"Everything's temporary in this world;
Ain't it a shame when you lose someone."
- Ian Hunter, "Washed Us Away"
In the end, the Invincible Barbarian was neither.
Jimmy Carter, an Augusta photographer, Vietnam War veteran and a bonafide unique individual, died Friday, Jan. 19.
Jimmy was known to us in the news business by his brash, confident attitude - one punctuated with overalls and a bandanna tied around his head.
While Jimmy was best known for his work in local minority media, along with modeling portfolios he built for dozens of would-be starlets, he also shot photos for The News-Times. Way back before Southeastern Newspapers bought The News-Times, Jimmy took pictures for us - mainly because he liked to help out the underdog.
That's really what Jimmy was: the ultimate underdog. Despite debilitating injuries he received in the war, Jimmy plowed ahead to make a name for himself as James Brown's private photographer and as someone who provided a strong voice for his fellow wounded veterans.
Jimmy once brought me a picture of him lifting an enormous set of barbells in a weight-lifting competition, where he was undoubtedly the only guy with just one good leg.
That attitude is what made up his Invincible Barbarian persona. But he was a kind, gentle soul, certainly no barbarian; and now we know only his memory is invincible.
Rest in peace, Jimmy.
Not dead yet
Someone who is still very much alive is U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood. But you wouldn't know it from all the political vultures circling.
When Norwood had a lung transplant a couple of years ago, politicians and wannabees began clearing their throats for their announcement speeches that would follow their obligatory condolence messages. Charlie didn't die or quit, so the talk subsided, even when a small tumor was removed from his other lung.
Small cancers are a side-affect of the anti-rejection drugs he has to take, but finding them early is a benefit of the follow-up treatment from the surgery.
A couple of months ago, Norwood began chemotherapy for a small, cancerous tumor near his liver, and the throat-clearing started again. Perhaps the biggest example is a mysterious telephone poll testing the waters for likely candidates; thus far, no one has claimed responsibility for that trolling expedition.
Some of this is to be expected. Anyone with ambitions for the post is well aware of the potential free-for-all that will erupt in the event of a vacancy.
Unlike U.S. Senate vacancies, which are filled by gubernatorial appointment, House seats can be filled only with a special election, and potential candidates have to be ready to raise a lot of money. Those candidates have to walk a tightrope of decorum; they must make sure everyone within earshot of their throat-clearing knows their thoughts and prayers are with Norwood, of course, but that they must be prepared in case Something Happens.
So, who's been clearing their throats? Probably the loudest has been Republican Ralph Hudgens, a state representative from Athens. Other Athens-area hopefuls include Jane Kidd, Mike Beatty and Brian Kemp.
Locally, state Rep. Barry Fleming is interested, and state Sen. Jim Whitehead might be. State Rep. Ben Harbin isn't.
Meanwhile, though he's missed some votes and no longer has as much clout because of the Democratic takeover of Congress, Norwood is still the 10th District congressman. And our prayers should continue to be for his recovery - not his replacement.
Grads make good
Columbia County's public schools had a hand in the ascension of two of the four new juvenile court judges named last week.
Pam James is a graduate of Harlem High School; Willie Saunders graduated from Evans High. Congratulations to both of them.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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