More Jackson County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 10, 2004


By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
November 10, 2004

Asking the Gang’s forgiveness
Woe is me. I am in deep trouble, folks. Were I not the senior charter member, I probably would be kicked out of the Clark’s Hill Gang. The underlings may try to get rid of me anyway.
And you know who will be leading the rebellion? None other than Rick McQuiston, my best friend (best friend?) and the other charter member of this prestigious fishing society. After 36 years of exemplary leadership, the old man is no longer needed — or wanted.
However, if he comes crawling on hands and knees, apologizing, asking forgiveness, groveling and kissing butt, he may be able to heal the rift and get back in the good graces of these marvelous men.
I am ashamed to be airing our dirty laundry in public, but I want my comrades — and the whole world — to know that my intentions were good. What happened was, I got my priorities all screwed up.
You may or may not recall that my October 20th column (Clark’s Hill Gang upgrades quarters) was about Elijah Clark State Park, why we chose it for our 2004 fall outing, and how we got there. The last sentence: “I know you can hardly wait for me to tell you about the other half of the fun — after we got there.”
I promised the Gang that Part II would be the following week, October 27. It never happened. I broke my promise.
But like I said, my intentions were good. Fully aware of the power of the press (especially my weekly contribution), I chose to forgo the fish story and, instead, try to heal our nation. On the eve of a nasty, ugly, bickering, back-stabbing, mudslinging presidential election, I thought that was a good idea, and that my fishing buddies would understand. It wasn’t, and they didn’t.
Not only did I not heal the rift between liberals and conservatives, I created a rift between members of a once cohesive fraternity of good ol’ boys. If I had it to do over, I would devote my October 27th column to Part II of this year’s fall outing, as promised, and forget about that stupid compromise. I said it was dead. Why didn’t I let it stay dead?
Before my fatal mistake of October 27th, all was sweetness, and light with the Clark’s Hill Gang.
Long-time regular member Rick Peckham somehow logged onto (It’s amazing how many people hit on that.) and put out this e-mail message at 2:43 p.m. on October 26: “Hi All. Hot off the press (Oct. 20 issue of The Jackson Herald) ‘Clark’s Hill Gang upgrades quarters’ by Virgil Adams. We of course were privileged to hear an actual recitation of this, by the author, on our fall outing. Can’t wait to hear ‘the rest of the story.’ Well done, Virgil.”
Later that day, at 4:19 p.m., McQuiston responded: “Thanks, Peckham, for passing us the article. And I second your ‘Well done, Virgil.’ You know, I see brilliance in his work. It’s amazing how subject matter can inspire a writer.”
What a difference a day makes! In an e-mail at 5:48 p.m. on October 29, this was McQuiston’s message to me: “Look, Virgil, where’s Part II? You promised Part II this week. I go to the web site that trumps all my exclusive in The Times and what do I find? Political pabulum. You misled us. I’m hurt. (Trumps is not the word McQuiston used, and I don’t think it adequately reflected his mood at the moment.)
“What is this filler substitution?” he asked, and then quoted a couple of paragraphs of my October 27th column in which I extolled the virtues of compromise.
“This is a load of trite BS actually. But since I took the time to read it, I’ll take the time to put in my two cents’ worth.
“Even though I have compromised on too many occasions, I’m not sure it’s always the formula to get the right results.
“I do like the way we compromised in the Revolutionary War. The King didn’t feel so good about it.
“I like the way we compromised in WWII. The emperor and the fuhrer didn’t feel so good about it.
“Take the Republican Party, for instance. You know me. I was once a staunch Republican. But now the Republicans have compromised the heart of this country away. They’re way left of where the Democrats were just 10 years ago.
“Consequently we have produced a nation of parasites who are proud of that. They deserve to be taken care of. Only better.
“But if you’re a liberal, you should be proud. Not only do you have a GOP candidate who is willing to outbid the Dems on social issues — he’ll save your (censored) from terrorists while doing it.
“The liberals have two candidates. No sensible person can deny it.
“Well then, how come liberals aren’t happy? It came to me in a revelation. It’s the yellow dog deal. It’s our ‘True Believer’ compulsion to be associated with a cause that warps our common sense. So the Democrats aren’t actually voting for Kerry. They’re just voting against the damned ole Republicans. Cause they’re not on my side.
“My brilliant wife Bonnie came up with the perfect solution to the dilemma. Let’s just do away with parties.
“Let’s start a no-party revolution. What do you think?
“Consider this a complaint letter to the editor.
“Where’s Part II?”
McQuiston added this PS to his message: “Name the moderate who, in your opinion, has done most for the world, the most famous compromiser.”
To be honest, McQuiston, I can’t think of one. But I do think I made a mistake to write about politics and compromise when I said I’d write about something important, fishing.
Your complaint is well taken, my friend. And I give you the opportunity to vent your political spleen to the world via this famous column and the best weekly newspaper, period. That ought to count for something. Can you forgive me now?
Furthermore, I promise to you and all fellow Gang members that, the Good Lord willing and if Chuck’s Channel doesn’t rise, Part II will appear next week. And this time, I intend to keep it.
Please fellows, don’t kick me out.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index


By: Susan Harper
The Commerce News
November 10, 2004

Hometown Holiday Shopping
Eight or nine years ago, at about this time of year, my cousin Barbaranne and I set out on a lark. We wanted to see whether we could do all of our Christmas shopping in downtown Commerce.
This project, when we announced it in advance, was greeted with everything from dubious looks to hoots of laughter. My mother, who grew up here, has the best dubious look I’ve ever seen – she raises one eyebrow while lowering the other one – and we got the full benefit of it that day, right here in her hometown. Believe it or not, it gets worse: the hoots of laughter came from local merchants!
Well, a whole lot has changed since then, but guess what? Even back then we did just fine, thank you. We had a cold, blustery day for it, and our cheeks got rosy as we went up one side of the street and down the other, stopping to talk to friends, and popping in for lunch at the drug store. And we discovered more and better merchandise than we had dreamed of. We still talk about the unique and perfect gifts we found for friends and family that year — and about the fun we had along the way.
For some strange reason, it’s easy to forget about the resources available to us right here in town, in the buildings we drive past each day, and to think we need to drive 35 minutes to a mega-mall, drive some more as we fight parking-lot traffic looking for parking that’s within hiking distance, and then subject ourselves to the echoing din of thousands of other shoppers, complete with bulky packages, short fuses and squawling infants. Yikes!
And all the while, right here, we can buy everything from earrings to wedding gowns, and from calculators to washing machines to tractors – and that’s just the general stuff. Specifically, we have access to antiques, and to truly unusual gifts (and even gift baskets) in our extraordinary gift shops, plus the always-wonderful Jay’s (where I do half my Christmas shopping every year). And now we have several choices of a lunch spot when it’s time to get off of our feet. And don’t forget about Mary’s Fashion Corner at the north end of town and Fit to a Tee (for custom T-shirts) at the south end.
I haven’t asked Barbaranne yet, but I’m hoping we can try our project again this year. With the Hometown Holidays Open House this Saturday, we all have a particularly good opportunity to see our local stores at their best. I love the idea of doing all of my shopping locally and having it done by the middle of November. Think about it: when all those other poor souls are dragging themselves through the malls, you’ll be happily at home, wrapping your finds and addressing holiday cards. Sound impossible? Try it.
See you downtown!

Susan Harper is director of the Commerce Public Library.
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