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Sunday, October 2, 2022
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HomeOpinionColumnIf you give a reporter 20 bucks...

If you give a reporter 20 bucks…

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

On Friday I went into Grayson. I had every intention of setting up and working at the library, but then, things happened. First I got distracted by the microfiche collection (you will be hearing more about that later), then I had to run out to an appointment. I planned to come back and work there afterward, but I was hungry. So, I decided to go set up at Huddle House for a minute, have some pancakes, and work on some writing.

Along the way I stopped for gas, and that’s when something interesting happened. After fueling up, and getting back into my car, I heard someone tap on my window. Standing there was an attractive woman in a floral print sundress, smiling broadly as I rolled down the window. Noting the puzzled look on my face she apologized and said, “This is for you!” as she shoved a crumpled twenty-dollar bill into my hand.

As I tried to hand it back she refused, saying, “Something told me to give it to you.”

“I really don’t need it,” I said. “I’m doing ok. You should give it to someone who really needs it.”
“You can do that,” she said. “I was supposed to give it to you. You pass it on.”

So, I guess that’s what I’m going to do.

If I don’t run into someone directly who has a need, I’ll put it in a donation bucket next time someone takes a load of supplies down to flood relief.

It was an interesting experience immediately, though. I found myself looking more closely at other folks around me.

You know the joke about a kid with a dollar “burning a hole in their pocket?” That was me. I wanted to get rid of this hot potato twenty right away, but I couldn’t just spend it. I couldn’t keep it. It needed to go to the right person.
I wonder if that’s how the smiling lady felt? If someone handed it to her and – like a hot potato – she needed to hand it off? If so, what made her choose me?

I hope, when I handed it off to someone else, I made the correct choice. Funny, the weight of twenty little dollars.

Microfiche!

On to the microfiche! Some of you may have noticed that we haven’t done any Uncle Jack’s columns for a while. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, we lost our sponsor for the content when Sally’s Flowers closed. We don’t need a sponsor to run historical columns, but knowing someone appreciate the idea enough to sponsor it (especially in our fledgling days) was a powerful motivator to make sure it was a priority. Without that, and with everything else I have to do on a daily basis, it’s easy to let this type of content slide when time gets tight. Anything that isn’t as time sensitive as a city council meeting or arrest reports is easier to push to the back burner.

Evergreen is the term we use for that type of content. Too often, though, instead of being always fresh, it starts to turn into the story equivalent of a zucchini shoved to the back of a crisper. Forgotten, until there’s really nothing left to work with.

I still had stuff to work with for Uncle Jack. There are still plenty of Jack Fultz’s scrapbooks left. But they don’t always give you the full picture. They’re articles that were interesting to Fultz. And, sure, they’re interesting to us too. Or at least to me. But sometimes I want to see more. Now I know that the public library has those old copies of the Carter County Herald on microfiche.

Now, we need to get the microfiche machine fixed!

If you’re a lover of local history, I encourage you to reach out to our librarians. See how you can help fund the library, so we can get things like our microfiche machine working again. These papers, that I was convinced were lost to history and rising flood waters over the years, are preserved! That’s exciting, and wonderful news.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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