Fans of the animated show "The Simp-sons" know that the namesake family lives in Springfield, and their rival town is Shelbyville.
Columbia County may have found its own Shelbyville: Dalton, Ga.
Friday night, Dalton's No. 1 ranked boys soccer team beat our own Lakeside High 3-2, ending a great season for the Panthers. And just a few days earlier, Columbia County Recreation Department Special Events Coor-dinator Beth Roberson announced that she's leaving, moving with her husband.
Why, oh, why? Isn't the self-proclaimed "Carpet Capital of the World" satisfied that our robust home-construction business is helping support the north Georgia town's primary industry? Do they have to beat us in soccer -- probably using ringers who are the children of the south American immigrants who work in the carpet factories -- and then steal one of our best local people, too? I don't know if Beth can even play soccer.
We'll show 'em. We've got our own flooring industry: Thomson Oak Flooring has been milling boards for decades. Let's push local builders to put down more hardwood and less shag and Berber, and see if we can get Dalton's attention.
Seriously, though it is Dalton's gain, it isn't their fault Columbia County is losing Roberson. She's heading to north Georgia -- where her lower-Appalachian accent will fit right in -- to accompany her husband, Brad. He's a chemical engineer, and received a promotion and transfer to the Shaw Industries plant in Dalton.
The reaction to Beth's departure has been about the same: Swooning nausea, an I-can't-believe-you're-telling-me-this helplessness. I passed on word of her pending resignation to Jim Whitehead, who serves with me as co-chairman on the Memorial Day and Christmas events for the county, and we both commiserated at the loss of the fireball worker who has done so much in such a short time to put together great public events for our community.
And she's done it with a bright smile and good humor, too; Beth even laughed when I told her, as she was dressed in Renai-ssance-period costume and a red wig for last year's art festival, that she looked like a Medieval hooker.
We sure will miss her, and hope desperately that the county can find a replacement who'll do at least half as good a job coordinating and promoting our public events.
But watch out, Dalton; we'll get our revenge. Just wait 'til football season.
Stock-trade from space
Speaking of Dalton, there's a nifty and mostly untold story in which Shaw Industries plays a pivotal role. It involves the late News-Times columnist Aub-rey Shaw, his stockbroker brother Calvin, and astronaut Susan Still.
Still, who grew up in Augusta and whose father Dr. Joseph Still is a prominent local burn doctor, piloted Space Shuttle Co-lumbia in 1997. Before she blasted off, Aubrey and Calvin cooked up a plan to allow Still to become the first person to buy stock from space.
The stock they chose was Shaw Industries. The brothers have no family relationship with the company, but sharing the same name just made it sort of cool. Before Still left the ground, she and the brothers exchanged e-mail addresses, and put the plan in place.
A few days later, while orbiting Earth, Still sent an e-mail to Calvin authorizing the purchase of a share of Shaw Industries stock, thereby executing the first-ever stock trade from space.
After Still's safe return, the Shaw brothers presented her with a framed copy of a Shaw Industries stock certificate. Maybe if she still has it, one day it and the background story can hang in the Susan Still wing of the Augusta Museum of History.
But don't tell the folks in Dalton. They'll probably try to swipe it for their carpet museum.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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