Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hollering Contest and other adventures

Have you ever been so busy that you didn't know if you were coming or going? This is how my life has been lately.
Last night for the first time in awhile, I was home on a Monday night and wasn't sure what to do.
On Saturday (Sept. 6), I attended the National Hollerin' Contest in Spivey's Corner for the first time and it was quite interesting for me.
I have wanted to go ever since I drove through Spivey’s Corner in 2001 to a job interview in Mount Olive.
As I traveled down Highway 13 and into Spivey’s Corner, I saw a sign that said “Third Saturday in June.”
I wondered what in the world did that mean. Did this town have its own version of “The Lottery” from that story by Shirley Jackson?
It had me wondering until I found out about the Hollerin’ Contest.
Since 1969, the National Hollerin’ Contest has been held there and is the main fundraiser for the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department.
In its heyday, between 5,000 to 8,000 people came out to this event.
In 2013, the contest was moved from the third Saturday in June to September and combined it with the Hollerin’ Heritage Festival.
The festival was a daylong event and featured several living history exhibits inside the firehouse on biscuit, butter and sausage making.
I had really wanted to attend the biscuit making demonstration because the biscuits I make can be classified as an assault weapons.
The various Hollerin’ contests didn’t start until 4:30 p.m. with the National Hollerin’ Contest at 6 p.m.
So during my feeble attempts to stay dry while waiting, I learned how to churn butter and how to make tar and pitch.

I also had a chance to try my first funnel cake. Yes, I had never tried a funnel cake until Sept. 13, 2014. Why? Because when I go to the fair, there are tons of other things like deep fried Oreos, chicken on a stick and cotton candy that interest me more than a funnel cake.
None of these things were there so I tried a funnel cake topped with powder sugar and caramel. It was AWESOME!!
Due to all the rain, the various Hollerin’ contests were moved to the “porch” of the fire station.
For those who don’t know, there is a difference between hollering and hollerin’.
Hollering is “STOP OR I’LL HIT YOU WITH A CAN OF PEAS.”
For any of us with sibling, we know exactly what hollering is.
Hollerin’ is an art form that has different calls ranging from good morning to distress. Before texting and telephones, this was the form of communication.
Despite the rain and mud, people stayed and waited for the contests to begin.
It started with the Whistling and Conk Shell Blowin’ Contests.

Other contests included the Teen Hollerin’ and the Ladies Callin’ contest. These are not contests that you just wake up the morning of and decide to enter.
To me, they have learned a dying tradition and took pride in being able to share it with others.
Overall, it was a nice way to spend a Saturday evening. I had a chance to learn about hollerin’ and have some homemade sausage and ice cream.
And due to all the rain, I ended up kind of mud bogging. My car got stuck in the mud and I had to be pushed out by Spivey’s Corners fire fighters. My car looked like I had spent the evening mud bogging. 
What a way to spend a Saturday night. 
In mental health news, I had my first appointment with my therapist on Wednesday, Sept. 3.
I really like her and feel like she is going to make a difference.

I am afraid however that I will not be able to afford her. Insurance is such a tricky these days. I am thankful to have it. However, it is much easier to be healthy.
I learned yesterday that there is a $2,500 deductible. I haven’t used it at all this year.
What I learned both scared and angered me. I made the visit thinking there was $45 co-pay, No. The actual cost for the visit is $164. They weren’t sure if I had reached the deductible (I haven’t) so they charged me 40 percent, which was $65. I was not expecting this but paid it.
I found out that future visits are going to probably be $164 a visit. I can’t afford this but this is how it will be at many places.
It was a very defeating moment to know that you need help, have insurance but can’t really afford it.
I had an hour long assessment with the therapist. I really feel comfortable with her but that is a lot of money. As I told her, I guess I will be seeing her every other month.
I made the decision to get back on meds but she can prescribed and to see someone in their offices is a $200 visit.
I was given a tip on having my family provider provide the prescription so I could at least have meds.
Since moving here, it has been a bitch getting in to see a provider. Right now, I am suppose to see the provider on Oct. 2 but just realized that is the same day as a big meeting I have to cover and can’t miss.
When I called to reschedule, the next appointment is in November. I can’t wait that long for meds. I am still managing things with mediation, prayer and logic but I don’t know how long I can do it.
I can’t afford for something crazy to happen so I am looking for another family doctor who can see me sooner.
So I will keep you posted on how the search is going.
DAILY DOSE
1. Another newspaper is completed!!!
2. Being able to just breathe!
3. The Blacklist returns soon!

Friday, September 5, 2014

A possible break in, six police officer and I


Let me begin by saying everything ended okay and I am fine.

Duplin County in North Carolina is a huge county. Each reporter at the newspaper where I work has a certain area and things to cover. I cover the southern end of the county, which includes several towns. One of those is Wallace. And in Wallace, my newspaper has a satellite office that is not open to the public. In the past, the building used to house another newspaper. 
My Wallace office.

So when you walk in there is nice area up front with a nice desk, computer and phone. If you head toward back of the building, it is a huge cavernous space filled with various desks, shelves and other stuff. It leads to the warehouse where the circulation guy sorts newspapers on Tuesday night. There is huge metal door back there that rolls up. I am pretty much the only person who uses this building.

