I’m referring to the responses I received after making this request via Facebook and e-mail:
“About a month ago, I took our 14-year-old yellow lab, Mickey, to McDuffie Animal Hospital to have his teeth cleaned, and Dr. Janet Echols found a tumor on the back of his tongue which turned out to be malignant melanoma. She was very sympathetic but didn’t give us any real hope for him. But after further consultation, she and Dr. David Ruehle referred us to Dr. Corrie Barker, a cancer specialist in Athens. We opted to try a vaccine that has been effective in treating malignant melanomas in some cases. It might eventually help Mickey but takes a few weeks for antibodies to build in his system. Meanwhile, the tumor began growing back fast, so Dr. Barker referred him to the University of Georgia Veterinary School where he underwent laser surgery this week to remove the re-growth and his tonsils.
“He had major separation anxiety being there and panted so hard, I was afraid he was going to drop dead of a heart attack or stroke, which I kept thinking still would be better than dying slowly of cancer – albeit ironic. The first night in Athens he ate part of the cardboard food bowl they put in his cage, which was highly unusual from their point of view as well as ours and caused quite a bit of consternation among the doctors and staff. But it didn’t cause any major damage that we know of. After the surgery, he was miserable, and we were too. But he’s getting better.
“In January, we’re taking him back for radiation treatments. He might not live long, and if he doesn’t, we’ll at least know we did everything we could to fight the terrible disease and give him a little more time.
“Why am I telling you this? Because I need your help writing City Ink this week. While I was traveling back and forth to Athens, I missed everything. So, I was thinking since Christmas is near, I would ask you for suggestions about what you would give some of Augusta’s public figures for Christmas. If the response is good, I will put the best ones in Sunday’s column, with attribution. If not, I’ll see you a week from Sunday.”
WHAT DO YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO CAN BUY WHAT THEY WANT WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY? Naomi Williams, the author and legendary English teacher who inspired so many Augusta students to achieve great things while striking terror in their hearts:
“Oh my dear! Only someone who loves dogs can sympathize, I have had two experiences with Athens. If anyone can save a life, you have gone to the right place. I would love to help you but I don’t know the city officials well enough. Besides, you know I am one of those liberal Democrats and like Obama. I don’t know if these items would fit anyone but consider a dunce cap, a Christmas card to Obama, slingshots, bottle of wine to commissioners to promote brotherly love, a shredder to Azziz to tidy up his office for Christmas, pacemaker to lower heart rates, flowers to anyone?
“These may fit somebody but as I say, I don’t know people. You can’t criticize the writing of your fellow workers. If there is anything else – article on holidays etc. let me know. I shall put Mickey on my prayer list. Naomi”
Patty Beck: “My list is just too long.
Anonymous: “I’d give Augusta a pedestrian bridge to Columbia County for the last few Augustans who haven’t moved there already; season tickets to GreenJackets’ games in their new North Augusta stadium for everyone except Augusta commissioners; brooms for owners of boarded-up downtown properties, so they can sweep Broad Street’s empty sidewalks.”
Former Mayor Bob Young: “I’d give Mayor Deke Copenhaver an Extreme Makeover – Endorsement Edition. He went on TV and endorsed Scott Peebles for sheriff and endorsed Matt Aitken for District 1 commissioner. And if we give one to the mayor, we’ve got to give one to Ronnie Strength, who went on TV and endorsed Scott Peebles and then Freddie Sanders. I’d give Fred Russell another coat of Teflon to help him survive the new commissioners.
“Commissioners could give the citizens of Augusta a Christmas gift by naming something for the hardworking taxpayers of this city. For example: a “Hardworking Taxpayer Road,” a “Hard-working Taxpayer Bridge” or a “Hard-working Taxpayer Fire Station.”
“The taxpayers have already given city government its gift by sending Marion Williams back to the commission.”
Attorney and former candidate for sheriff Freddie Sanders: “I’d give Ronnie Strength a little toy tractor for the one he didn’t get from the Democratic Party.”
Jill Peterson: “I’d give Richard Roundtree an empty scrapbook to fill with Augusta’s first and many complaints and criticisms of a sheriff. I’d give the commission and school board the gift of having their votes reported in the news. Deke probably needs more dog food from the 15th Street Kroger. Remember when Deke said he goes into the 15th Street Kroger? He said he buys dog food in there sometimes. It makes me wonder where he buys his people food and why not there.”
Adriene Thomas Goldman: “A muzzle for Marion Williams?”
Former school board member and commission candidate Kenny Echols: “Give them all common sense to do the right thing for Augusta.”
Robert McElmurray: “I’d give Joe Bowles a year-round bus pass for the continued outsourcing of APT to Mobility transit. I’d give Fred Russell directions to the nearest exit of the municipal building from the commission chambers. I’d give Margaret Woodard a broom and dustpan. I’d give Walter Sprouse a Starbucks gift card, and Paul Simon the Local Lobbyist of the Year award.”
Geneva Steele: “Hi, Sylvia. First of all, so sorry to hear about your dog. Our pets are our family and we love and take care of them as such. Hope he makes a full recovery. My prayers for him go up. That being said, this is what I’d give to our city officials for Christmas. I’d get a tiny box and inside I would put a note expressing my thankfulness to them for what they have or have not done for our city. The note would start like this: ‘I come not bearing gifts but etc.” My two sons (grown now) gave me a tiny box years ago (which I still have) and inside was a note that read. “Mom this box contains nothing but LOVE.” A kind word, a hug or even a smile goes way further than any gift you could give. Have a Merry Christmas.”
Anonymous: “I’d give Joe Bowles a copy of the movie Carbon Copy because he’s going to have to pull off what’s in the movie – change bodies with a black person to get elected mayor. And I’d give Sheriff-elect Richard Roundtree Viagra because if his track record is any indication, with all of his power, he’s not going to be able to perform without ‘better living through chemistry.’”
City Ink: A dumpster for every corner of downtown Augusta because in speaking against the Business Improvement District/Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative program at last week’s commission finance committee meeting, business owner Michael Walraven said the 2011 report said CADI workers removed one ton of trash and debris a week from a 30-block area downtown. In researching BIDs, Walraven said one in Louisville, Ky., reported removing one ton of trash and debris a week from a 102-block area with 11.9 miles of sidewalks, which must mean Augusta is three times as dirty as Louisville, Ky.
Anonymous: “I’d give Deke a membership in the volunteer deputy program Roundtree is going to start, so he can maintain law and order at commission meetings with Marion Williams being on there. I’d give Fred Russell a new calculator because he’s really going to have to count his votes to keep his job after the first of the year.
Andrea Shervette: “A big bag of coal for everyone!”