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John Winters Columnist

Published Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's just stuff

Sometimes you have to let things go.

It can be painful, but there can also be a release of sorts. Too often we hold on to whatever, even when we know it’s time to move on.

Sometimes we get to make that call; sometimes it is thrust upon us. The former, in my opinion, is preferred, but no one said life is fair.

I totaled our BMW.

Change that. I was involved in what I thought was a somewhat minor fender bender. The insurance company totaled my car. My BMW was worth next to nothing - to them.

Worth is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?

The fact the Beemer was 20 years old didn’t help my case. But we loved that car. We bought it in Alaska. We drove it on the Alaska highway, which is one of the greatest driving experiences in the world.

Think German Autobahn followed by two-hour waits for a pilot car to thread you through last winter’s frost heave that tore up miles of highway. Imagine winding your way through earth-moving trucks so large the driver sits four stories up in the cab. Imagine seeing a beautiful mountain in the distance, and seeing the same damn mountain for the next three hours. You may not see another car for hours.

There is an inch-thick book called the Alaskan Milepost, the bible for motorists. It tells you how many miles to the next gas station, which can be 200 miles. It is not unusual for people to carry extra gas tanks.

I taught the Little Black Dress how to drive a standard in that car. “Put ... In ... The ... Clutch ... Put ... In ... The ... Clutch ... I would stammer more than once as the car cried out for mercy.

But back to The Incident.

I was on Herring Road and came up to the intersection with U.S. 29 across from Wesley Woods. A car was in front of me and I stopped behind it. I looked to the left and saw a car just cresting the hill and decided I had time to make it before it arrived. And so I started forward. Unfortunately, the car in front of me waited. And so I plowed right into its fender.

And, of course, because life isn’t fair, there was a small dent on the other car’s back bumper. I apparently hit in “just the worst spot” and my left front end pretty much crumpled.

The other driver, in a dark car with tinted windows, got out and all of a sudden some blue lights went on in its back window. And then I noticed the county license plate. We shook hands, made sure everyone was okay - I had two of the SONs of Thunder with me - and surveyed the damage.

“You with the sheriff’s office?” I asked. That would be a yes. Covering public safety for the newspaper, I knew most of the investigators, but met this one that day. And so we began to do the whole “do you know so and so” routine. And, of course, he was off to meet with another investigator whom I had interviewed for a story the day before.

Being a sheriff’s office vehicle, we had to call in the Georgia State Patrol. A few minutes later the trooper showed up.

“John, what have you done?” were the first words out of his mouth. Yeah, knew him, too.

About that time I called The Dress. I believe the conversation went something like this:

“Um, I was in a small wreck.” “How’s the BMW?” “I’m fine.” “Did you total it?” “Um, I’m fine.” “Are the SONs hurt?” “They’re fine.” “It’s totaled, isn’t it?” “I’m fine.” “Not for long.”

This was going well.

Fast forward to The Call with the insurance company rep, who was quite polite but did not say a single thing I wanted to hear. I was told the damage was about a thousand dollars more than they valued the car. Ta da.

And so the car search began. Sometimes, in the midst of disaster, you can still find some good. And we did. The new car, not new, but newer, is way more comfortable, drives like a dream, has better gas mileage and, to kick it off, the insurance is less than on the 20-year-old BMW. Go figure. And The Dress loves it, which we all know is the only thing that really matters.

The ribbing still continues. For some reason about half the sheriff’s office and police department folks drove by my wreck that day. And they let me know it, too.

In fact, I was at the jail the other day, checking the arrest logs, and the sheriff walked by.

We shared our good mornings and then he stopped, turned to me and said, “you know John, we like to keep our cars on the road to protect the citizens.”

Great. I might as well write a column about it and let everyone know.


John A. Winters is a staff writer for The Newnan Times-Herald. Follow the adventures at justflipthedog.com . You can reach him at john@newnan.com .