Sorry to be so wordy but these details set up the story. So fast forward to Thursday evening after 6. I am at the office taking a break while waiting for a 7 p.m. meeting.

I hear someone or something rattle the metal door in the back. I get up to look through the door where I am up front all the way to back to see if it is my publisher coming to get something. I hear the noise again.  There is a long pause. And I hear the noise again. I called the police. Then I grabbed my camera and fled the building as I heard the noise a fourth time.

I ran to my car, unlocked it, jumped in and locked it. I wasn’t in it a minute when all of a sudden three cop cars show up and race toward the back of the building. Then two more police cars show up. Then an unmarked car came. And the Police Captain showed up.

Their response time was amazing. Now, did they respond like this because I was a citizen who needed help or because I’m the reporter who covers their town. Either way, they arrived. No was there. The building was checked out and no perp was found. The police do think someone was trying to get into it because it looks abandon.

Some lessons learned:
--I will no longer be at the building when it is late.
--WPD has an excellent response time.
--There is no shame in calling the police.

DAILY DOSE
1. A good piece of dark chocolate!
2. Orange soda in a glass bottle!
3. Attending a Gala on Saturday night!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

27-year-old Jackie visits 40-year-old Jackie

Last week was a very low week for me. After being sick and spending the weekend with old friend and nesting, I decided to start the week with a new outlook. Plus, I see my new therapist next week.

As I continue the job of unpacking and organizing my life, I came across a list of things about me that I made when I was 27 for a new boyfriend. I remember making this list because Robb wanted to know more about me. As I read it, I realized how much I had changed in some ways but stayed the same in others.

I am going to share this list with updated notes in red.


Who is Jackie?
--I have never drank coffee. I started drinking it out of necessity in August of 2009 when I had to be at work at 7 a.m.
--I love music. This has never changed. I still make cd mixes for road trips.
--I hate to sweat. Still do.
--I love hot baths. Now I love hot showers.
--I have a really serious thing for office supply stores. I still do especially when things are on clearance.
--I love daises. Still do.
--Even though I am an adult, I can’t let my feet dangle over the edge of the bed at night. Too much Stephen King. Most definitely.
--I love taco salad. Yes especially from El Matazlan in Mount Olive, N.C.
--I fell in love for the first time when I was 19.
--I am magazine junkie. Yes,  there is always a magazine with me.
--I don’t FEEL or look 27. I feel 40 but don’t look like it.
--I have one sibling, a brother, who is younger than me… and lived to tell about it. Three months after writing this, I found my father.  I gained two brothers and two sisters.
--I love ranch dressing. I consider it the new ketchup of the world. I still love it especially bacon ranch dressing.
--I own a lot of hats. Everyone needs a trademark. Occasionally, I will wear a hat. My trademark now is having lots of writing pens.
--I like singing. My pitch isn’t great and neither is my voice but I still like it especially in the car after a long day of work. I still sing in the shower and the car. And I sound like Beyonce on a very bad day.
--I grew up in Clover (this town sucks) South Carolina. I still stand by this sentence.
--I used to hate grits when I was a child. I hide them in napkins on the chair beside me at breakfast. One day, my mother sat in that chair. I’m still alive. I love grits as an adult.
--I learned how to read when I was four. This something my son inherited.
--I failed my driver’s license test six times due to parallel parking. I  still can’t parallel park to save my life.
--I am a night person. If left to my own devices, I would stay up until 6 a.m. and sleep until 2 p.m. Now I tend to stay up to 11 p.m. and out of bed by 10 a.m.
--I don’t wear makeup. It gets in the way. I still believe this.
--I love to dance, though I am not particuraly good at it. I love having solo living room dance parties.
--I am a journalist. Still am and damn proud of it.
--There’s always a song stuck in my head. Right now, it is “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift.
--My most prized possessions are a photo of my grandmother and a James Dean clock. This has changed. I still cherish the photo of my grandmother along with a photo album of my son’s baby photos.
--I am a voracious reader. Most definitely with several library cards.
--Centipedes give me the creeps. YES.
--I’ve never seen “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I finally saw it two years ago.
--My mom and I have a shaky relationship. We have since I can remember. I love her but she sure can make my life miserable. I am very glad my mother and I were able to mend our relationship and become close before she died in 2010.
--I try not to miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Law and Order. Now it is Criminal Minds, Blacklist and Grey’s Anatomy.
--I am obsessed with chicken salad sandwiches especially from Chick Fil A. My new favorite place to get chicken salad is Elias’s in Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
--The idea of being pregnant and actually giving birth frightens the shit out of me. But that’s the only way any of us gets born so I keep telling myself I can handle it. I did it and have the most amazing son.

This was a nice trip down memory lane. Robb and I broke up after eight months. But at least I have the list.

DAILY DOSE
1. Iced coffee from McDonald's.
2. Leaving for early enough to avoid school buses!
3. Feeling so much better!

My home library is complete!!!!!

  I write a book column for Duplin Times in Kenansville, N.C. called the Book Nerd. This is my May column, which is about me finally comple...