Banks County Opinions...

MAY 19, 2004


Column

By: Jana Mitcham
The Banks County News
May 19, 2004

Fireflies are out, summer is here
My favorite time of day is eveningfall, or twilight, when the sky begins changing and the light turns colors in that brief time between day and night. A better word for it is the Scottish one — the gloaming.
We were sitting out on the front porch steps the other evening, listening to the frogs at the creek and the bugs in the background and watching as the night sky darkened.
Sounds like summer.
Suddenly, I saw a light flicker out of the corner of my eye. I watched more closely, and, yes, it was a firefly. A lightning bug, whatever you want to call it. I studied the darkness, watching as another and another appeared.
While summer doesn’t officially arrive until the summer solstice on June 21 — also known as the longest day of the year — to my thinking, summer is here when the fireflies come out.
By the time the lightning bugs first made their appearance, my sister and neighbor friend and I were usually out of school for summer, or close to it. It was time for long, warm evenings outdoors, with bare feet in the grass and maybe some homemade ice cream. We did on occasion punch holes in the top of a mason jar, fill it with some blades of grass and collect lightning bugs for a glow-in-the-dark nightlight. But, the fireflies never lived long in captivity, so we would usually set them free before we went indoors for the night.
I didn’t know it then, when I was simply content with the mere existence of lighting bugs — how fascinating, these bugs that glow, flicker, flicker, flickering in the night, punctuating our outdoor play — but fireflies have a sort of glow-and-tell morse code approach to the mating game. “Here I am,” with the females flashing at flying males and the males flashing back to find the “right” females.
There’s no real need to understand the science of the matter to enjoy lightning bugs, but it has to do with a process called bioluminescence. Lightning bugs produce light within their bodies through a luciferin-luciferase chemical reaction within special cells found in their abdomen. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but it is just another example of how truly complex and miraculous even the smallest samples of nature can be.
Sometimes it’s good to just look and enjoy.
So we sat on the porch the other night, content to watch the fireflies dart from one dark spot to another, waiting to see where they would show up next. Content, that is, until another insect herald of summer showed up, whining in our ears and biting on our ankles.
Slap! A mosquito swatted on my neck. Blink, blink...a lighting bug in the dark yard. A drama played out to the backdrop chorus of the frogs.
Summer is here.
Jana Adams Mitcham is features editor of The Jackson Hearld and a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

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Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
May 19, 2004

Advice to those ready to work
As hundreds of students across the county get their high school diploma this graduation season, they will be entering a new stage of their life. For many, they will be going into the work force for the first time ever.
For students used to relying on their parents, beginning to work may be a hard adjustment to make. Believe it or not, bosses actually expect more than some parents do.
Over my almost two decades in the newspaper business, I have written work-related advice to graduates many times. Every time I do, someone out there who is already in the work force gets offended. If you agree with my advice, you’re probably doing a great job and your boss knows it. If my advice makes you mad or guilty, you probably need to improve your job performance.
So, my advice to those ready for work includes the following:
•Attitude, attitude, attitude. Attitude is very important. Your boss wants to see someone eager to learn and willing to do whatever is asked of them. Don’t argue with your boss or complain about the work. Do what is asked of you and do it with a smile. I could put up with someone who doesn’t have all of the skills needed for a job a lot better if they had a good attitude. Skills, you can learn. A good attitude is something you should already have.
•Be on time. If the work day starts at 8 a.m., be at your desk at 10 ‘til 8, not 9 a.m. Being punctual goes a long way toward impressing your boss. You may not think they notice you sliding in late every day, but they do. Just think about it. If you are 30 minutes late every day, that’s two and a half hours for the work week.
•Don’t say, “That’s not part of my job.” If your boss asks you to do it something, it is apparently part of your job. If you start pointing out that other staff members don’t have to do what you are being asked to do, you sound like a 5-year-old. Just like a parent, a boss doesn’t want to hear, “Billy doesn’t have to do that. Why do I?”
Good luck to all of our graduates. I hope you find success as you move on to work, to further your education or to serve your country through the military. It’s a well-worn cliché, but you really are our future.
Just remember my favorite Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13), and you will be able to accomplish what you strive for.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.



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