Theres an African proverb that says, They pray for rain and curse the mud.
With Clarks Hill Lake turning into little more than a puddle and stressed-out pines falling prey to bark beetles, our multi-year drought had lots of people praying for rain last summer. Several area churches, especially those in agricultural areas south of here, held special services just to ask for divine intervention.
Someone must have left the heavenly phone off the hook. Though we declared a blessed end to the drought weeks ago, golf patrons and farmers lately have been cursing the mud. We may need to seek intervention again and say thanks, but thats enough for now, before someone gets the idea to build a big boat and start looking for pairs of animals.
All that rain, though, sparked an unintentionally funny exchange the other day.
Pam Tucker, Columbia Countys director of Emergency Services, sent out an e-mail to all local media advising them of flood warnings from the National Weather Service. In all, 32 recipients on Tuckers list received information to pass along to readers and viewers.
One of those recipients was Don Reeve, meteorologist for WRDW-TV 12, who took issue with Tuckers interchangeable use of the terms flood watch and flash flood watch. Reeve replied to Tuckers e-mail alert with an e-mail message of his own, explaining the difference in detail.
Reeves message ended with this terse comment: Please do not use these two terms as the same event other wise viewers, field reporters and residents will be confused. Right now we are only under a Flood Watch not a Flash Flood Watch ... there is some important difference which we must highlight by using the proper terms and definitions thus educating the public, keeping them informed and retain our crediblity (sic).
Good information. Unfortunately, Mr. Smartypants shared it with everyone by inadvertently replying to the entire list - taking Tucker to a media woodshed.
Tucker sent back a gracious reply: Sorry... I did not mean to confuse you. I will try not to make that mistake again. Thank you.
The end? Well, not quite. That came later, when Reeves boss, WRDW-TV News and Operations Director Estelle Parsley - a Columbia County resident, by the way - sent Tucker and all of us eavesdroppers on the list a two-sentence statement clearly intended as an apology. Based on my 15 years of working with you, you remain among the most knowledgeable persons in your field. Let me again clarify that this news organization values the information you share with us.
As one who rarely hesitates to point out the speck in someone elses eye while ignoring the plank in my own, I cant really fault Reeve for the correction. But offering such a technical rebuke in an open forum was a little rough. It sounds, though, like hes now been taken to WRDWs woodshed - so his next speck-plucking will probably be at least a little more private. Or his name is Mud.
Remember the big one, the bombing run carried out in Baghdad just over a week ago in which a B1 crew targeted a market where Sad-dam Hussein & Sons were believed to be hiding?
Theres a story going around that Capt. Bobby Christine, an Army reservist who serves in civilian life as Columbia Countys prosecutor for the District Attorneys Office, had a hand in the effort - literally.
Thanks to Christine, the story goes, one of the 2,000-pound bunker buster bombs had this handwritten inscription: Courtesy, District Attorneys Office, Augusta, Georgia.
Weve heard the term prosecuting a war, but Christine takes it seriously!
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal@ newstimesonline.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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