go through and pick out just one as the most striking.
Realistically, how can I sum up six years of life in just one short column? The truth is, I really cant do it. About all I can do is say how I feel.
As the new year begins, Ill be starting at a new job a chance for me to do something that I have wanted to do my entire life. But I leave my current position with lots of mixed emotions.
Excitement about the new challenges and experiences ahead of me. Anticipation for the knowledge Ill pick up and the new people I will meet.
But sadness for losing the things I love about this job. And a little reluctance to leave behind the many friends Ive made.
Journalists get a few extra perks that dont come along with a lot of other jobs. Ive been allowed free access into high school sporting events across the state.
I have gotten to go behind the scenes in a lot of situations. Ive been on patrol with police officers on the ground, in the air and on the water.
Ive ridden in a dragster, taken a tour of a plastic fishing worm factory and eaten lots of really good meals.
But all those things, however exciting they may have been, are not what I would pick as the greatest part of this job. Instead, its been the many people that I have met and gotten to know.
Here in the office, I work with a great group of coworkers. Theres too many to mention by name, but weve had some fun times.
From the every day office debates to the late Tuesday night madness to Wednesday pool, Ive had a great time.
And then theres the many people out here in Banks County. Yes, Im just an ole Commerce boy. But you folks in Banks County have taken me in and trusted me despite my Tiger diploma.
The school system has afforded me full access to its athletic programs. The many coaches have taken time from their schedules to give me quotes, answer questions and fill me in on games that I have missed.
The schools have been very receptive of me. Its a great school system and I highly value the friends Ive made here.
The administration has been very welcoming and the school board and superintendents office have helped me every chance they could.
And then theres the sheriffs office, DNR Ranger Winford Popphan, the county government and the list goes on and on. I cant name you all here but rest assured that in my mind, I know who you are and Im grateful to you.
You guys have made me a part of this community, something I didnt expect to have happen back in 1997. And thats why its hard to leave.
But I move on now to a new career with new coworkers, new responsibilities and new challenges. And Im still searching for the words to sum all this up, saying the only thing I really can say.
Thank you for six great years.
Adam Fouche worked for MainStreet Newspapers from November 22, 1997, to December 26, 2003. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.