Notes from Jackson Street: Searching for the perfect, empty chair

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By JOHN A. WINTERS, Publisher

Years ago when I ran a newspaper up in Juneau, Alaska, I had the perfect office chair. 

Dark green leather, brass brad trim, perfect rolling wheels, an amazing tilt – not too hot, not too cold so to speak. And of course, fit me like the proverbial glove.

When I transferred to another newspaper, I tried taking that chair with me. I was greeted with a polite, but firm, “no,” from the office manager. “Furniture stays.”

I know many of you tolling in offices are continuously on the search for the perfect chair, especially since we sit in them way too long. I have found a couple of replacements, but nothing ever matches that first love. Who’s with me?

But I digress. I LOVE my new office chair. The one I am sitting in now as I write this column. The one I hope is not reading over my shoulder.

My chair hunts these days are limited in scope to the month of September. It always occurs during the Kiwanis Coweta County Fair and the particular day is “Special Needs Day.”

It is my favorite day of the Fair. It is any Newnan Kiwanian’s favorite day. That’s when we open the Fair for a private party for all the special needs kids and adults, their caregivers and family.

Orders are simple. Go have fun.

One year during my scavenger hunt I found a chair with all the bells and whistles you could imagine. It could be operated by finger, had a big battery in the back and some pretty awesome tires. Bright red if I remember. But I have forgotten how long they told me the charge lasts.

Another year it was one with racing stripes. There were belts to hold the occupant in, as well as head straps and padded sides.

Each year I found “the one.” Each was unique, tailored to the special person like the proverbial glove and I loved them all. 

Despite their uniqueness, motorized or not, different sized batteries, belts, cushions, colors and so forth … they all had one thing in common when I snapped the photo.

They were empty. 

The kids and adults usually confined to those chairs were soaring with angels high on the Ferris wheel; captaining a pirate ship; riding a horse round and round; skiing through the Himalayan mountains; or simply holding a baby chick. 

Anything is possible at the Fair. Especially on that day.

Like I said, it’s our club members’ favorite day. 

The other is when we hand out checks to local nonprofits from proceeds made during the Fair. On average, the Kiwanis Club gives back more than $150,000 each year. More than 35 local charities receive funds.

If you go to the fair, ride rides, grab food or try your luck at the various games, you are also helping our local nonprofits – so thank you.

Hopefully between us, the medical community and nonprofits, we can have more empty chairs.

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