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Saturday, April 13, 2024 - 01:31 AM


First Published in 1994


This sign adorned the door to the Georgia Welcome Center on I-85, just north of Lavonia.
This sign adorned the door to the Georgia Welcome Center on I-85, just north of Lavonia.
Georgia has been on my mind recently, ever since Governor Brian Kemp decided to open the Peach State back up for business.

In celebration of that fact, this past Thursday I took a little trip down I-85 , crossed the bridge over Lake Hartwell and found myself in the state of dine-in-again restaurants.

Have I done without nutritional supplementation since South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster closed indoor dining throughout the Palmetto State on March 18? No, I have not skipped any meals.

Furthermore, I still have plenty of food at the house. I could very easily have stayed home that day and let my personal chef, a lady named Marie Callender, feed this Hungry Man and not even have left the house.

I took this little 120-mile trip to make a point, to myself if to no one else. The point is that it is way past time to stop the destruction of the national and world economy and get back to business again.

So, I decided to give the state of Georgia a little bit of my business. Just a meal, mind you. Not a haircut, although I could use one, and not a tattoo, which I have no need of. Just a meal. But the thing is, my money that day went to a restaurant in Georgia.

I would love to spend my money indoors at restaurants here in South Carolina. The next day after my meal in Georgia I learned that Governor McMaster decided, that Monday was going to be the first day that it would be safe to open up restaurants again in our state. I was glad to hear that, although there will be a gazillion rules that restaurant owners must follow.

And the barber shops and gyms are still not open. May be I'll have to make a return trip to Georgia after all.

After I crossed over Lake Hartwell this past Thursday I stopped in at the Georgia Welcome Center. Lo and behold, when I walked up to the building I saw this unwelcome sign taped to the door - “YOU MUST WEAR A MASK OR FACE COVERING TO ENTER THE BUILDING.” In other words, if you don't have a face covering of some sort you cannot even use the restroom.

I saw a couple of unmasked men walk up to the building right after me. They saw the note, stopped, and returned to their vehicle. A minute later they returned with their faces covered.

Right afterward, an unmasked couple in their 30's walked up, saw the note, did a U-turn back to their car and, several seconds later, returned with their faces covered.

Clyde Lewis, the talkmesiter of the late night radio program, Ground Zero, refers to all the changes that we have experienced over the last couple of months as the new reality. He refuses to call the current situation in which we find ourselves as the new normal. He feels that we shouldn't have to put up with all of this as something to be considered as normal. I agree.

I accept the fact that some people prefer to wear masks, that some people feel the need to wear masks, and I respect that. I also respect the fact that some people wear masks because they their employer, such as Publix and Walmart, requires them to do so.

Yet, I was perambulating on the local walking trail yesterday afternoon and was passed by a couple of hundred fellow perambulators, joggers and cyclists, not a one of whom was wearing a mask. They didn't see the need for it, just like the people I saw at the welcome center.

Yet, is the new reality that, even though most people don't see the need for face masks and think them a nuisance, feel like they had better keep one with them just in case they have to enter an establishment that requires their use while inside? Do we have to keep a mask in our pocket now, just as we keep our keys and our wallet in our pocket? Is this the new reality?

I left the unwelcome center without going inside. It could wait.

A few miles later I pulled off at the Lavonia exit in order to see what was open. Several restaurants, perhaps exercising an abundance of caution, were still offering only drive-thru service. I will not blame them, for I would be skittish too, considering all the sue-happy people in society today.

I did, however, find a few that were open on the inside. I walked into one and was handed a menu by a masked waiter. Every worker was wearing a mask.

After a tasty, leisurely lunch, I walked up to the register to pay. The cashier was wearing a mask, albeit it was not covering her face but rather was dangling from her neck. Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose?

I have heard that governments are going to be hiring so-called contact tracers to invade everyone's privacy in order to find out who has been exposed to the Wuhan Flu (aka, COVID-19). Are they also going to hire people for a new mask police force? Are private, mask-wearing citizens going to turn in those of us who wish to take our chances and breathe free? Just wondering.

After my filling meal I returned to South Carolina. That night, before bed, I again employed my microwave to prepare me a meal. Didn't have to leave a tip, though.

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