Why does Augusta Commission member Grady Smith never go Christmas shopping for his wife with another person? What do many Augusta commissioners say they’d like to have for Christmas if they could have anything they want politically? Which commissioner doesn’t like to go to Christmas parties and why? Which commissioner was born on Christmas Day? And who had a Christmas party last week and didn’t invite you?
City Ink can answer all of those questions except the last one because we didn’t get invited either, though we were invited to the Harrisburg Neighborhood drop-in and a 50th wedding anniversary party.
WHO IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR? Smith never goes Christmas shopping with another person because he was out with a contractor one evening and after a little Christmas cheer, the contractor suggested they go Christmas shopping. They went to the mall, and after wandering around for awhile, ended up at Victoria’s Secret. The contractor found something he thought would look good on his wife, so Smith said he’d take one too. When the saleslady asked him what size his wife was, he made a guess and ended up with a super petite.
“That wasn’t a very good Christmas,” Smith said.
It could have been worse, though: “What if I’d bought extra large?”
Now, Smith waits until 4 p.m. Christmas Eve to shop for his wife.
“I’ll buy what I have to buy, and I won’t ask anybody anything,” he said. “I say, ‘I’ll take two of these and two of those in different sizes because no matter what I buy she’s going to take it back.’”
ALL HE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS IS HIS TWO FRONT TEETH: When asked what he’d like for Christmas if he could have anything he wanted, Smith said, “bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, blond, brunette, redhead …”
What he said he’d like politically was for the commissioners to get along and do what’s best for Richmond County.
“And I feel like if we could get rid of two black commissioners and two white commissioners and replace them with four Hooters girls of any color, I could get along with the four Hooters girls,” he said.
I asked Smith whether he’d been to any Christmas parties, and he said he was leery of them.
“You know green is the only color I care about, but the color I fear the most is blue,” he said. “Blue lights coming up behind me.”
I asked whether he had Sheriff Ronnie Strength on speed dial, and he said if you call Strength after 7 p.m. you get a voice message that says, “If you’re calling me about the DUI you’re about to get, hang up and call (706) 821-1080 or (706) 821-1085, which is also Dial A Prayer.”
GREEDY GRINCH STEALING CHRISTMAS: Commissioner J.R. Hatney is leery of Christmas parties, too. He’s not against them. He just doesn’t go.
“I’m not against Christmas parties, but I’ve never been to one when somebody didn’t get drunk and act stupid,” he said. “You can drink all you want to, but I don’t have to sit there and watch you.”
What Hatney would like most for Christmas politically is “true justice and fairness for all.”
“That would bring me joy,” he said.
For himself, he doesn’t want anything.
“I don’t live for me,” he said. “I live for other folks. The people are suffering now more than any time in history, not because of a shortage of resources but because of greed.”
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR: District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken said he doesn’t need anything for Christmas this year but will need a new job in 2013 because Olin Corp., where he works, will pull the plug on its mercury-based process in Augusta in October.
“I’ll either be working at another plant, be a full-time commissioner or be Mr. Mom,” he said.
His Christmas political wish is to see greater harmony among the commissioners.
MIGHT AS WELL WISH BIG: Commissioner Bill Lockett said he wishes for another happy birthday Christmas Day, and his No. 1 wish is that the commission would make a New Year’s resolution to become a cohesive group and conduct the people’s business in accordance with existing law, always remembering they represent all of the people.
Commissioner Jerry Brigham also wants commissioners to get along better next year than this year.
“We seem to be a lot like Congress,” he said. “We don’t seem to have a whole lot of stuff we’re willing to compromise on.”
DON’T CRY FOR ME: The best Christmas present anyone could give Commissioner Joe Jackson would be a trip to Argentina to hunt doves or to the Great Barrier Reef to scuba dive.
Politically, he would like commissioners to really look at the city charter and quit micromanaging everything.
“And think about all the taxpayers, not just the ones in their district,” he said.
FROM DIFFERENT POLES: Richmond County Democratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum doesn’t celebrate Christmas. But for Hannukah, he wishes for President Obama’s re-election.
Former Richmond County Republican Party Chairman Dave Barbee wants a guarantee of the end of the Obama administration and to hear Strength announce he’s going to run for sheriff again next year.
Barbee attended the sheriff department’s annual Christmas luncheon Thursday and said that was the main topic of conversation. Everybody was asking Strength to run for one more term.
ONE STONE, ONE VOTE: I regret missing that party because I’d planned to ask John Hardin, who is supposed to know everything about Glascock County, whether there’s any truth to a story my plumber Lewis Harbeson told about late Glascock County Sheriff James English.
According to Lewis, the sheriff and one of his deputies were out in a cemetery copying names from headstones to be used in the upcoming election. After they’d covered half the cemetery, the deputy said, “Sheriff, don’t you think we’ve got enough names now?”
English drew himself up and said, “Now look here, deputy. The people on that side of the cemetery have just as much right to vote as the ones on this side.”
CLEAVING TO EACH OTHER: Jane “Cleaver” Howington (no relation to June Cleaver) and her husband, Jerry, were honored Saturday with a 50th wedding anniversary party put on by their sons, Jay and Jed, and their wives Cori and Heather.
Jane, you will recall, received her nickname after Jerry convinced her she had Alzheimer’s disease. Subsequent testing at Georgia Health Sciences University indicated Jerry was out of his mind, not her. Afterward. she was moved to observe that somebody was going to find Jerry someday with a cleaver in his skull.
Congratulations to the happy couple.
NAME DROPPING FROM THE DROP-IN: The Harrisburg party was held at District 1 Augusta Commission candidate Butch Palmer’s newly opened beauty salon, Salon 606, on Crawford Avenue. Also hosting was former mayoral candidate Lori Davis.
Among the guests were Aitken; Ed Presnell; Dr. Bill and Sherry Hammond; Rusty Moulton, owner of Redfire Media; Keith Bailey, a Crawford Avenue resident and artist who designs mascot costumes for sports teams all over the world; Bill Goodwin; Bette Glasscock; and Edie Siegler.
Guests received bottles of Salon 606’s Ghetto Glorious Crowning Glory conditioner and lip gloss as favors.