Good morning and welcome to the colors of the central coast. Today we are going to feature a magnificent night from the evening of February 5. The codependent clouds created a gigantic canvas that filled the skies with fabulous colors which then ricocheted off the sand at Natural Bridges State Beach like they were on a trampoline of visual voluptuousness. (Did I actually just write that?) It was quite the night-I’m just glad I had film in my digital camera. I love it when the sky explodes this way-almost as much as I enjoyed the Wednesday night NBA doubleheader of Lakers-Suns and Celtics-Warriors. NBA sunset action-it’s fantastic.
Speaking of fantastic, isn’t it great that we can just turn on the faucet or shower and have water anytime and as much as we like? Have you ever thought, “what if I could do this for three hours a day?” Well, they did in one tiny town in Tennessee. Try saying that three times fast. Back in November, Mayor Tony Reames used to strictly ration the water in Orme, Tenn. At precisely 6 p.m. every night, he would drive to the town’s rusty 17,000 gallon water tower and turns a valve allowing the precious liquid to flow. The people below start filling gallon jugs, washing clothes, taking showers and practicing synchronized swimming routines. At 9 p.m. the mayor would turn the supply off. “I wish I could leave it on for another hour.” he said. “But we only have so much.”
Orme, like much of the Southeast, suffered through a terrible drought in late 2007 and into 2008. In Georgia, where 60 percent of the streams are at record low points, the governor led a “pray for rain and a point guard for the Hawks” service on the capital steps on back on Nov. 13. In North Carolina, nearly 80 percent of Tar Heel fans are under water-use restrictions. But the old mining town of Orme, population 142, where the waterfall that once supplied water is nothing more than a trickle, where the wells are sulphurous, was the hardest hit of all. This place makes Mayberry look like Miami Beach.
The water they did have was imported from sweet home Bridgeport, Alabama, just three miles away and located on the Tennessee River. Every other day volunteer firefighters would drive Orme’s 1961 diesel fire engine into Bridgeport, where they’d fill the 1,500 gallon truck with water from a fire hydrant. It takes about ten trips to fill the water tower and about a ten trips to find any good Italian cuisine in the area. I’m talking a little lasagna, baked mostaccioli and some eggplant parmigiana.
So here’s the good news. Orme received a federal grant to install a new water line from Alabama back in late November. Water and Gatorade now flow 24 hours a day. What’s the lesson learned? Says the mayor, “We’re all at the mercy of the environment. If it can happen in Orme, where we have a waterfall, it can happen anywhere.” I say what happens in Orme, stays in Orme.
But wait, this isn’t just water under the bridge. The record drought in the American southeast has now stretched into its second year. Get ready for this, bottled water fans. The Georgia state senate just approved a measure that in essence would move the state line 1.1 miles north into Tennessee, running it right thru a bend in the Tennessee River. This would allow Georgia to siphon billions of gallons of water without Tennessee’s permission. Holy Cowl, Batman.
The border between the two states was established 200 years ago by a surveyor named James Camak, but unfortunately, he missed it by a mile. This guy would have made some mohel. Or in the words of Agent 86 Don Adams from the TV classic ‘Get Smart,’ “Missed it by that much, chief.” Meanwhile, Mayor Ron Littlefield of Chattanooga, Tennessee can’t believe Georgia is serious. “Shifting the line would upset thousand and thousands of people. Whole neighborhoods would have to relocate.” In the words of one incredulous resident, “If I wanted to live in Georgia I would have bought a house there to begin with.” You go girl. Love that Volunteer pride.
Georgia would get roughly 110 square miles of Tennessee, including portions of Chattanooga and the rights to Peyton Manning’s college transcripts. Tennessee says it will fight any border change and is making jokes about the whole affair. Georgia is dead peach serious. The need water and they want it now. This will all be settled in the courtroom or at halftime of the next Georgia-Tennessee football game.
So on this day birthday wishes go out to my brother Paul up in Marin County. Paul has been like a brother to me and was the person who told Commissioner David Stern years ago that “NBA action is fantastic.” That selfless act still entitles him to the Commish’s seats at any Golden State Warrior game he chooses. It is also the birthday of one of my favorite people in the medical field, Dr. J., Julius Erving. I super loved Dr. J’s high flying, mind blowing, slam dunking game and used to have a life size 7 foot poster of him in my bedroom before my then girlfriend and now wife made my take it down. For some reason she didn’t want a 6’8″ superstar staring at her when she went to sleep. I understood her feelings completely and replaced it with a poster of Dominique “the Human Highlight Film” Wilkens. I’m guess I’m just a hopeless romantic.
So have a great sports weekend, enjoy the western sky and we’ll catch you on Monday for some sunrise splendor. Later, sports fans.