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 OPINION PAGE - NOVEMBER 10, 1999 - DANIELSVILLE, GA

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Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
November 10, 1999

A new member of the family
Our family size has just increased.
No, we don't have another child - well maybe we do, sort of.
Charles and I were driving down a country road last week when we spotted a little dog in the road. She barely moved as we went by, nearly hitting her.
Finding the nearest turn-around point, we went back to see if she was still there. Several cars came by in the meantime and I didn't give us much chance of finding her alive and unhurt.
Luckily, she hadn't been hit, even though she was still wandering, trembling with her tail tucked in the middle of the road.
I pulled over to the side of the road, let the window down and spoke to her. She came toward the car and I opened the door, prepared to get out and run her out of the road. Instead, she made a beeline for the car, bounced across me and over into Charles' lap all in one motion. We both sat there, too startled to speak, as she made herself comfortable, all the while facing straight ahead.
"Well, I guess we have a dog," I said. We both looked at each other and laughed. The little dog continued to stare straight ahead, glancing at me just once as if to say, "Step on it, buster; what are you waiting for?" It was obvious she had had enough of wandering the roads.
She had no collar and no ID, and, we soon discovered, was covered in fleas.
On the way home, we discussed what we would do with her.
"We're not keeping her in the house," I said firmly.
"I don't know that we need another dog right now," Charles said doubtfully, while stroking her head. She leaned up to nuzzle his beard lovingly.
In truth, we were just adjusting to being dogless, having made the difficult decision to put our old dog Bridgette to sleep a few months ago. And were not looking for another one yet.
"Well, she did literally just drop in our laps," I said, uncertainly.
"We won't get attached," Charles said as we put her in Bridgette's old pen, finding her an old blanket and a can of dog food. I took her out to treat her fleas and watched as she chased our cats. It was hilarious.
Now, you have to know our cats; they are not used to being taken in hand by anybody and poor little old Bridgette had not stood a chance against their cocky attitudes. But this little dog was obviously unaccustomed to cats. She pursued one, Jason, down into the woods, disappearing from sight before I heard a yelp, followed by her quick retreat back to my side.
No, I wasn't too worried about the cats.
After she happily ran them all out of the yard or up a nearby tree, she chased a squirrel, jumping so high I thought she might actually jump into the tree herself.
Because of this we decided on a name for her - "Crickett," although we still vowed to not get too attached. The first night, she dutifully slept in the pen, whining pitifully and looking longingly toward the house every time the door opened, but I remained stalwart and unmoved. No dog in the house.
When we let her out of the pen, she promptly chased the first thing she saw - a cat, of course, and disappeared into the woods. We spent the next hour and a half combing the woods for her. We then scoured the neighborhood on foot and by automobile, vowing all the
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while that we couldn't care less and it was just as well because we didn't need another dog and she chased the cats and so forth and so on. We had almost given up when she happily came back through the woods of her own accord.
We then let her come inside, just for a visit mind you, before I took her to the vet, who pronounced her underweight but healthy and gave her the required vaccinations. While there, she charmed everybody in the place, licking faces and snuggling up to them.
On the way home she wouldn't sit anywhere but in my lap.
She spotted a fly in the window, caught him and then proceeded to chew him up and spit him out on my leg. "Ugh!" I said as I moved her over so I could clean fly guts off my blue jeans, reminding myself that this is one of the reasons I am a cat person.
Crickett looked at me sweetly as if reading my thoughts and proceeded to climb right back in my lap, lick my chin with her fly tongue and cuddle up in a ball.
"I am not really a dog person," I said to myself, yet again.
That night, after giving her a bath, I just couldn't bring myself to put her out. It was just too cold outside.
She followed me to the bedroom and jumped up on the bed, looking at me inquiringly.
"Well, just this once," I said. After all, Charles was at work, so there was plenty of room. She slept like a log.
The next night Charles was home - and it was his fault this time - he insisted on keeping her in our bedroom, and she insisted on sleeping in our bed.
Needless to say, she now sleeps with us every night, and I usually wake to find she has worked herself from the foot of the bed up to lie between us, stretched out on her side and snoring happily.
The kids, of course, love her. She and Zack spend many hours wrestling on the floor or playing ball and Miranda has agreed, after Crickett made several covert forays into her room to maul her teddy bears, to pick her stuffed animals up and put them safely in her closet.
Even the cats are coming around. Tinkerbell, who is half dog herself, was the first to give in, rubbing against her and playing with her toys. They even lie down next to each other now. The others are a little slower to concede, but even Jason has come back from the woods to live with us.
And Charles and I have gotten plenty of exercise this past week, because even though we're not too attached, we seem to spend a portion of each day hunting for Crickett in the woods. She always comes back, as soon as she tires of chasing everything that moves.
And we are very glad to see her but, mind you, we are not attached.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.

Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
November 10, 1999

Frankly Speaking
Confederate flag does not represent slavery and racism
Emory University student Charles C. White III who recently wrote a letter to the Emory Univeristy student newspaper objecting to the use of the Confederate flag by a fraternity, and all other opponents of the Confederate flag, are victims of a revisionist history designed to support a political agenda. Any 10-year-old child who has completed the fifth grade civics class can prove that the Confederacy was not formed to protect or promote slavery.
Consider the year 1860, one year before the secession of Southern states began:
1) Slavery was fully protected by the United States Constitution, and reinforced by the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision.
2) An amendment to the U.S. Constitution would have been required to end slavery.
3) Any amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires 75 percent of states' approval before it can be ratified.
4) There were 33 states in the union at that time. Only nine states were needed to block any constitutional amendment.
5) There were 15 slave states in the Union, more than enough to prevent any constitutional amendment to end slavery. Even today, the 15 original slave states would be able to block constitutional amendments.
The conclusion: Under the U.S. Constitution, the Southern states had an iron-clad guarantee that slavery would last as long as they wished to maintain it. If the goal of the Confederate states was to preserve slavery, they did exactly the wrong thing by seceding from the Union. That action wiped out the protections that slavery already had! Rather than attempting to protect slavery, the establishment of the Confederacy created conditions that allowed slavery to end. Had the Confederacy never been created, legal slavery might well be in existence today.
It is the U.S. flag that flew over legalized slavery for over 80 years. The Confederate flags only flew over legal slavery for four years, and that slavery system was the same one the Confederacy inherited from the United States constitution.
The Confederate flag does not represent slavery and racism. It actually marks the actions of Southern states that brought slavery to an end. For that, it should be honored and displayed by all who benefited from its existence. Those who truly want to seek out and remove symbols that supported slavery should look at the U.S. Flag, not the flags of the Confederacy.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.



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