Sunday, July 23, 2006


Today we begin the next big step toward the launch of Power Frisbee of Georgia. It's the first "Free Frisbee Sunday," showing off our new game in cities around the state. Hopefully people won't misunderstand, and think we're serving free sundaes ON a frisbee.

The Free Frisbee Sunday tour will mean a lot of driving - but at least I had a warmup for it last weekend. I went to our church congregation's annual picnic in Chambers County, about five miles northwest of LaFayette. It was a typical Sunday morning in the South, with few cars on the road because many people were in church -- so I knew where to pull over if trouble developed.

Our Columbus congregation has its annual picnic in Chambers County because a Local Elder has a nice home there, complete with a below-ground swimming pool. So we save money on renting a pavilion in a park - choosing instead to spend it instead on gasoline, driving 75 minutes one-way into the countryside.

Someone asked the Local Elder at our picnic this year how much land he owned - and I think he said nine acres. If he said 90, he's hiding the acreage well - with so many trees he probably could hide the sins of two congregations, along with ours.

Work commitments prevented me from attending the church picnic last year -- but longtime blog readers may recall our last trip two years ago [29 Jun 04]. Some members pulled out guns after lunch and engaged in target shooting in the Local Elder's backyard. I'm still wondering if National Rifle Association chapters do this at their picnics and cookouts....

The shooting session at the 2004 picnic led to this famous quote from a co-worker: "You attend a redneck church, don't you?" I tended to agree with him - but last year, church members told me last year the Pastor told gun-lovers to tone things down. In other words, keep the fire for the large rented grill.

Since I don't own a gun, I didn't pack one for this year's picnic. I carried two-liter bottles of soda and a disc for showing off Power Frisbee. But around the LaFayette city limits, I realized I'd forgotten ear plugs for the shooting. Maybe bottle caps from the soda would cover me a little....

But amazingly, I never saw anyone bring out a gun during about five hours I spent at this year's church picnic. Perhaps they were dissuaded by the fact that the Local Elder allowed big weeds to grow on a large open area where people had fired shots in the past -- but then again, that shouldn't stop real hunters, should it?

Instead, this year's big drama at the church picnic came during the cooking of lunch. A lot of smoke and flames developed on the grill at one point - making me thankful that the cooking team consisted of married men, so I wouldn't be blamed for any of it.

And of course, the "chicken flambee" was prepared on one of the hottest days of the summer. I was prepared to quote the Stevie Wonder album title, "Hotter Than July" - except of course, it WAS July....

After the quick grease fire, the grilled chicken seemed to cook normally - and the two pieces I ate didn't turn out all that black. I should note here our congregation is NOT one of those racially-separated groups. We eat both white and dark meat.

A surprise appearance was made at the church picnic by a member from Troup County who's on kidney dialysis. She's on what doctors say is a five-year waiting list for a kidney transplant - which to me takes the Biblical phrase "patience is a virtue" to quite an extreme.

(But this woman's biggest problem at the picnic was her left arm, which was quite swollen from medical needles. Why the doctors somehow think her kidney area is there, I have no idea....)

As I mentioned, the church picnic occurred on one of the hottest days of the summer. Several men chose to stay against a wall in the shade as much as they could - which was surprising, because we never danced once.

(The hosts prepared for the heat, by purchasing a couple of strips for making watery mists. Yet for some reason, they didn't serve Sierra Mist drinks with it.)

All in all, this year's church picnic was worth the drive. We ate well. We had fun. And the frisbee I brought wound up being tossed around (and into) the swimming pool. That's not really how Power Frisbee works - but given today's rainy forecast for South Georgia, maybe I should reconsider that....

E-MAIL UPDATE: I had not noticed this news, but a blog reader did....

Spencer High's new principal jumped in feet first with his shuffle of coaches..Might be some more shuffling coming soon..He means to put Spencer back on the map and make all teachers,administrators and students accountable..

I'm sorry, but I'm not as impressed by this change. The Spencer baseball team hasn't made "adequate yearly progress" for a long time.

Now from the Green Wave to a lack of waves, as we check headlines from the weekend:

+ Chattahoochee River Keeper George Williams warned against swimming in the river for now, because low levels mean higher levels of bacteria. Swim in it?! Before Saturday night's rain, there were spots in the downtown area where I think you could walk across it without getting wet.

+ A drive downtown found the Burger King on Veterans Parkway has not merely been closed in the last week - it's been bulldozed. Did the thunderstorms cause that much damage? Or do they need a bigger downtown restaurant to handle that king mascot with the big head?

(First the downtown Krystal closed. Now Burger King is "closed for rebuild," as its sign says. If I didn't know better, I'd guess the Mafia was thinking Arby's.)

+ Columbus planning officials confessed it may take four years to widen Whittlesey Boulevard, between Veterans Parkway and Whitesville Road. For one thing, it'll take a long time to remove all the lines of traffic so construction can begin....

(Columbus city officials admit they've been surprised by how popular Columbus Park Crossing has been. Isn't it amazing - that people still like eating at The Olive Garden?)

+ Russell County authorities announced the discovery of a large methamphetamine lab in Hatchechubbee. A suspect reportedly was making meth by buying cold medicine by the case - and when you're doing that in the South during a heat wave with temperatures around 100 degrees F., that's a little bit suspicious.

+ A small plane crashed at the Rome, Georgia airport, as the pilot tried to show a woman a marriage proposal banner from her boyfriend. Thankfully, the couple survived - but I'd suggest keeping the candle-lighting at the wedding to a minimum.

+ The final weekend of "Midnight Basketball" was played at Shirley Winston Park, with the championship game starting at 9:00 p.m. I think I've finally figured this out - the organizers teach the players world geography, by playing games at midnight Central European Time.

+ Auburn University Interim President Ed Richardson promised new rules concerning "Directed Reading" courses. Among other things, they'll become more "academically rigorous." Of course, that could mean football players read two books a semester instead of one.

+ Instant Message to the Georgia Department of Revenue: I don't get it. How can the "Auburn Club" have a Georgia specialty license plate, while Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus does not? Is this the result of a lost Auburn-Georgia football bet or something?

COMING SOON: A downtown repair job which I hope the Streetscape crews aren't overlooking....

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