Jane Elliott, my oldest daughters high-school French teacher, called the other day to tell me too much of my recent stuff had seemed gloomy.
She then gave me some bright news about a group of 22 of her Lakeside High students whod just returned from a summer trip to France. She told a great story about dinner in a French restaurant, where the students - after a round of singing by a horde of Italian tourists - stood together and sang the National Anthem.
Then, without missing a beat, the Columbia County kids launched into La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France - bringing activity in the restaurant to a halt as waiters and cooks listened in wonder to the young American troubadours, and then wildly applauded when they finished.
Elliott says shell put together an account of the trip, with pictures, for us to share with readers. If any of the other stories are even close to as good as that one, Im looking forward to it.
In the meantime, if she feels like things have been a little gloomy, maybe we need to talk about some bright spots in our community - and there are plenty of them.
A few folks got together a couple of weeks ago with Harlem High drama coach Roy Lewis to brainstorm ideas for raising $130,000 to help send 30 students and adult chaperones to Scotland next year for competition in an international festival.
Thats a lot of money. But for nearly two weeks, the kids will compete with adult and student groups from around the world.
Among those actors will be just a dozen companies from the United State that were chosen to participate in next years Fringe Festival. But thats not all: Columbia Countys smallest high school scored highest among all of the U.S. schools invited to the prestigious festival.
Thus, Harlem can proudly claim to be home to the best high school drama team in the nation.
Of course, should we expect anything less from the birthplace of Oliver Hardy?
If youve got money to help those kids get to Scot-land to represent Harlem and Columbia County, theyd sure appreciate it. Send it to Lewis attention, made out to the Harlem Drama Club, to Harlem High School, 1070 Appling-Harlem Highway, Harlem, Ga., 30814.
If youre a Harlem alumnus, especially, pony up.
It isnt too dramatic - in fact, construction is kind of slow right now with all the rain - but there are three new restaurants coming to Evans.
First are two Thai restaurants. One of them, Mai Thai, will be just two doors down from The News-Times office. (Just what we need - with three restaurants already sharing our sidewalk, heres another one to fatten us up!) The other is down the road next to the Evans Kroger. Columbia County has never had a Thai place, and now were getting two at once.
The eatery Im really looking forward to, though, is the Twisted Chick-en Caf. Its on North Belair at Evans-to-Locks Road, and is being built by Tom Werner (owner of Pierwood Homes).
Werner, like me, is a huge fan of the Wild Wing Caf in Hilton Head. He actually tried to get the franchise in our area, but they wouldnt work with him. So he found a restaurant-savvy partner and is building his own chicken-wing restaurant.
The downside? Between Twisted Chicken and Zax-bys, Ill regain the 25 pounds Ive managed to lose.
Another piece of happy news is the pending groundbreaking for the new Columbia County library. It seems like forever ago that voters approved the sales tax referendum to pay for the facility - and even longer ago that the county hired a consultant to tell us how badly we need it.
The countdown is on for the librarys groundbreaking. It will be a great occasion.
Perhaps we can invite those Lakeside students to sing the National Anthem - ours, in English, of course.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.