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I have been in and out of the newspaper business since my early college days while following a parallel career in information technology. I am a big fan of Atlanta Falcons football, BBQ, Maker's Mark, all forms of automobile racing, flying (private, not commercial) and shooting sports.
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously. ― Hunter S. Thompson
Number of posts: 11
Email address: email
By Doug Couch:
I was born and raised in a sleepy little north Georgia town in the Atlanta suburbs. Considering the hustle and bustle of that area today, it is hard to imagine my hometown as little, much less sleepy.
Metropolitan Atlanta has seen many changes over the decades, some of it good, some not so good. What used to be farmland is now tacky McMansion subdivisions and once tightly-knit communities have become sterile towns with little or no character. Children are bused to distant schools, medical care is provided by megalithic industrial-grade health centers, and restaurants do a brisk business as families find themselves too busy to cook and eat at home …
Few things are more iconic in the South than the pickup truck and if you are to believe the movies and TV shows set in the South, we all drive old rusted out, smoking, rattling Chevrolets or Fords. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I want to begin by setting the record straight about our collective fleet of “pick ’em ups.” While quite a few of them may have some years, and many miles, under their belts, the Southern truck is most likely well maintained and clean enough to transport the preacher’s daughter to the Varsity on a Saturday night.
That's Southern USA, you all
For those of you who do not call yourselves “Southern,” I feel compelled to write you a primer on the subject.
Unless you were born and raised in the South, or at least lived here long enough to assimilate into it, your paradigm of who and what we are may have been severely twisted by the media and the entertainment industry.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we are the only culture getting the smelly end of the stick from those socially-misguided, culturally-ignorant people who sometimes seem to control the information universe.
Young Cody Jackson, at the tender age of eight, already has an understanding for what our troops do in the name of freedom.
Jackson shows up at the Atlanta Airport several times a week in a military-style uniform to greet the GIs who are arriving or departing at Hartsfield-Jackson. A quick salute, a piece of candy, and this young patriot has done his job of making our men and women in uniform feel appreciated.
People around the world are making plans for celebrating the arrival of the new year and food will play a big part in starting the year off right. From lentils and sausage in Italy to soba noodles in Japan, almost every culture has their own idea of what foods should be eaten on New Year’s Day to ensure prosperity in the coming months.
We Southerners are no different. Down in my neck of the woods, eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on the first day of January is the formula if you want money to come your way in the new year.
The world will come to an end in less than a year and we all had better start getting our affairs in order.
If you are thinking I am some unwashed, hairy, nut-case running around the streets proclaiming: “The end is at hand,” first, I do not think I am a nut-case and second, it was not my idea. There just happens to be a lot of people out there putting stock in the fact the Mayan calendar runs out on December 21, 2012. Some have even offered up “evidence” in an attempt to support their bleak predictions.
A lot of people seem to be taking these doomsday folks seriously, but I personally think they are full of beans. Besides, when my wall calendar runs out, I just buy a new one. (Wait until late January. Stores discount what they have left. The Mayans may have done the same thing if they had access to a printing press.)
The Ford Motor Company recently announced the recall of several models because the wheels could fall off.
Now, I really like Ford. They are a solid American company that makes a quality product. In fact, I have owned several Fords in my life and I own one now. They have all given me years of trouble-free service. Unfortunately, self-detaching wheels is not an attribute your average consumer looks for in a motor vehicle.
Not all of my cars and trucks have left me with purely positive experiences. One notable example was a 1966 Buick Electra 225, known affectionately to car buffs as the “Deuce-and-a-Quarter.”
Mayhem broke out last week at a suburban Atlanta shopping mall as customers lost control of their senses when the new Nike Air Jordan basketball shoes went on sale.
When I say lost control, I mean children were abandoned by their mothers, the lesser were trampled by the greater, skirmishes broke out – basically a complete lack of civility and sanity. Atlanta was not just an isolated incident. Shoppers across the nation broke into fisticuffs and were stabbed or manhandled. Police had to apply generous portions of pepper spray to restore order, and several patrons missed the sale because their behavior resulted in them being “cuffed and stuffed” for their less than polite line etiquette.
Keep in mind, these people were not queuing up to buy front row Super Bowl tickets …
As a reporter covering the social services beat in suburban Atlanta, I wrote about Meals On Wheels needing drivers, the local battered women’s shelter in desperate need of a new roof, and efforts to gather up basic school supplies each Fall for disadvantaged children. I saw the need and I saw the frustration in the eyes of social workers who were desperately trying to fill that need with dwindling resources while working in the sometimes emotionless environment of some government services agency.
Pretty depressing stuff, when witnessed every day at the street level. The upside, and a grasp on the emotions, was the sense of accomplishment when an article would inspire someone to deliver those lunches, pay for a new roof or buy some Hello Kitty back packs. Christmas would be the one time of the year where everything came together and my faith in humanity blossomed as the spirit of giving poured forth from the community.
Movies like Holiday Inn and White Christmas have helped shape our image of an American Christmas. The truth is, most of the country rarely, if ever sees snow during the season and the holiday traditions are as varied as our people.
Extended families gather at different times, some on Christmas Eve and some as much as several days later. In some families, Santa (See photo) wraps all the presents and in others, the Jolly Old Elf just spreads them out under the tree, resulting in a visual overload on Christmas morning for all the good little girls and boys.
Down South, our brothers and sisters near the Mason-Dixon line have a much better shot at a white Christmas than those in Florida. Once in a blue moon, North Georgia is blessed with snow …
A Georgia man was arrested about two weeks ago for shooting mistletoe out of trees. Before you start drawing conclusions, this was not just some crazy Southerner who decided he was going to remove obligate hemi-parasitic plants from his trees with the only tool he had at his disposal – a double barrel shotgun. The man was following an old Southern tradition of shooting mistletoe out of trees for Christmas decoration and the only reason he was arrested was because he was doing it behind a mall parking lot.
When I was a teen, my cousin and I would go out into the deep woods north of Atlanta before Christmas and gather mistletoe in exactly the same way our hopefully now out-on-bond friend did. We would sell most our bounty to Christmas tree lots and make a tidy sum that we used to buy presents and more shotgun shells.