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The Wright Opinion - Countywide memories
Seth Wright.jpg

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We made it through another one and now, here we are on Black Friday. This week signals the start of the Christmas season but it also means a lot of different things to different people.

To me, it means several things, including the sense of existential dread that comes with being a Vandy football fan and knowing the UT game is coming up. It also means seeing my wife's side of the family that almost always comes to visit from South Carolina for the weekend. And, it means we at the Standard have made it through another countywide paper.

At least twice a year, the Southern Standard has a countywide edition which we send out for free to the whole county. It has many more sections than our typical paper. That means a lot more content is required and we work for multiple days to put out that one paper. While it's a lot more stressful, I have always kind of enjoyed the countywide. The extra pages to fill and the earlier deadlines mean a little more focus on feature stories than breaking news. That leads to the kind of pages I enjoy building with bigger pictures and what I like to call cheesy graphics. 

I also have a special place in my heart for the Thanksgiving countywide because it led to me meeting my wife. It's a story that takes a little while to explain but, briefly, I'm quite the Star Wars nerd. In 1999 as the hype for Star Wars Episode I was at a fever pitch, I found myself in the Hello Kitty heaven that was Ashley's Attic, the local children's clothing and gift store. I had been told the store was carrying some hard-to-find Star Wars merchandise so I made my way there and became a pretty good customer. I enjoyed talking to owner Helen Gillentine (even though she referred to Star Wars villain Darth Maul as the devil) and I bought enough stuff that she, as she is known to do, threw in some free Star Wars things for me. That stuck with me. 

Flash forward to 2005. As I mentioned, countywide taxes the writers and it becomes an all-hands-on-deck proposition so the editor asked me, the graphic designer, to do a countywide story about the hottest toys for Christmas in Warren County. Now, there weren't that many options for locally owned toy stores then and I remembered how nice Helen had been to me so I decided to go to Ashley's Attic to do the story.

When I arrived, Helen had stepped out of the store for a while and her daughter, Ashley, was filling in. And that's how I met the woman I'd eventually marry in 2009.

So I'll always credit Star Wars toys and the Southern Standard countywide issue for the blessing of meeting my wife.

Managing Editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191