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The McDuffie County perk

So I'm finally living up to my redneck roots.

Actually, I'm living up to my formerly-red-now-peeling-neck roots.

The Spring sun snuck up on me as I spent Saturday taking pictures of horses and riders at Pine Top Farm. The weather was perfect - too perfect. I never got hot, don't think I even had a bead of sweat, but by the end of the day, I was baked. My face was red. My ears were red. And my neck was especially red.

So Sunday, I was prepared. I slathered on the sunscreen (just like my wife said I should have on Saturday), grabbed a hat and a long-sleeved shirt with a collar and went back out.

I don't think I got burned any worse, but I still hurt. And by Tuesday the peeling had set in. So had the itching. Maybe being a redneck isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I spent the weekend working with David Mullinix, a photographer from Florida who was in town to shoot the Pine Top competition. It was David's first trip to the area, and McDuffie County certainly left an impression on him. He talked about how nice the people were, the beauty of Pine Top and how he can't wait to get back this way.

And he doesn't even know about the Cold Stone Creamery perk.

Saturday night, Miriam and I jaunted to Augusta for a bite to eat and couldn't resist the lure of the ice cream shop over by Target. That's where we met Windsor Armour. She noticed my McDuffie Mirror shirt and said she was happy to see people from her hometown. After she built our desserts - At The Cocoa Banana Cabana for Miriam, Founder's Favorite for me - Windsor added a little extra: an a cappella song about her job.

Of course, the song perk didn't do much to assuage my wife, who was in shock from the whole ice cream cone building process. (For those of you who haven't been, Cold Stone employees fold various pieces of candy, fruit, cakes, cookies and other goodies into the ice cream.) For Miriam, seeing actual crumbs of yellow cake combined with bananas in the ice cream was too much?

"Is this a joke?" she asked between bites.

Must have been. I ate my concoction of brownies, ice cream, Heath bars, Kit-Kats, pecans and fudge and swelled right up. I'm not allergic or anything. Just extra fluffy.

Time for a little housekeeping. Gene Walker, who has faithfully written a weekly sports column since the inception of The Mirror is taking a break. Granted, it was supposed to start last week, but Gene couldn't pass up an opportunity to critique a ref.

But seriously, I've been amazed at Gene's productivity. For someone who has a real job and a family, he's been more dedicated and loyal than I could have ever imagined.

I hope he enjoys his siesta, and hope even harder that he comes back in a hurry.

Web posted on Thursday, March 9, 2006

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