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Southern hospitality has never been better

By By Robert Blankenship
Managing Editor
Four years ago I was a college student making my way through journalism school in Florence, Ala. – a stone's throw from the Tennessee border. Today, I am the new managing editor of one of the best community newspapers in the state and live a stone's throw from the Florida border. Just another example of how quickly things can change.
My wife, Melissa, and I already feel at home, thanks in large part to the many people we've met who have been so hospitable and kind. The fact that our second day in Atmore was highlighted by the Fourth of July Celebration also gave us a great sense of the type of community we were now calling home. How could we not have been excited after an evening like that?
But, the fact remains that my first few weeks have been spent learning my new organization and co-workers. In the coming weeks I am looking forward to getting out of the office more and getting to know many of you face-to-face. In the meantime, I will waste some space in this edition to tell you a little about myself.
Yes, I am originally a Yankee – all the way from Russellville, Ala. Though I never considered myself a northerner, a gentleman in Greenville informed me that people from that end of the state are Yanks. I told my wife when we decided to move further south that the people here might consider us Canadians.
I graduated from Russellville High School way back in 1990 and attended the University of North Alabama in Florence. Upon graduating, my wife and I hit the circuit – living in Florence, Montgomery and Dallas, Texas before moving to Butler County to work at the Greenville Advocate.
Now that you know where I come from, perhaps I should give more details.
Sports: In my experience, one of the first things most people want to know is on which side of the Iron Bowl fence I reside. That's easy – Alabama. I used to hate Auburn with a passion, but over the past few years I have come to realize that I do want the Tigers to succeed if for no other reason than increasing the plot during the annual contest. However, I am not a rout-for-Auburn-when-they're-not-playing-Bama fan. I will watch Auburn play, but if they lose it is of no consequence to me personally. But, I would like to see both teams return to national prominence and make the Iron Bowl the marquee game it used to be.
Politics: I have to say that I am either a conservative democrat or a liberal republican. It is all too confusing for my little brain to handle. What I don't understand is why we have to decide whether we are conservative or liberal before we know what the issue is. It just seems to me that it should be the other way around. Would it be impossible for one problem to be solved through a liberal plan while another could be handled better with a more conservative approach? I must have gone to the snack bar when the line was drawn in the sand and everyone chose sides.
Entertainment: The truth is that I watch too much television. I almost feel uncomfortable if I'm at home and I do not have the remote in my hand. The sad thing is that there is never anything on. I watch the Braves habitually, which I do consider quality programming. However, there are some nights I will sit there and flip the channels seeing only a collage of filth, violence and downright stupidity. After a few hours of this I will either fall asleep or read.
Secret of Life: To love your life and your place in the world. I have a wonderful wife and a caring family who will do anything for me. I enjoy my job and am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given, both in Atmore and everywhere else I have been for the 28 years of my life. Certainly, I will work to improve the circumstances for my family, but I cannot complain so far.
Besides, what else do I have to dowatch television?