OPINION COLUMNS

Hey, I still like it here

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, August 11, 2018
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Well, Wise County, I’ve worked for the Messenger for one month now, and I’m glad to report I’m no longer sleeping on an air mattress.

Huzzah, air pump – begone! I, Austin Jackson, currently sleep on a bonafide box spring.

Austin Jackson

I’m also glad to report my sentiment is the same since my first column, detailing my instant connection with this county while driving through downtown Decatur for a job interview.

I admit, I came here expecting a slow summer. But this county has offered me nothing short of a rollicking adventure the last 30 days.

First off, there was Reunion.

That’s what people call it around here, ‘Reunion.’ The title is a fitting candidate for the undersell of the year.

When the story assignments for the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion began coming down the pipe, I scratched my head thinking, ‘Why are we covering a family reunion so heavily?’

My skepticism was put to rest as I ventured toward the fairgrounds and felt as if I had entered an alternate reality.

Past the oak trees, down that gravel road, I felt as if I had traveled to a simpler time. It was like Greenwood with 500 times more people. I was shocked.

There was a feast. There was family. It was wholesome, yet alcohol-fueled fun. Young love blossomed and people socialized, enjoying good conversation, a breath of fresh air in the July heat.

At Reunion, I helped judge the cabin contest and met people who spent weeks preparing their theme for a five-day payoff. I heard some of the cabins’ leases go for around $100,000, and after seeing the cabins and the pride families take in them, I see why.

I also had the opportunity to be humbled in the washer tournament. I spent the night before practicing on a putting green with makeshift washers made out of crushed Dr Pepper cans. The training did not work.

Messenger Sports Editor Reece Waddell and I managed two points in our double elimination. 42-2. We left in utter disgrace. (Note: Waddell cleared the bleachers with his errant tosses, while I scored all the points.)

I did my best to take down the 2017 champ, Dylan Nation, but I think my deficiency of swag was my ultimate downfall. Congrats to Decatur alumni Bryce Elder and Cade Lamirand. The pair beat out Kyle Parker and Dylan Rottner in the championship, but we’re coming for you next year. Just wait.

Since then, I’ve ventured into budget workshops. Fascinating stuff … that I’ll save for another time.

Austin Jackson is a reporter for the Wise County Messenger.

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