29 NOV 04: SOME HELP YOU ARE
Sunday was a day of celebration for one Columbus family. A missing son was recovered, after walking away and disappearing on Thanksgiving. I know you're supposed to get out and exercise after the holiday dinner, but this is going too
Billy Hardin is mentally disabled, and relatives say the 34-year-old has the mind of a four-year-old. He walked away from his Manchester Expressway-area home, and somehow wound up 25 miles away in the woods at Fort Benning. A sergeant found him there - and resisted the urge to sign him up for basic training.
Even with his return, Billy Hardin's family was a bit upset Sunday. For one thing, relatives claimed Columbus Police seemed uninterested in handling their "missing person" report -- which probably matches them with the half the employees at busy shopping centers over the weekend.
The family of Billy Hardin wanted an alert issued for several area counties - but relatives say Columbus Police never spread the word about his disappearance. But keep in mind, it WAS Thanksgiving weekend. I know from experience some law enforcement offices don't like to pick up the phone even on a typical weekend.
The family of Billy Hardin also is upset with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, because at one point in the search it indicated he was dead outside town. If it's any comfort to the Hardin family -- I've been skeptical about the paper's daily horoscopes for a long time....
I can relate in a personal way to what the Hardin family endured. My younger brother has been in an institution in Kansas for more than 35 years. We always called Donnie mentally retarded - this is, until people who didn't know about him started telling us we were insensitive with our language.
Donnie proved so difficult to handle at home that when I was eight years old, my parents decided to put him in the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka. He's lived far longer than anyone in our family expected. And he can hold a ball so tightly, he'd probably fumble less often than Warrick Dunn of the Falcons.
Donnie probably couldn't walk away 25 miles, as Billy Hardin did. He's done well in his life to walk at all. It's a mutual thrill when I can visit him, and push his wheelchair downhill outside his dorm. Of course, this is Kansas -- where a steep hill is hard to find....
Now for other things we spotted on a sunny Sunday:
+ The "Eternal Flame" outside the Government Center was aglow again, after we noted it was out on Saturday. Wouldn't it be strange if a firefighting crew lit up that memorial again?
+ Cascade Hills Church held its annual "Christmas Spectacular" at the Columbus Civic Center, featuring what the church called "former supermodel Kim Alexis." Excuse me - but when does a supermodel become "former?" Does she become simply a model again? Or is this some kind of negative statement about her appearance?
+ The Atlanta Falcons scored in the last two minutes to knock off New Orleans 24-21. Saints owner Thomas Benson said one week earlier his players played "like a high school team" - which means they showed up at the Georgia Dome about 24 hours too late to take on LaGrange.
(Fox play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton was off-form at times Sunday. He declared the Saints in front 13-0 by mistake, and said kicker John Carney "is used to kicking indoors...." Carney kicked most of his N.F.L. career in San Diego - where they only go inside for sports because the hockey ice might melt.)
+ Instant Message to the Publix store at Cross-Country Plaza: Did you mean to hang those holiday banners so low? Some Riverdragons basketball player is going to bump his head on them, and sue you.
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: We're having trouble going online with our home computer, so we may have to miss a day or two for repairs....)
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