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October 6, 2000

You think you know people pretty well, but to really get to know them you need to take a bus tour with them. Laura and I joined a Perry bank's trip to the Old South last week and made some fascinating discoveries. Not just about the places we visited, but the other folks who made the trip. As for the stopover sites, they were all interesting because they were mostly new to us. It was the people around us that made the eight-day trip so enjoyable. Most of them were not new to us but we still learned things we had not previously known about them.

Almost all were from the Perry area, and even the "outsiders" had close enough ties that they can be considered authentic home folks. But some of those still surprised us. A good example: We were not previously aware of the wit and wisdom of Bert Bezdicek and Richard Randall. They kept our entire motor coach in stitches with imaginative stories about the grand opening of their reflexology massage parlor, featuring the use of a flea market item purchased by Elaine Randall. It was completely spontaneous and, of course, totally fanciful, but funny just the same. All I can say is, you should have been there. It was a good time for all of us. Added to that were the joys of skimming the surface of Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and. Atlanta, then flying home with the vows by just about everybody to catch up on their sleep this week.

Changes are taking place in the official city family. Former Fire Chief David Henry left that post to fill the newly created position of Code Enforcement Officer and veteran firefighter Pete Tell was named to succeed him. Now, longtime City Librarian Karen Bigbee has retired and interviews are being conducted to choose her replacement. David Henry and Karen Bigbee have each given just about the maximum in their former jobs and they deserve thanks and praise from all of us. For greatly different reasons, their jobs were demanding and each took the stressful rigors in stride. Thanks, David and Karen, for your dedication and service, and best wishes in all your future endeavors.

Stagecoach Community Theatre is wasting no time in putting together the first production for the shiny new auditorium at the Perry Heritage Center. "The Wrong Mr. Wright," a melodrama, is one play under consideration. The interesting historical angle is that this very same play was the first one offered when the old Grand Opera House opened in the early years of the last century on the east side of the square. Stagecoach learned that the play is still available and auditions for a November opening were announced. It will be a dinner theater presentation in response to the wishes of many Stagecoach theater-goers. If you are even thinking about taking part in this stage experience, contact Sue Klingaman, the director, and let her know about it. You will treasure the experience and Stagecoach always needs actors and actresses. Our community is so fortunate to have Stagecoach and now we have a wonderful new theater at the Heritage Center to showcase the talent. Let's make good use of the artistry and the physical facilities offered to this community.