December 14, 1983
We were greatly surprised today when the mid-week edition of the Greenville News carried reports from outside of Greenville County. It seems that the News has been sending volunteers as far as Athens and Asheville to find out what is going on. Asheville seems to have fared okay, but the story from Athens is like one from the twilight zone! The reporters apparently did not get into town, but the reports from those they met along I-85 was horrible. With what the eye-witnesses said, the University of Georgia had become the center of a new government of sorts, but things went bad fast. Apparently riots had begun over food and supplies and no one was safe. The reporters also heard that refugees were heading up to the mountain town of Taccoa, but they returned to Greenville knowing that they probably would not be chancing any more fact-finding trips.
Meanwhile, at home things seem peaceful. The police and highway patrol maintain a vigilant presence along the roads, preventing most vandalism and keeping unrest to a minimum. Occasionally we hear rumors of police overstepping their boundaries, but the mayor's office assures us that things are professionally managed. As for me and my family, we haven't experienced or seen any violence ourselves. I hope things stay that way, because I remember Athens as a nice town overall, though that was a decade ago. If my fellow Georgians turn on each other that way, I'm pretty sure South Carolinians could as well.
I can't imagine what things might be like in Albany - well known for racial strife! I hope dad and mom are okay. I mean, they go to church in Albany - dad works there - working with blacks every day in fact. Could they be like what they say Athens is like less than three months after Atlanta is bombed? Wow -- not a pretty thought as we head into Christmas season.
Debbie did some Christmas shopping at the K-Mart near the hospital. The hospital has worked out a credit system with both K-Mart and Bi-Lo allowing employees to write personal checks against their Hospital account. It's like the old "company store" -- hopefully we won't 'owe our soul to the comp'ny store' as Tennessee Ernie Ford used to sing! She has also begun picking up the rations at that store (though it took a lot of paperwork and several weeks to approve it).
We had put the tree up -- an artificial Debbie inherited from a college roommate before we were married -- on Monday, my Dad's birthday. We'll probably take it down on my birthday in January like we usually do. The one difference this year is that there is no way we'll be with the rest of the family this year -- neither there no here. That makes us all sad. All we can do is pray that everyone is okay.
We made it to Second Pres this week! Prayer meeting went well and there was a great "Christmas feast" prepared for the community. The cooks had called in some favors around town and had "all the fixings" for dinner for over 200 folks (over half visitors from the community). They did say that the supply of natural gas was about to run out and they may have to start using charcoal grills if they can find any. Otherwise, I suppose they'll have to quit serving food. That will be a shame.
This is getting depressing. Perhaps that is because I waited to do this by the headlight lamp -- the car battery is holding out! I suppose I'd better get to bed.
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