Moultrie Observer

Opinion

January 23, 2013

It's so nice to hear from you all

MOULTRIE — One of the great pleasures in writing a newspaper column is hearing from readers around the area and even from around the country. And having written thousands of columns in my career, I have come to realize via feedback that there is a lot more that binds us in this country than separates us.

And as I write this, I’m thinking about a country song I heard on the radio this morning where the singer notes that we don’t all know all the verses to “Amazing Grace” or “Ring of Fire” and we don’t all have shotguns in our trucks or wear baseball caps, but in essence we share enough to make us one.

One day I got an email from a reader in Ohio who said, “I think we went to different schools together.”

So in just a few short words there, he says a lot. The farm he grew up on was a long way from the one I grew up on, but chicken poop between your toes is the same feeling no matter the geography and the climate.

One fellow said he didn’t believe I was old enough to know about some of the things I write about. I take that as a compliment. But yes, there’s a crosscut saw hanging over my mantel and there’s a double tree hanging just under it. And I didn’t get them at an antique shop.

As for the saw, I can still hear my dad telling me, “Pull! Don’t push.”

As for the double tree, we had a pair of gray mules named Pete and Pet. When we got our first tractor, a one-row Super A Farmall, dad sold Pet and kept Pete. I loaded many sleds of tobacco behind old Pete. When Pete died, my daddy cried. And every time I hear that old song by Walter Brennan titled “That Old Mule Rivers and Me,” I think of my dad and get misty eyed.

And yes, I recall the first day they brought a peanut shaker to our farm. I can take you to the exact spot where it was put to use. I knew that day there was a God. And I felt like he must wear Red Camel overalls.

I don’t have enough space here to explain “tom walkers” but they involved gallon syrup cans and bailing wire. I can tell you about eating salt fish and cane syrup along with some fried sweet potatoes. I know how to tie in a creek seine and how to string a gill net.

Of course not all I write about involves reminiscing. Some of it is just about regular, ordinary, everyday stuff that both Republicans and Democrats experience ... things like kidney stones, stupid dreams, enjoying Bigfoot stories and debating whether mullet should be a meal or bait.

I think it’s important that we ponder ordinary, regular stuff because most of  us are regular and ordinary people. We buy our oil in quarts, we clip coupons and we share our bologna sandwich with our dog. Most likely, we are more concerned about our utility bill than whether Beyonce lip synched the National Anthem.

Many of us remember baseball before steroids and back before players were paid more than the treasuries of most Third World countries. And the other day when Stan Musial died, we felt a great loss. He wasn’t called “The Man” for nothing. He was a class act, the kind we aspire that our children become.

The people I hear from are not digging caves on their property and storing up for Armageddon. They are not trying to catch a ride on a comet to another galaxy. They are hard working folks who believe that our nation will overcome much of the lunacy that they have witnessed. They are real and though disappointed at times, they are steady at the helm. When the rhinestones and glitter fall off, they are the fabric beneath it all that keeps us warm and secure.

It’s so good to hear from you!

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. Email: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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