Livin’ it up

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 19, 2004

This has been a most gratifying week and it’s all because of my new-found friends and neighbors in Gates County.

Last week, in this column, I requested that my readers contact me if they had any comments or criticisms, or if they know of someone they believe merits a story in your hometown newspaper, the Gates County Index. I have been overwhelmed with calls, emails, and even met people at church on Sunday who said they had read the column.

I cannot thank you all enough because without you, there would be no Index. You are the focal point of every story in this newspaper. Whether you are a farmer, or a farmer’s wife, a doctor, lawyer, businessman, or the candlestick maker, this paper is generated with you in mind. It is therefore, my duty to let you know as efficiently as possible exactly what is going on in our county, who’s doing it, where it is being done and why you should attend or participate in each event.

I take that responsibility very seriously and it is with deep compassion and honesty that I sit before this keyboard to relate the who, what, where, when and how to you. I say this because I want you to understand the depth of my passion for providing you with the news of this wonderful place we call, so appropriately, Gates County. I say appropriately, because I see this rural setting as something close to the way that God intended the world to look like; verdant trees skimming a plane of shimmering blue sky laced with diaphanous silver clouds. Likewise, the row upon row of bright green tobacco with it’s sassy crown of white flowers, the thousands of rows of corn, the promise of a great &uot;goober&uot; crop and even the 16.80 acres of oats blowing in the breeze.

As for the response of the community; I went to lunch with the Index’s advertising representative, Tammy Perry, and as we sat in Byron’s eating, several people came into the restaurant.

Well, I’m here to tell you; Tammy Perry knows everyone in the county, or they know her. A native of Gates County, she is the epitome of the &uot;good neighbor policy&uot; that seems to be the code to go by here in the heartland of northeastern North Carolina. She is at once, as charming as butter melting over a steaming ear of Silver Queen and as quick witted as the Ginsu is sharp. People came and went in the store and almost everyone who entered had something to say to Tammy. Not only is she the ad rep for the Index, but she’s one of the finest advertisements the county’s got going for them. I was greatly impressed when she asked if we could ask God to bless our meal. She agreed with me that we should all take a stand for Jesus, be it public or private, saying grace and living a life that God would say is right and proper. And, think about it… I have the joy of working with such a great girl! Christians are sometimes hard to come by in the workplace and Tammy is a woman of character and integrity.

Good ol’ down home folks are the strength of this county and they are the reason that people like myself, aliens from Suffolk and surrounding areas, find all of the &uot;natives&uot; so unique. We just aren’t used to folks being so friendly.

As for myself, I am gratefully adapting to your kindness. As many of you stopped by the Index office in Gatesville to say hello, pay a bill, or to drop off notices of coming events. I was overwhelmed by phone calls and many of you sent emails to give me information on events and people in the county that you feel deserve a story. Of course, with our few pages each Wednesday, it will take time to get to every story, but rest assured, you will certainly read your information in the Index.

This week, I learned of a new pastor in town, Rev. Jay Helms and his story tells of a man who began his career life by saving the environment and now he’s into saving souls. He’s also on the front page of the paper.

In another story, you will read of Linda Daughtrey Eure, a member of the Gates County School Board, who has her own hat tree in the County Extension Service office.

Also, I hope that the story of one Yankee making it South to crash into our local grocery will bring a smile to you. Think about it… with all the stores in New York City, she came to our fair Gates County to make a scene! No one was hurt, so we can smile. Well… no one was hurt except for wounded pride, anyway.

I’m betting that students across the county will want to hide this week’s edition since it also announces they will return to school Aug. 3. However, they shouldn’t trash the paper until they pull out their list of supplies they’ll need for the new school year.

Along with all the news of who and when, you can also look for information on how to nominate your favorite doctor for an award, and how to support the Gates County Athletic Boosters.

And, least we forget – those public notices. Like the birth announcement for a new arrival in the Riddick family and the land transfers. There are many others, so scan the paper closely, and don’t forget; if you have an event, know of someone interesting with a neat hobby or someone retiring after years of service, give me a call at 357-0960, or email me at Since I’m your neighbor, give me a call at home at 357-1097.