Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some words from Pop (5th installment)

As I mentioned previously, last Thursday marked my 32nd birthday. My sweet dad shared this column with me this weekend. It ran in the August 11th edition of The Oconee Enterprise. For my regular readers, this is a somewhat regular feature here on the blog. I've also been asked to issue kleenex alerts before proceeding with most of my dad's pieces, but I don't think this one is that tear-inducing. But, if you are looking for one that one of his others here. Or there's always this one. And these two about Sam and Jack.

Aug. 11 is Pretty Significant Day

In the grand scheme of things, Aug. 11 is significant as 811 day, when utility companies encourage people to call 811 before digging in their yards with mechanized equipment.

But on a personal level, Aug. 11 has been a pretty big day.

It was on Aug. 11, 1969, that I embarked upon a professional career in journalism, starting as a sportswriter.

My first story was about the Athens American Legion baseball team losing in the state finals. I did not go to the game. I talked to the coach, who provided details.

Among those details, Jimmy Wilkes dropped a fly ball in center field at a key moment. I received a phone call later from his father Dupree Wilkes, a fine fellow who had coached me briefly in Little League baseball, informing me that his son had not dropped the ball, but that the umpire had ruled that he trapped it.

Happily, young Jimmy Wilkes was unscarred by the incident, and he rose to a rank of significance in the armed forces, the Air Force if I am not mistaken. If I am wrong, someone will call.

But it was 10 years later that Aug. 11 took on significance of the highest order. Late that Saturday morning, my bride Jan gave birth to our second child.

"You've got a sissy little girl," announced the baby doc.

We had children back in the dark ages before routine ultrasound exams revealed the sex. And so Laura Marie Giles was born.

It sounds like merely the musings of a proud papa, but I honestly have never seen a prettier baby. She had a head of thick, black hair, a smooth complexion and a healthy skin tone.

Well, she's still as pretty and is now the blissfully wed wife of Joshua Garrett, and mother of two boys, Jack and Sam.

Looking back over the years of my professional career, I can point to columns where I wrote about her siblings, John and Emily. If I wrote about Laura, it escapes me.

There was that one column where she was a JV cheerleader at a Cedar Shoals football game. It was the first and last time I ever embedded a message in a column, and today is the first time I have revealed that fact. Taking the first letter of each paragraph, the message read, "Laura Giles was great."

She was never a great athlete, but she was a determined participant. She still holds the family record for most points scored in a high school basketball game.

She became a Bulldog at UGA, where like me she earned a degree in journalism. Of my three offspring, she looks the most like me, and she was most interested in writing.

Her writing now is mostly reserved for her blog, Garrett News, where you can keep up with her family. Most of her energies are spent on her boys, Josh included, and it is a joy to see her so happy.

Aug. 11. When you dig deep into the heart of Blake Giles, what stands out is not so much that first day on the job, but that "sissy little girl."

Blake Giles is the editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.


Lindsey Brackett said...

I love to read your dad's writing. I hope one day my girls appreciate mine as much as you do his.

MB Shaw said...

Sorry, Laura but I needed a tissue that one as well. I love, love, love "Words from Pop", especially when they are about you. Thanks for sharing his endearing words with us.