Sunday, January 31, 2010

Save the Coosa River Basin!

The Etowah Darter (from the CRBI website)

Please consider joining the Coosa River Basin Initiative for 2010. Dues are $35. The mission of this wonderful grass-roots environmental organization is to preserve and protect the Coosa River watershed, so vital to the health, economy, recreation, and wildlife of all of Northwest Georgia. Immediate and important battles coming up in the new year include:

• protecting our watershed and others from the transfer of millions of addition gallons per day to satisfy that leaky wasteful behemoth Atlanta that sucks so much already from Lake Lanier and the little Chattahoochee daily. Sign the No Water Grabs petition!
• stopping overdevelopment in the floodplain of the Coosa, the Etowah, and the Oostanaula, including the incredible plan for the City of Rome to gift 60 wetland acres of our central park in the very heart of Rome to developers for a song, allowing the developers to fill the duck pond and wetland with dirt and erect yet another strip shopping center within a mile of what must surely be acres of unoccupied retail, office, and commercial space.

I am a newly elected member of the board of directors of CRBI and I'd love to feel that I had a part in drumming up some more help. If we do not let our city, county, and state leaders know that we oppose these unhealthy, and really unwise policies, our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will miss out on having this wonderful wetland and greenspace in the center of our city. And they will not continue to have the river system with the most diverse ecology in the US, as they do now.

CRBI is the most effective force for the environment we have in Northwest Georgia. Be a part of it.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this?

Visit for more facts and membership info.

And join the Facebook CRBI cause:

Sign the No Water Grabs petition.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mrs. Tebow's Choice

According to reports:

Twenty-odd years ago a young woman was advised to abort the human seed growing in her body. Doctors feared her necessary medical treatments would seriously damage her baby. She had a choice to make and chose instead to allow that sprouting embryo to grow. She would pray for a healthy baby but accept the outcome whatever it was. After exiting her womb, that bundle of potentiality became one of the great college football players of all time.

I applaud her choice.

I am glad she had a choice to make.

I could not criticize her if her choice had been the reverse.

Now, the fact is, an abortion is ALWAYS a brutal, painful, agonizing, choice to make. Anyone who tries to trivialize it is foolish, in my book. Anyone who would use abortion as casually as spermicide or a condom will rue that choice if they have an ounce of humanity. We are doing a great disservice to the young women of our country by so callously accepting the huge number of abortions currently happening. That such an astronomical number of our young women are allowing themselves to be used by uncommitted men is painful to me. That this joyless debauchery is resulting in way too many young women having unwanted pregnancies and then way too many abortions is sad. If we believe to our bones, as I do, that women have an unalienable right to choose abortion, and also believe that abortion is harmful to the women involved, we have a responsibilty to work to prevent that choice from having to be made so often.

The response by some pro-choice groups to the case above will do more damage to the pro-choice cause than fifty anti-abortion Super Bowl ads. The majority of Americans are pro-choice AND anti-abortion. If the screamers appear, as they do, pro-abortion, they will offend at least three-quarters of the people paying attention, in my opinion. They offend me.

The proper attitude of pro-choice groups should be to applaud that mother for the choice she made two decades ago and to proclaim their dedication to assuring that all women continue to have a choice.

Abortion should be safe, legal... and rare.

Monday, January 25, 2010

To Junior, -- Love, Samson

Grady Columbus Shaw, Jr.

Dear Uncle "Junior",

I suppose I must have been a husky baby. My parents said that was how I earned the nickname. At 5'8" I'm not now exactly the image that comes to the minds of others when you call, "Samson!"

Grady Columbus Shaw, Jr.

But "Samson" I have been for 62 years -- to you. And for not quite so long to my cousin Gordon, and "Mama Shaw", and Uncle James, Bill, Jack, and "Daddy Shaw". I really didn't even notice it much, I was so used to it growing up. A few months ago, when I walked across the parking lot at Gordon's funeral to greet you and Margaret through your driver's side window, I'm not sure your, "Hey there, Samson!" registered at first. The warmth registered. The genuine joy to see me registered. And that silly appellation helped communicate it.

Margaret, Danny, and Grady

Yesterday, only moments after I learned that Grady Columbus Shaw, Jr. had died, it struck me that I will on Earth never again hear that particular communication of love and joy. That all the members of that boisterous group of Shaw brothers, and their parents, are gone now.

And all by myself, I choked up. Silly, I guess.

You were never quite as merciless in your teasing of the oldest grandson as the wise-cracking Bill or Jack. You could tease, too, but always with an "aw, shucks" in your voice and a twinkle in your eye. You were unfailingly generous and kind. For your last few years you had that unsightly cancer on your face. At Gordon's funeral I noticed a little boy, maybe 7 or 8, watching you. Finally he could stand it no more and came right up to you asked, "What's wrong with your nose, mister?" You betrayed no discomfort at all, and replied in that same soft kind voice I've known all my life, "It's just a sore, son." The boy was satisfied and moved on. And so did you.

Grady Columbus Shaw, Jr. is fourth from the left in the front. He flew 20 missions in the Pacific during World War II as a nose bomber on a B24 Liberator. He was part of the 31st Bomb Squadron - Hofer Crew (Four Fan Fanny, Serial 44-41669).

My mother says that you were to her more brother than in-law since you were a young teen when she became the teenaged bride of your older brother. She says that she and you and Bill played together, and in a way, grew up together.

(l-r) James, Bil, and Grady (Junior) Shaw

I know that I loved seeing you even more in recent years, if for no other reason than the degree to which you recalled for me the voice, the carriage, the love of life, of my father whom I still ache for after almost 24 years.

So, Uncle Grady -- I've finally gotten used to that more respectful way to address you -- I won't pretend to know how these things work, but I hope that you are somewhere now with Charles, and James, and Bill, and Jack, and maybe Gordon -- all of you laughing your heads off, Bill almost snorting and choking at Jack's shenanigans. Maybe there are some fire crackers. Maybe cigarettes don't cause harm here. They ARE a handy way to light the fuses. Or maybe the Lord allows dogs, and you have Trouble, the Boston Terrier, to pester. Mama Shaw in apron, cooking a feast, fusses at you from the kitchen, probably, and Daddy Shaw responds with a grin, "Good Grannies, Lillian, (pronounce that 'Lil-yun') let the boys have fun. I swanie, it's about time!"

(l-r) Joan Shaw (Turrentine), Ruth Baird Shaw, Charles Shaw, Lillian Shaw (Mama Shaw ), Bill Shaw (making a face, of course), James Shaw, Margaret Shaw (partially hidden), Grady Shaw, Sr. (Daddy Shaw - foreground), Grady Shaw, Jr.

If that's the way it works, your brothers are a happy crew today.

But back here we're not feeling so hot. There are tears for our loss and a few regrets for phone calls and visits unmade. We will bury you on Wednesday near the earthly remains of Charles, James, Bill, Jack, Mama Shaw and Daddy Shaw. We will gather later to remember you at Avondale-Patillo United Methodist Church. Jim will preach. Others may say a few words. And I will sing "Amazing Grace", sadly aware that, although I will always be...

Your loving Nephew,

I will, on Earth, no longer be...