My youngest daughter tells the story of meeting Glen Roberson in the hallway at Riverside Middle School.
"You look like a Paschal," he said.
"Yes, sir," Annie replied. "You taught my sisters."
"I taught your parents," he said with a laugh.
Roberson was an art teacher at Harlem High School way back when I was a student. He made a strong impression on me then, and again years later.
In a tremendously kind gesture, a couple of years ago he sent by way of one of my other girls a framed copy of a linoleum cut print that I'd made in his class.
For the print to have survived that long - about 25 years - it meant that he'd held onto it even during the time he was temporarily out of teaching. I'm not sure there's a higher compliment than having an art teacher hang on to a piece of your artwork.
Stallings Island Middle School held a ceremony last week to honor Roberson upon his retirement. He says he plans to spend more time creating artwork of his own - and I hope he has plenty of years to do so.
Incidentally, Roberson's best-known artwork is perpetually on display. He created the Eagle logo for Riverside Middle, and the Red Hawk logo for Stallings Island.
If my wife is paying attention, I can't think of a better Christmas present than to own a Roberson original. Best of luck to him in his retirement.
A few gift ideas
Looking for a few last-minute gifts?
If so, I'm sure you're not alone. I expect Monday will be among the busier shopping days this year, as teachers and school personnel are finally able to hit the stores on a weekday. The county school system has more than 3,000 employees, so we're not talking about a tiny number of late shoppers, either.
For those who might need help, here are some gift suggestions that you might not have thought of:
- Mike Ryan's book, The Last Freedom.
Mike is an Evans resident and The Chronicle's editorial page editor. The Book Tavern on Broad Street has copies of the self-published book available, and he'll be there to sign copies Monday from 6-8 p.m.
The book is a novelized biography of Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning.
- Mark Gelbart's book, Tales of Augusta and Thereabouts.
Gelbart is a strange character, one of the more outlandish denizens posting (under a pseudonym) on The Chronicle's message boards. He's also a talented writer, as evidenced by this compilation of quirky short stories, though it would really help if he had an editor.
The book is available at www.lulu.com, either in print (no guarantee of Christmas shipping), or as a digital download.
- A pay-per-view ticket to UFC 92.
The significance? The Ultimate Fighting Championship bout, scheduled for Saturday, is Evans High School graduate Forrest Griffin's first defense of his UFC light heavyweight title against "Sugar" Rashad Evans.
Though it might not exactly seem like an appropriate gift at a time when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, any UFC fan, especially those here in Columbia County, would be thrilled at getting a pay-per-view order for Saturday's fights as a gift.
Besides: Nothing says "merry Christmas!" quite like watching grown men beat the snot out of each other.
Home for the holidays
Congratulations to Bible Fellowship Church. They've been meeting for the past seven years at the Belair Conference Center, and now have found a permanent home at the former Riverwatch Community Church on Old Petersburg Road.
Congratulations, too, to Church of the Holy Comfortor. They're scheduled to hold their first service today in their new sanctuary on Furys Ferry Road just in time for Christmas.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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