In an interview at the state Capitol during his first term as state representative in 2003, he said he had a special concern for the elderly, perhaps because he was reared by his grandmother in Edgefield County, S.C., which he called “a tremendous blessing” because of the wisdom she imparted that had benefitted him to that day.
“And I guess the thing I really get emotional about is that she said, ‘Oftentimes, blessings that is bestowed on us is not destined for us. It’s destined for someone else. We’re just used as a conduit to provide blessings for those persons that can’t necessarily help themselves.’
“That philosophy is one that I’ve taken into the early campaign and to my service here at the state House in that I want to be a voice and a representative for the people of Richmond County of the district I represent.”
And he was, as evidenced by the great sorrow here and throughout the state at his passing.
292 AND COUNTING: Gov. Nathan Deal appointed 41 more Georgians to boards last month, bringing the total for the year to 292, of which only one is from Augusta. And that was a re-appointment. Odds are he hits 325 before the end of Dog Days.
ALMOST A SHOT IN THE DARK: Ernie, who most of you know by now is my husband, learned recently that his oxygen intake drops off considerably while he sleeps. His cardiologist ordered a sleep study to get more data. So, Wednesday night off he went for a sleepover, which I’ll let him tell you about in his own words:
“Their name is a misnomer. They call it a sleep lab. Well, the last thing you’re going to do in there is sleep. At least peacefully. They’re very nice and very professional and wonderful people, and they do a great job. But it’s not a sleep lab. It’s an anti-sleep lab.
“So I was sitting on the bed in the little ‘sleeping’ room checking fantasy baseball scores on my phone when the technician came in and identified me and said, ‘I’m going to be your technician.’ And I said, ‘That’s just great.’ And she said, ‘I’ll be right back. You change into your sleep clothes.’ And I just threw my arms up because I was in my sleep clothes. I had a T-shirt on and a pair of shorts. And I said, ‘This is it.’ And she said, ‘Well, OK then. I’ll be back in about 10 minutes,’ which I assumed she had preordained was the time to change into sleep clothes even though I didn’t need to change into sleep clothes and had told her so.
“So I stretched out on the very comfortable bed and continued checking my scores, and sure enough in about 10 minutes she popped back in and told me to sit in a chair. And she started sticking all sorts of stuff all over me. And when she got through I looked like a character from the Sopranos who had had a bowl of spaghetti poured over him.
“And she said, ‘Get up and follow me.’ Well, hell. What choice did I have? I was wired to her with 75 feet of wire. I reckon I was going to follow her or scream a lot when it all pulled off. So I followed her around and got back into the bed, and she said, ‘You can’t have your pillow like that because it interferes with my signals.’ So I said, ‘Well, OK then.’ And she moved my pillow from the position I had it in and fixed it the way she wanted it and said, ‘How does that feel?’ And I said, ‘Just fine.’ Of course, I was a little insincere since the way I had had it was the way I wanted it, and the way she put it was the way she wanted it.
“So she turned and walked toward the door and said, ‘Do you want the TV on?’ I was watching the Braves game at the time. They were ahead 9 to nothing, which I knew might help me go to sleep since – 9 to nothing – that’s a pretty good lead halfway through the game. And I said, ‘Leave it on.’ And she said, ‘How about the fan?’ And I said, ‘I love the fan. You turn the fan off, I’m leaving.’ She laughed and turned the light off and said, ‘See you in the morning,’ and closed the door.
“So I lay there and scratched where she’d put all this stuff over me, and I tried to go to sleep. An hour and a half, I’m thinking, conservatively, it took me.
“I had planned to go to sleep. I woke up early. I didn’t take a nap. All day, I said, ‘I’ve got to go to sleep.’ I took a Valium. I said, ‘I know this is not going to be good.’ So by the time I got in bed I was fairly calm. I said, ‘Well, I can’t read. I can’t put my glasses on. I’ve got these wires all over my ears. I can’t do anything. All I can do is lay here in this one position they put me in.’ So I said, ‘I’ll just lay here, and see what happens.’ And I went to sleep. And I hated every second of it. My legs hurt. I had to sleep on my back, which I don’t do except when I prepare to snore for my wife, which is why I’m here to begin with. So I lay there. They had cameras on me. Everything I did, they monitored. She said she had a microphone and if I started snoring, she’d hear it. I said, ‘If I start snoring, everybody in this building will hear it without a microphone.’
“So, suddenly, the door opened, the lights came on, and I thought I was in San Antonio at Lackland. I thought it was 1966. And this great voice said, ‘Time to get up!’ I asked, ‘What time is it?’ And she said sweetly, ‘5 o’clock.’ And I said, ‘5 o’clock. What are we going to do?’ She said she was going to take the wires off of me and I was going to wash up and go home.
“I said, ‘Oh boy, I’m going to be welcomed.’ And sure enough I was. I came in the back door trying not to make noise but I must have because my wife was standing there in the dark with a pistol saying, ‘Who is it?’’
“ ‘It’s OK. It’s me,’ I said. “She said I didn’t know how close I’d come to dying.
“‘I thought this was what all this was about,’ I said. ‘I knew I was close to dying. This was supposed to fix it. I come back home and almost get killed.’
“The moral of this story is: Snoring can kill you.”