Want to know what it's like to work hard and have fun at the same time?
Go into the newspaper business. We get to do it all the time.
Not in our real jobs, of course -- but in getting invited to see what other people do.
This past week, in honor of National School Lunch Week, Principal Wanda Golosky invited me out to Euchee Creek Elementary to help serve lunch to students.
Lunchroom Manager Jo Anne Pitts sent me to wash my hands and suited me up in a bright-yellow apron, and partnered me on the serving line with lunchroom worker Robecca Smith.
I had a blast. It was a great learning experience, too. For example, I learned:
Kids really like french fries. Waffle, crinkle-cut, shoestring, shredded and molded into little discs. We served 'em all.
Just out of the fryer, french fries are really hot. The plastic gloves food-services workers and their amateur-hour volunteers wear aren't protection from burned fingers.
Kids really like school lunch. The lunchroom workers really like serving them.
And I enjoyed helping. I must have done OK, because they've invited me back for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't think they're serving french fries, though, so I'll have to be retaught.
Thanks, Mrs. Golosky. You're still one of my favorite teachers.
No 'wiggling' for Zell
Oh, I wish Zell could participate in our local debates and forums.
As reported this past week in the Atlanta paper's "Political Insider" column, Sen. Zell Miller recently spoke at a fund-raiser for the Christian Coalition, focusing his topic on support of the upcoming vote on an amendment to Georgia's constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Zell also mailed copies of his speech to Democratic office-holders around the state, likely as a warning to how they should prepare for what they'll have to answer for in two years. Specifically, those answers will have to come from Secretary of State Cathy Cox and Lieutenant Gov. Mark Taylor, both of whom are already campaigning for governor.
Zell said everyone running for office -- any office -- should say how they plan to vote on the amendment.
And be clear about it.
"Don't give us any gobbledy-gook or some fancy dance steps," Zell says. "Tell us plainly and forthrightly. Are you for it or against it?
"And if you start off your answer with any word in the English language except 'yes,' then stop. That's enough. That tells us where you stand. Quit wiggling."
Maybe Zell ought to train reporters.
A final note
It was troubling to hear the other day that Stephanie Hackett, the former director of community activities for Columbia County's Chamber of Commerce, has had a serious relapse of cancer.
Early this year she had extensive surgery to remove cancerous organs and tissues. A few weeks ago the cancer returned, and Hackett -- in an e-mail update to friends -- says she's in Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer.
Layman's version: Bad.
Stephanie was a tremendously loyal ally to Columbia County and its march into the 21st century long before the chamber made its 2003 turn toward more parity in its relationship with Augusta's chamber.
Now, she and her husband and their three children need all the allies they can get. The Stephanie Hackett Cancer Medical Fund is open for donations at Regions Bank on Furys Ferry Road.
She was here for this community as its chamber turned toward maturity; the community needs to be here for her now as she continues to struggle.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia Count News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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