For Columbia County, it's a call to arms.
Or feet, actually.
Coming up Tuesday, our local rising star Kathryn McCormick will enter the finale of the Fox television show, So You Think You Can Dance. Whether she survives to win depends on her considerable skills as a dancer - and on the support of her hometown.
Describing herself as a "family friend and neighbor," Candy Goff writes this plea to the community:
"Following the show on the 15th, there are three hours in which the public can place votes for their favorite dancer. We are pleading for Columbia County citizens to support one of their own by picking up the phone and voting for Kathryn. Not only because she's a local girl, but because she's worked so hard to get where she is."
You can bet that the hometowns of the other dancers on the show will swamp the phone lines to vote for their favorite. Columbia County residents - every single one of us - have an obligation to do the same, and more.
I'll have to admit: The only thing I detest more than these kinds of shows are swarms of gnats around my head. But I've watched the show this season just to see McCormick, a 19-year-old graduate of Evans High School and alumnus of Augusta West Dance Studio in Martinez.
The older you get, the more amazing it is that someone can have such incredible grace, strength and agility. Heck, I opened a cooler wrong at Sam's Club the other day and bumped my head; my neck still hurt the next morning from jerking it out of the way.
Yet in a recent show, Mrs. Goff says, Kathryn taped up her bruised and bleeding feet, "slipped into her dancing shoes and the show went on."
That kind of pluck needs to be rewarded. The show comes on at 8 p.m. Tuesday, and the telephone lines will be open for three hours afterward. Light them up for Kathryn, folks, and make the hometown girl's dreams come true.
Just say it's your call to feet.
During the four hours before Kathryn's show Wednesday, I'll be hanging out at the Walmart in Evans.
It won't be so I can claim a spot on peopleofwalmart.com (a Web site you really should check out). It'll be so I can ring a bell to raise money for the Salvation Army.
I had a blast ringing the bell last year, and knowing that I'm a sucker for making a public spectacle of myself for a good cause, the marketing folks invited me back this year.
My shift runs from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., and I expect some of my colleagues, friends and family will join me to ring the bell, relieve me so I can take a break or at least drop a little money in the kettle.
I just hope they don't take any pictures for peopleofwalmart.com.
Though it was just more than a week ago, I wouldn't want to let too much more time pass before thanking some people for their help in staging Columbia County's Christmas in America Festival on Dec. 5.
Reese Leroy gets the trouper award for coming to our rescue when the National Anthem singer couldn't make it. As pastor of the Vineyard Church, he did double-duty with members of their congregation handing out free hot chocolate and coffee. What fabulous people.
Many, many thanks, too, to Jennie Montgomery from WJBF, our emcee once again. She participated in Augusta's ceremonies and then hot-footed it out to our event, and never broke a sweat.
And, of course, thanks very much to the county's Community Events Coordinator Stacie Adkins, who pulls the whole thing together. And to our other participants, tree lighters, singers and the music teachers.
Awesome job, everyone. If you haven't already, go by the amphitheater in the evening and check out all the lights.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106.)
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