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  10. Obituary: Herbert Lee Emory, 61, of Douglasville, Georgia, passed away Saturday, April 12, 2014. He was born April 2, 1953 in Transylvania County, North Carolina, the son of Mrs. Joyce Sanders Emory and the late Mr. John Lee Emory. In 1971, he left his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and moved to Atlanta where he attended the Atlanta School of Broadcasting and National School of Broadcasting. He was a longtime WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News traffic reporter, and was referred to as “Captain Herb.” He had been with WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News since 1991. Captain Herb has served as an Atlanta traffic reporter since 1971. He previously was a News/Traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WSNE (Cumming), WDGL (Douglasville), WFOM (Marietta), WACX (Austell), WQXI-AM, 94Q-Star 94, Georgia Network News. Over the years, he spent many hours a week in a helicopter hovering over metro Atlanta’s traffic and was known as a friend to the Atlanta commuters. He had a great love for radio, NASCAR and community involvement. He hosted more charity events than any other WSB personality, including hosting the annual Toys for Tots fundraiser at Fred’s Barbecue House, Lithia Springs. Captain Herb hosted and produced the WSB Speed Shop auto racing, with his wife, Karen, from 1993 until 2011. He has earned at least 15 First Place Awards, including two Green Eyeshades, for news and traffic reports from the Georgia Associated Press Assoc. and other media organizations. He served as President of the Georgia Associated Press Broadcasters Association (GAPBA) in 1990/91 and served on the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Board of Directors. He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the inaugural Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award in 2012. He had a great love for Douglas County and was always willing to volunteer for community events, particularly those involving children, the military and veterans. He had a great respect for all First Responders across the nation and had a special friendship with members of the Douglas County Sheriff Department. He served on the Friends of Sweetwater Creek State Park Board of Directors, and was a member of the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board. Captain Herb most recently emceed the homecoming for Olympic Medalist Elana Meyers and helped escort the "Remembering Our Fallen" exhibit with the American Legion Riders to the Douglas County Courthouse. He will be greatly missed by his family, coworkers, friends, neighbors and the community. In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by his son, Joseph Lee Emory his father-in-law, William Martinell; and uncle, Rev. Joseph Sanders. He is survived by his beloved wife of 24 years, Karen Emory of Douglasville; his mother, Joyce Sanders Emory of North Carolina; aunt, Doris C. Sanders of Florida; cousins, Loriane and John Lambert of Indiana and Debra Jo and Frank Bright of Florida, and J.J. Bright of Florida; mother-in-law, Joan Martinell of Newnan; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Lynn Wilson of Alpharetta, Patty and John Baker of Ft. Collins, CO, Robyn Adams of Senoia, and Bill and Sherry Martinell of Eugene, OR; five nephews, Ryan Wilson of Alpharetta, Russell and Kate Baker of Fort Collins, CO, Matthew Baker of Tampa, FL, Bryan Baker of Aspen, CO, and Patrick Baker of Denver, CO; one niece, Tayler Schnoor of Senoia; and adopted aunt, Geneva Gold of Newnan. Captain Herb’s impact was so eloquently stated by his colleague WSB’s Clark Howard: “He died of a heart attack, which is so ironic. This was a man who had more heart than anyone who I’ve ever had the privilege to know.” Anyone who had contact with Captain Herb, either in person or on the radio, will feel the loss of this great man. His family extended beyond his relatives especially to those members of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and his WSB Family, who he loved so much. His love of his family, friends and community will live on in the hearts of all those who ever had contact with Captain Herb. The family will receive friends at Jones-Wynn Funeral Home in Douglasville Tuesday, April 15, from 3 until 5 p.m. and from 7 until 9 p.m. Private Family Memorial Services will be conducted. His WSB Family will conduct a Celebration and Memorial for the public at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Captain Herb Emory may be made to the Douglas County Animal Shelter, 8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, GA 30134 – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/donation-in-honor-and-memory-of-captain-herb-emory-registration-9364175501 or A Gift of Love Services, 3870 Longview Drive, Douglasville, GA 30135 –http://www.agiftofloveservices.org . Captain Herb would want everyone to keep a smile on your face and song in your heart. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.jones-wynn.com .
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