I went home Wednesday.
Not to Evans, where I live; or to Winfield, where I grew up; or to Lincolnton or McCormick, where I spent so much time with grandparents and relatives as a child.
My visit was to North Columbia Elementary and its library.
Misty Christiansen, the librarian (OK, "media specialist"), was my youngest daughter's teacher a couple of years ago. She was a gracious hostess, but I don't think she knew just how thrilled and awed I was to be able to stand in her castle, among all those books.
The library (ahem, "media center") wasn't in the same part of the building as it was back when I was there as a kid, when only boys attended the school (after desegregation, the boys attended the former Phinizy Elementary, a black school; the girls went to Appling Elementary, a former white school). Back then, the school had just one hallway; the former library is now classroom space, and the current library is in the building's new wing.
That library was an intellectual haven in that part of the country, as welcome as the bookmobile's summer stops at my grandmother's home. I read just about every book there, especially those on spies or the Middle Ages -- anything that allowed my imagination to take me someplace else.
Stepping into North Columbia's library Wednesday took me someplace else, too: back in time.
Yeah, I know, it was special only to me. But I hope the kids got a sense of that excitement when I joined others in reading to them for Read Across America week. (I read my favorite: Green Eggs and Ham.)
Thanks for the memories, North Columbia.
Heather has a picnic
It sounds like next Saturday may not turn out to be quite the family event at the state Legislature that lawmakers had in mind.
The General Assembly will be open in a rare Saturday session March 12. The idea, says state Sen. Jim Whitehead, is to provide a weekend day when families can come together to see their government at work. Lawmakers will use the occasion to take ceremonial action to repeal old Jim Crow laws still on the state's books.
Ah, yes. Picnics on the lawn, unanimous votes in the Legislature, photo ops with smiling elected officials. A nice, family event.
Well. The Atlanta paper's Political Insider column reports that homosexual activists have decided to crash the party, intending to "saturate the event with gay and lesbian families."
"We will not be asking for anything. This is simply a terrific opportunity for the members of the Legislature to meet our families," the column quotes Chuck Bowen of a gay-rights group called Georgia Equality.
Just what the Republicans wanted: The equivalent of Disney World's "Gay Day," right under the Gold Dome, smack in the middle of what was intended as a controversy-free (and heterosexual) family event.
So load up the minivan and take the kids, mom and dad!
Or mom and mom, or dad and dad.
The week of March 14-18 is School Board Appreciation Week in Georgia. Columbia County could probably show its appreciation by providing wheelchairs for Board members.
Not long ago, Wayne Bridges was hobbling around after an injury, and Regina Buccafusco was walking with a cane prior to hip-replacement surgery. Now Mike Sleeper is on crutches after breaking his foot in a North Dakota snowmobile crash.
"Let's just say I'm suffering from it," said Sleeper. At least, he said, he temporarily gets good parking slots.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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