Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I Make My Livin' Off the Evenin' News...

Thank you, Don Henley for the lyric. I actually used to make my living off the morning news, but thankfully, only my husband does that now.

I've always believed you could learn a lot about a place by trolling through the local cemetery and reading the headstones about who was there, who they were married to or born of, sometimes what they died of, and the dates they lived and died. It's probably the archaeologist in me. I've also discovered that you can learn a lot about where you live simply by picking up one of those small, locally produced newspapers. I'm not talking about the big ones with multiple sections and ten quires of paper just for the coupon section. I mean, the little, bi fold papers that cover those great rural stories about tractor pulls, hog futures, and of course local community announcements.

We've got one of those, which comes as an insert in our big paper, The Savannah Morning News. We get to see it three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Right now the big stories are school uniforms for Effingham County (reaction has been mixed, at best) and the fact that our Country Board of Elections was incapable of electing a fifth "at large" member themselves, and had to have a Superior Court Judge do it for them.

But for me, the best parts of the paper are the announcements of births, weddings, anniversaries and the obituaries. Like I said, you can learn a lot from an obit.

For example, I've learned that almost everyone who's died in Effingham County in the past few weeks has had a nickname, a nickname they were so associated with it had to be printed in their obituary. Names like "William 'Billy' Buer", or "George 'Bubba' Tattnal", or one of my favourites so far "Lloyd 'Peavine' Tankam".

I've also noticed a lot of folks here have been married a really long time. Each week there at least three announcements of folks who've been married longer than forty years. Usually, it's people celebrating their 50th or 60th anniversaries, which astounds me. Either we've got a heck of a lot of older people here, or no one ever gets divorced.

The other thing is that everyone who is anyone in this county is in the local Rotary Club. That "at-large" member of the Elections Board? Yep, he's a member of the local Rotary Club, and so was the judge who chose him. Even the local veterinarian is a member, and proudly says so on his website. I think there's got to be something to this whole Rotary Club thing.

People also seem to have a lot of goats for sale, but I don't know what to think about that.

So, I've decided on a campaign to improve myself so that I fit in a little better here.

First, I need a catchy nickname that can be printed in my obituary. Right now, I'm leaning towards "Dizzy", which seems to be pretty popular amongst the women here, but I'm open to suggestions if you have them. Second, I need to make sure I stay married for fifty years, which I think I've got covered. My husband may even go along with that plan, too. Thirdly, either me or my husband needs to join the local Rotary Club, but we need to be invited by the club to join. So, I think we need to make friends with the local veterinarian.

Lastly, I need to buy a goat, so I can sell a goat, which is a problem, as I have no fence, and no grass in my backyard at the moment. Hmmmm. Maybe I need to skip the goat.


Dumdad said...

Great post.

I worked for local newspapers some years ago and they were exactly as you've described them here despite being divided by the Atlantic. (If you're interested I did a four-part series on my first newspaper on my blog; click on journalism).

Whenever I holiday in the UK, I always buy the local rag to find out what really is going on. And to be amused and intrigued by all the little weird and wonderful stories.

Go on, buy the goat.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I love those newspapers too. The area of Alabama my grandparents lived in had wonderful ones. " Harold "Pump" Johnson had his three grandbabies from Oklahoma to his house for Sunday supper. Maisie made Bobbie Sues favorite red cake for dessert".

I think every girl needs a goat...

Jen said...

Where in Alabama did your family live? My husband used to work for a smal radio station in Athens, where they did this thing called the "Sick Call". He had to run the board for it, and this little old lady used to get on every day at noon and read off who was in the hospital, who had died, and what the specials were at the local IGA. You knew you were someone special in town when you made it on the "Sick Call" program.

Gurnal said...

Ah...rural life. You could probably find a goat pretty cheap.

By the way...being from South Carolina, the nickname of Fritz Hollings' wife "Peatsy" always stood out with me.

I'm just sayin'...

twodrunkenminers said...

I've always been fond of the nickname "wheelbarrow," though I'm unclear what one would have to do to earn that name...

taqdeer said...

Hi Jen :)

That really sounds like a cozy town :)

A nice nickname, hmmm..

'wireless' :)


Flutterbot said...

Hello Miss,

I tagged you my very first meme that I initiated! woo!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Jen, you have to get a goat.

It's the perfect way in with the veterinarian. You could even go and speak to him/her about where you can get a good goat from, as obviously you want one that is healthy and of good pedigree, (do goats have pedigrees?)

Then you could be Jen "goat lady" Jones.

N.b. If Jones is your really surname I promise I am not a stalker.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

My family lived in the general area of Gadsden/Albertville. Northeast Alabama. I don't remember ever once seeing a goat there. They did have something a little like the Sick Call. That way people knew who to bring food to.