September 11, 2013

Harold & Chuck & Chiles

Pub Notes

Hang In There, Harold!

In a horrible freak accident, Harold Williams tripped in his office 10 days ago and hit his head on his filing cabinet, breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed. Since then he has had an operation to stabilize the bones in his neck, and he has been transported to Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta.

If you don’t know Harold Williams, his catastrophe just blends in with all the bad news that bombards us and is too much to assimilate. If you know him, though, it’s like hearing that your big brother, your best friend, the most popular guy in class, your favorite uncle, the man who is always there for you, who pulls you through no matter how late he has to stay up or work weekends while always smiling and telling you a funny story but is deadly serious about the state of the world and of Athens, his hometown. Yes, that Harold. It’s like you’ve broken your right hand and suddenly your world changes, except that Harold’s whole body has gone out on him.

Latest news is that there are hopeful signs that Harold is able to move his legs a little bit and shrug his shoulders, and everybody agrees that the Shepherd people are the best in the country. And of course if attitude makes a difference, Harold may be their first customer ever who can levitate just on the strength of his sheer goodwill.

To jog your memory, yes, this is the Harold Williams who sings and plays saxophone with The Jesters and has since he was in Athens High and has played in a lot of other bands through the years while eventually reaching the conclusion that some day he might want to be able to earn a living and went back to school and got serious and made himself into a C.P.A. and has endured what must seem like centuries of doing everybody’s taxes, with everybody waiting until the last minute, of course, with Harold always coming through, no matter how late we wait, and always with a smile and a how are you? and a joke. (He admires Mark Twain, who certainly would have admired Harold and surely could have used Harold’s tax help as well as his quips.)

Send him a card, to Harold Williams, Room 419, Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30309-1465.

Unexploded Bombs

Chuck Searcy used to be a fixture in Athens, where everybody knew him as a founder of both The Athens Observer and Observer Television. For the last 18 years Chuck’s entrepreneurial energies have been poured into efforts to relieve suffering in Vietnam, where he served in military intelligence. Chuck now heads up Project RENEW, which is trying to make Vietnam and its people safe from all the unexploded bombs and other ordnance still scattered heavily around the country.

Chuck will be back in the country on a fundraising swing in the next couple of weeks, and he will be in Athens for an event at the Ciné lab on Friday, Sept. 27, beginning at 7 p.m. Chuck and two Vietnamese colleagues, Ngo Xuan Hien and Luong Tuan Hung, will discuss their efforts and show videos about their work. The gathering should be quite informative and a good chance to see Chuck after all these years. The Willson Center at UGA is a sponsor, and there will be light refreshments, with the Ciné bar open as usual for the purchase of drinks.

Down the Hatch


Who knew? There’s a tiny area in New Mexico that grows a chili with a mild to medium heat and a meaty flesh in a very short growing season. They must be the chili equivalent of our Vidalia onions, and their appearance each year around Labor Day is celebrated in their home area and much anticipated everywhere. The Alps Road Kroger Manager, Scott Hatchett, tells me that his store will be roasting the Hatch chiles from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. out in front this Sunday, Sept. 15 and Monday, Sept. 16. Kroger chefs will be on hand to discuss recipes using the chiles, and the chiles will of course be for sale. This is a really big deal for chili lovers, so here’s your chance to stock up and to learn new ways to use them. The same kind of Hatch chili cooking and demonstrations will be going on across the street at Fresh Market on Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15.