10 APR 11: Cross Over Into Campground
The good news is that I found my way to and from West Point Lake this year without any major problems. The bad news is that a couple of outside factors almost did me in - and for the first time in my life, I found myself praying that officials in Washington would allow me to attend a worship service.
For the third year in a row, the church group I attend held a weekend camp-out at West Point Lake. Trouble is, the leaders reserved space at Holiday Campground - an area managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The way some fellow church members complain about the federal government, they must have overlooked this little detail....
I wondered if West Point Lake's parks might be affected by a partial federal government shutdown. Then WRBL confirmed it Friday evening -- Army Corps of Engineers facilities would close. But my church group already had a couple of dozen people at the campground. Thankfully, most of the strongest gun advocates didn't make the trip.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I didn't know if there would be an afternoon worship service at West Point Lake or not. I turn off my television Friday evenings for the Sabbath, and only turn it on for weather emergencies. And if the federal government really did shut down, I probably wouldn't notice until collection agents asked why I hadn't mailed bill payments.
(No, I did NOT join the campers for the entire weekend - only driving to Troup County for the day. I inherited a futon from a former roommate years ago. But I don't own a tent - and told friends for years my idea of "camping" was a Holiday Inn.)
After a morning stroll in the neighborhood, I went to my computer to see if the presiding elder had sent a message calling off the worship service. Only then did I learn another one-week federal budget deal had been reached Friday night. So did my prayers make the difference - or did too many soldiers threaten to stage a mutiny if they didn't get paid?
With Plan A for Saturday restored, I loaded the car and drove toward West Point Lake - but a tempting decision awaited me in LaGrange. A colleague told me Friday about a new bypass around the city which would save me time. I found it, and decided to turn onto it - even though the "road closed" signs dominated the westbound lane by a two-to-one margin.
The new Pegasus Parkway takes its name from the logo for ExxonMobil - but my colleague apparently didn't realize it isn't finished yet. When I saw a second "dead end" sign, I decided the road was right and the tipster was wrong.
A second delay occurred on Georgia Highway 109, which connects LaGrange with West Point Lake and Chambers County. One section had only one lane open, because a work crew was paving the highway. On a Saturday afternoon? In spring? Was this team expecting a cutoff of state road funding, too?
The delay only lasted a few minutes, and the rest of the trip went smoothly. The woman who gave me a three-dollar parking pass for Holiday Campground was happy a settlement in Washington occurred. "We would have been closed," she told me, "and had everyone out by Sunday noon." So there still would have been a worship service -- only without enough cable for speakers to reach me at the entry gate.
My church group seemed a bit oblivious to how the drama in Washington affected them -- even though a couple of men took laptop computers and "smart phones" to West Point Lake. If you're taking a laptop to a weekend camp-out, is this a sign of addiction?
We'll see if the budget tension persuades my church group to change its plans next year - perhaps to reserve a private campground at West Point Lake or state park spot, instead of an Army Corps of Engineers location. In the meantime, there's good reason for soul-searching. This group has taught for decades when worship services stopped in the U.S., Catholics from Europe would be behind it.
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SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Thursday's pronouncement of peace in Phenix City has at least one reader skeptical....
The only reason Jimmy Wetzel is playing nice (for a change) and "not letting sugar melt in his mouth" as the old folk used to say is...next year is election year and he plans to run for Mayor! He's got to say what he thinks the citizens want to hear and besides Mr. Lowe is African-American and he's got to get back on their good side to obtain votes across the racial lines also. Wetzel's "money man" backer is a man with a shady reputation and that's fact not fiction. If elected, he'll be back to his ways of "change" again, but not for the good I am afraid. Oh those politics and their strange bedfellows. I'll take bedbugs instead, at least you can fumigate them!
This alleged mayoral campaign was news to me, so I called Jimmy Wetzel -- but a message left Friday afternoon was NOT returned by Saturday night. I didn't tell him all the details of this e-mail, but I'm wondering if Wetzel's "money man" is Rep. Lesley Vance - the man responsible for that city council raise.
Our next reader noticed a free plug for a Columbus business at an unlikely place:
I was watching Animal Planet on Thursday and the show rescued an injured white duck..When they got him back to the shelter and a vet treated his wound they were trying to think of a name for him..One attendant suggested Donald,they all agreed that was too common..Then one suggested AFLAC..So,AFLAC got some free air time on a much watched TV cable channel..
As if Aflac needs free air time these days? The in-person search for a new duck voice has covered five U.S. cities, and even gained a mention in The New York Times. Put that newspaper together with a Twitter feed mentioning a birthday cake for Buddha, and it seems this duck flies far to the left.
The New York Times article claimed the new voice of the Aflac duck will be paid a six-figure salary. Well, that's certainly not chicken feed....
Our last message is from someone who thought we'd appreciate college basketball humor:
I saw Jay Leno last night and he commented on the Kentucky vs Butler game that he hadn't seen shooting that bad since Dick Cheney went hunting.
Huh?! Did the teams shoot so badly that men's national champion Connecticut is hiding its real identity?
When I wrote LaughLine for a national audience about ten years ago, I considered Jay Leno my unofficial competition. My older brother said he'd hear my online jokes from the morning on The Tonight Show that night. If only Leno paid me for them, the way he supposedly did for others....
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