The H.B. Stamps Memorial Library hosted their summer reading program this past week. This year’s theme was Starship Adventure. On Thursday, the program welcomed special guests Bruce Campbell and Senator Mike Williams.
Campbell, who is a favorite at area festivals and a frequent visitor to the elementary schools, enthralled the group with his animated style, interactive technique and perfectly-timed humor. Before long, he had the back row falling over in giggle-fits.
Although I’ve listened to Campbell spin his yarns many times, Thursday was the first opportunity I’d had to sit down and talk with him. Within minutes, he had me in giggle-fits too.
The retired engineer claims, until moving to Hawkins County, he never realized he was a storyteller. He just thought he was good at lying to his wife.
Bruce got his start inventing bedtime stories for his children. From there, he’s gone on to become a two-time champion of the Liars Contest in Northern Georgia. His dream is to break Bill Lepp’s record. (Lepp, a minister and master of flapdoodle and bull, held the WV Liar’s title for five years straight.) Our conversation then moved to the Yarn Spinners group, the possibility of Bruce publishing a children’s book – a possibility which has me rather excited – and a brief discussion on quantum mechanics. (No really.)
During the storytelling, Senator Mike Williams had arrived to deliver a check for $1,500. The funds apparently came from last year’s *community enhancement grants program. Of course, since Williams is running for re-election and I have been thinking I should make my blog more “newsy” – I decided I should go pose questions to the newly-proclaimed Independent Senator, such as: “Why aren’t you Republican anymore? What does that mean exactly? And be honest, you think Ron Ramsey’s a fathead, don’t you? It’s okay, you can tell me.” No, I’m joking. Truth is – I was going to ask him questions about the controversial issues with which our state seems to be struggling – like Mumpower’s balls.
Williams, however, was engrossed in conversation with Ann Fields, Stamps Director and system coordinator for Hawkins County Libraries. The discussion centered on use of the libraries computers and how lack of connectivity in Hawkins County has made this one of the more popular features system-wide. Ann spoke favorably of the work being done by the Connected Tennessee organization but pointed out folks in outlying areas of the county are still relying on dial-up because alternatives, such as satellite, are cost-prohibitive.
As I listened to Ann bend the ear of the lawmaker about the CEG’s, library funding, state programs and the importance of expanding technology, I decided helping Ms. Diva with her alien spoon might be more interesting.
Williams drifted outside at some point. I think, secretly, he wanted to make his own alien spoon. The kids didn’t pay much attention to him. As a rule, children don’t pay much attention to adults milling around. Adults in ties receive even less notice since the attire serves as an indicator they’re probably no fun at all. For the most part, I agree with the kids. Senators in sports jackets, feh. Definitely no fun.
Williams agreed to read to the children (standard election year stuff.) But shouldn’t Williams alert the Times-News he’s reading a book? Don’t they need to know?
Williams read a book from his favorite Disney/Pixar series and did a fairly decent impression of `Mater, the lovable but dimwitted towtruck.
Williams’ later told me that in his younger days, Maynardville didn’t have a library. All of the little Maynardville children had to walk uphill both ways to read etchings on cave walls for many years. Then, there was the opening of the first Maynardville library, and he recalled his excitement at getting to walk over from school to check out books.
And now, I should mention the fabulousness of Ms. Joline the Arts and Crafts Queen.
Joline is responsible for dreaming up crafts
and games, which are relevant to the theme. And she does a smashing job of it while managing to remember everyone’s name.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Joline on other projects. So, I happen to know she is an endless source of good ideas and a natural-born organizer. Also – whatever obscure unheard of craft item you can dream up to mention, it will undoubtedly be met with Joline’s cheerful reply: “Purple Mesopotamian Whizzle Sticks? Oh, I’ll look and see if I have some of those left from the so-n-so project.” Yep, if she weren’t so sweet, humble and utterly wonderful, she would make us inferior people feel inferior.
Anyway, Ms. Sally and Ms. Joline did a fantastic job with the program this year. Oh, and after explaining to the kids that Senators help make laws, I have a few requests from future constituents of whatever candidate lands in Nashville come November:
*The children of Hawkins County would like to request legislation banning all school fish-sticks and brussel sprouts.
*The future constituents also request new laws prohibiting parents from levying unfair time limits on entertainment devices – such as the television and video games. The law should also prohibit parents from hogging the Wii.
*The lawmakers have also been asked to consider passing a law which would require ice cream to be served after every meal – even in the winter.
*Finally, Ms. Diva would request a joint resolution declaring that yes, all boys have cooties.
* The CEG monies Williams presented to the library are those which caused a ruckus in the General Assembly last year. The Republicans called the plan pork – but later took a swipe at Rep Nathan Vaughn (Kingsport) for NOT claiming his pork on time. (The press release is somewhat memorable because Bill Hobbs quoted himself, which I thought was uproariously funny. ) Since then, the process has been reported as a huge disaster. The final checks are just now being written – but the delay is proving quite beneficial for lawmakers seeking re-election since it presents countless opportunities to claim credit and generate good publicity.