News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Shape river mud into works of art

Pros and amateurs are trying their hands this weekend at sand sculpture, but Decatur may be missing an opportunity to be different.

Point Mallard Park officials told the park's advisory board that they're bringing in 20 tons of special sand, holding seminars for wanna-be sand engineers and building a professional 7-foot sand sculpture at the Aquatic Center.

They were expecting a good turnout, but Martin Burkey says board member Cecil Chaney suggested the contest should have relied on native materials.

"We need a River Bottom Mud contest," Cecil quipped.

Melting Methodists

A worship service last month at Athens First United Methodist Church had the pastor joking, Melanie Smith says.

The Rev. Jimmy Bassham wrote that the temperature in the church's Beasley Center was hot, making the men sweat. The women only perspired because ladies never sweat, he said.

Jimmy felt proud because no one left.

"We Methodists are loving," he said. "We are also tough!"

Boisterous Baptists

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle reached Gary Hammon on the councilman's cell phone one evening and heard noises in the background that he couldn't identify.

"Gary," Don said, "are you at Chuck E. Cheese's?"

Gary told Chris Paschenko that, despite the sound of it, he wasn't in a room filled with boisterous children.

"I told him no," Gary said. "I knew it was the mayor calling, so I answered my phone at choir practice at First Baptist."

What size recliner?

Diane Belsky opened her Decatur home to artists dropping off chairs and chair-related artwork for Sweet Chair-ity.

Patrice Stewart says that when one artist called to say she'd be sending over a recliner, Diane got husband Stan to open the garage door.

The recliner turned out to be a 6-inch bronze model holding a silk flower arrangement.

"I don't know why I thought it was going to be a full-size recliner," said Diane, whose home was full of colorfully painted rockers, garden chairs, stools, dining chairs and paintings of chairs. She plans to attend Friday's fundraiser for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County to bid on some of them.

You can attend and help fund the center's disaster response program. Call 355-8628.

River hazard

Cruising on the Suwannee River in Florida puts you in danger of colliding with a fish.

In Wildwood, Fla., Blake Nicholas Fessenden, 23, was riding a personal watercraft when a 4-foot sturgeon jumped up and hit him, according to The Associated Press. It knocked him unconscious, but fortunately his girlfriend was riding another craft behind him. She rescued him.

In April, a 31-year-old woman was hospitalized after a 3-foot sturgeon jumped into a boat. Sturgeons can jump as high as 8 feet and can weigh up to 200 pounds.

Send stories for You Don't Say to, or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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