Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

New Georgia license plates not a hit with everyone

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Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it costs them.

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– John Updike

“Those are pumpkins,” I told my wife.

We were in the car, stopped at a light, and the vehicle in front of us (an SUV actually, sitting quite high) had one of the new Georgia license plates.

“No, they’re peaches,” she said in a familiar tone of correction.

“They look like pumpkins,” I insisted. “Look at the proportion with the tree on the plate ... and they’re on the ground, too. Those have to be pumpkins.”

“No,” she said. “They’re peaches. Georgia is the Peach State. It’s the new tag.”

We were silent a few seconds and I said, “I don’t like it.”

“Too bad,” she said. “They held a contest and that’s what got the most votes.”

The light changed and I moved on, silently cursing democracy.

SQUIRREL MENACE: Dennis Patterson shares my irritation with squirrels. He writes “Haven’t had pecans from my trees in seven years! Found out how to take care of varmints ... Crosman BB gun! If I don’t hit, I at least scare them to death!”

Dennis, I find I am more accurate with a baseball or softball. About a decade ago, I surprised a big squirrel making a mess on the deck bird feeder. He froze with a sort of squirrel-in-the-headlights stare as I sprang out the back door and pegged a throw right into his furry chest.

The impact carried him off the deck and out into the yard. I ran to deck railing and looked down ... and saw him happily scampering across the yard to the nearest tree.

He stayed away the rest of the season.

WHO SAID WHAT? I attributed a quotation in Tuesday’s column: “We are not retreating – we are advancing in another direction.” to the old Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Bill Lee was kind enough to point out, however, it was more likely said by Gen. Oliver P. Smith, the heroic Marine commander at the Chosin Reservoir fighting during the Korean War.

I think he is right and I was wrong.

Although many anthologies and even a 2009 Sarah Palin speech credit MacArthur, Smith’s biographers credit him. “In a widely circulated quotation that earned him great acclaim at home, he defiantly replied: ‘We are not retreating, we are just advancing in a different direction.’ ”

Gen. Smith, the honor is yours.

TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one shared by Billy Cooper, of North Augusta.

A couple had an anniversary approaching so the husband asked his wife what she wanted for her anniversary.

“A divorce!” she answered sharply.

“Well,” he said, “I hadn’t planned on spending that much.”


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