If you want to groan, gripe and frown, there’s plenty to provoke you. But if you want reasons to smile, look around. Sitting at my desk at The Oglethorpe Echo, I penciled a few things that make me smile:
§ Listening to the bell in the stately courthouse clocktower chime the time, I catch myself counting and smiling.
§ *The fresh air, as I walk to the Lexington post office, is uplifting. Postmaster Lincoln Lindsey blends conversation with assistance. Almost always, I leave with a new thought that makes me smile.
§ From 121 E. Main St., I can walk to Dr. Robert Pitts’ office. Strolling in and getting a same-day appointment, these days, is a godsend. We are fortunate that Dr. Pitts, ENT, and his staff chose our community. They make me smile.
§ Stepping across to the Rowdy Rooster is a way to feel warmth on a chilly Saturday. The friendly atmosphere and banter are downhome. And the good food makes me smile, too.
§ When I see the block of tired and empty brick buildings around the courthouse, it makes me sad. But knowing—sooner rather than later, I hope—a creative solution will emerge, I believe we’ll all smile.
§ My favorite knife slipped out of my pocket. After 30 minutes with a roll-around magnet in the mule barn, no luck. Then one day, on my walk to the post office, I popped into Community Cigar. I didn’t walk out smoking. With Ethan’s help, I left smiling with an identical Case replacement. And if I find the lost pocketknife, I will really smile.
§ Listening to bluegrass music at G Brand BBQ on Thursday night makes good food taste even better. The camaraderie of Charlie Sneads, Dennis Helmreich and their musician buddies is fun to watch. And if you pay attention to Dennis singing and strumming his mandolin—with his ear-to-ear smile—the gregarious attorney will make you smile, too.
§ When I stop by Oglethorpe Feed and Hardware Supply, I come away with more than farm supplies. Danny Sanders, often in overalls, is a jovial proprietor. He has a funny story for every occasion. I drive away smiling.
§ Our rural broadband won’t let you smile much. But if the internet is working, my early-morning routine includes reading The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on my iPad. But on certain days, you can buy the real paper at Crawford’s Peach Express. When I enter, I expect to overhear clerk BeeBee Drake chirp, “Don’t be a Negative Nancy—be a Jubilant Judy.” I always exit with my AJC and smiling.
§ Wednesday is Greater Georgia Printers Day. I get a thrill seeing The Echo roll off the press. At the Crawford plant, I’ve made a host of new friends: Bobby, Kevin, Melissa, Crystal, Nicole, Michael, Connie, Mathew and more. Everyone is eager to please. That makes me smile.
§ While waiting on the loading dock, I visit with David Norman. He’s an electrical wizard. His customers won’t let him retire. And he still finds time to drive a weekly 85-mile loop to deliver The Echo. Just as Danny does, David has a storehouse of stories that are always punctuated with a smile.
§ Watching UGA’s Grady College reporters comb the county for news and photos makes me smile. And witnessing the stream of volunteers who unselfishly help The Echo makes me smile.
You get the idea.
Yep, I could make a much longer list. But what really makes me grin is the appreciation that you—our readers and advertisers—have expressed for the new life breathed into your 148-year-old newspaper.
Thank you, Oglethorpe County.