Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, a time to be charitable. In that spirit, forgive my brethren at The Chronicle.
They don't seem to be the friendliest folks when it comes to barbecue.
If you remember, a couple of months ago they empaneled a few volunteers to sample and offer their opinions on our Southern staple. Somehow I'm sure they didn't realize that around here, evaluating barbecue is like going to a convention of preachers and debating Bible translations.
The reviewers had a couple of what charitably could be called ugly comments about Edmunds Barbecue in Martinez. The only blessing is the family of Cleve Edmunds didn't share the comments with him before his death, God rest his barbecue-loving soul.
Maurice Bessinger is still very much alive. And what's the first story we hear when it's announced his chain of barbecue restaurants is opening a new shop in North Augusta?
We hear that he once protested the South Carolina brouhaha over the Confederate battle flag by lowering the American flag and raising the battle flag at his Columbia restaurant.
Come on. We're all worried about the economy, yet when a guy invests in our town the first thing we hear about is some old gripe?
Most folks eating out could not care less about the politics of the eatery's owner. They'll buy Maurice's barbecue because they like it, or they won't. I prefer Edmonds or Mot's, myself - not because of Maurice's politics, but because I don't care for his mustard-based sauce. And because I usually stick to Columbia County.
Maurice should be able to sell all that customers want to buy without sparking a silly political debate. Or is speech free only for those with whom we agree?
Chimney of hope
You don't have to agree with Maurice's politics to be thrilled over Easter Seals 2008 Ornament of Hope: It's the Confederate Powderworks chimney on the Augusta Canal.
The historic chimney is the last remaining structure built by the Confederacy. Even though the chimney is badly in need of restoration, Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed a grant for it from this year's budget.
It turned out not to matter, anyway; the state's budget deficit led to cuts in most community grants.
The Ornament of Hope is an annual fundraiser for Easter Seals, and each year features a historic Augusta building. The Powderworks chimney is sure to be an immensely popular choice.
Century 21-Larry Miller Realty's office on Belair Road in Evans has the ornaments available. You can call them at (706) 868-0000. You also can get them from www.eastersealsgeorgia.org.
The new ornaments signal Christmas is coming. And that means Jamiah Hudson is spending a lot of time on Interstate 20.
Columbia County's child star this year is playing a member of the Cratchit family in A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Friday through Dec. 24.
Jamiah, a 12-year-old Appling resident and former Greenbrier Middle School student, performed last Christmas in a production of The Wiz. Keep your eyes on her; this kid will go far.
Black or bleak?
Though it no longer ranks as the busiest shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving still has a reputation as the official jump-start of the Christmas season.
It's been a while since I've braved the early morning crowds to find some insanely cheap item, and I doubt I'll do it this year.
In any event, consumer guru Clark Howard says the biggest price cuts will come later - especially if Friday is more bleak than black.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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