Where's Joe Cooler when we need him?
Columbia County's head landscaper, Preston Duffie, has done an awesome job beautifying little pockets of land alongside intersections in Evans. The first was Town Center Boulevard at North Belair Road, followed by North Belair at Industrial Park Drive. A couple of weeks ago they dressed up the retention pond next to the Waffle House on Washington Road.
Alas, the sod had barely been set on the Town Center site before some jerk ran his truck across it.
The way the new road is built, coming west on North Belair and turning onto Town Center Boulevard is a 90-degree intersection. But there's a flat, grassy space between the street sign and a utility pole, and our jerk of the month figured out he can cut off the corner.
That means running across the grass - and this particular butthead has done so several times, even spinning his tires in the process. (And I confidently say "he"; women rarely commit such acts of idiotic, pointless vandalism.)
So, who is Joe Cooler?
He's a family friend, lives near Atlanta, in a house that was there before they built a street around it. (Yes, that is his real name.) The street makes a sweeping curve around his yard, and years ago he had a problem with a four-wheeling juvenile motoring across his lawn.
So Joe took a piece of plywood and drove a bunch of long screws through it, then laid it on his yard. And covered it with pine straw.
A few days later, he heard a revving engine, followed by the sound of four very large, deflated truck tires flapping down the street. He never again had a problem with vehicles cutting across his yard.
Back here in Evans, the angel award goes to the good citizen who dragged a big pine limb across the tracks. But I fully expect the sod-killing jerk to run over it, too - along with any sharpened metal spikes that it might happen to hide.
Speaking of jerks, Colin Powell managed to find the cameras this past weekend by endorsing Barrack Obama.
I met Powell once, about 10 years ago, and have since had a very firm opinion of him: What an arrogant, pompous jerk.
That's no reflection on Obama, of course. I'm sure both he and John McCain are supported by plenty of arrogant, pompous jerks. But I haven't met any of them.
Powell, I have. He was in town for a fundraiser about 10 years ago. I was invited and told that Powell was going to be there, so I brought along a copy of the Colin Powell trading card from the Gulf War series (the original war, not the current, less-popular sequel). I figured I'd ask Powell if he'd autograph it.
I waited until an opportune moment, introduced myself, thanked him for coming, and with the appropriate measure of deferential hero worshipfulness asked for his autograph.
Big mistake. He launched into a sanctimonious speech about how his signature could increase the value of the card, and thereby be construed as providing a gift.
I was about ready to say, "Geez, if it's that big a deal, forget it," when he impatiently demanded the card and my pen. He whipped off a scrawled signature, thrust the card back to me - and then turned his back to me.
I cannot begin to tell you how tempting it was to give the card back. In pieces.
It's for sale, by the way. I'm sure it's way more valuable now; I'll take 30 pieces of copper for it.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, there is an entire book's worth in a recent photo from the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta.
A smiling John Paul Richardson is sitting up in his hospital bed next to his mother, Ginger Richardson. She's a teacher at Stevens Creek Elementary; he's a Greenbrier High School graduate and college student severely injured in a recent car crash in Statesboro.
He still has a long way to go, and continues to need all the prayers and well-wishes headed his way. But that picture is a real day-brightener just the same.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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