Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where's Guy Sharpe When You Need Him?

There are two extremely beautiful, wonderful times to be thankful for living in the North Georgia mountains.

One is fall. The leaves turn a gorgeous, fiery red and yellow overnight. The air is crisp, the apples are ripe, peanuts are boiling, and you can't drive half a mile without seeing some different hue.

The other is when it storms. You can smell the rain before it arrives, as it comes over the hills. Then the thunder starts, lightning follows, and next thing you know, the wind and rain make you think you're going to be blown away.

When we lived in Florida, you could forecast the gravity of the weather simply by watching the weathermen. If they had a coat and tie on, you were okay. If they removed their jacket, be a little concerned. If there was no jacket, their tie was loosened, and their sleeves were rolled up, look out. A hurricane was close at hand.

The closest we get to hurricanes up here are sporadic tornadoes. I know, I know, tornadoes can be deadly. I lived through Hurricane Andrew. No weather scares me.

I read today where Jim Axel, former anchorman for WAGA Channel 5 in Atlanta (the real Channel 5, back when it was a CBS station) has terminal cancer. He retired to South Florida along with about 10 gazillion other folks, mostly Yankees who didn't know how to dress. But I digress.

News was predictable and reassuring when guys like Jim Axel did the reporting. He, along with Ray Moore at WSB (when it was an NBC affiliate) gave even the worst news a calm makeover before it was broadcast. Today, every newscast I watch begins with BREAKING NEWS!, EXCLUSIVE! to whatever station I happen to be watching, full of ACTION! and reporting YOU'LL ONLY SEE HERE!

NEWSFLASH! (pun intended). Everything is not a crisis.

We need Jim Axel.

Guy Sharpe did the weather. He never took his jacket off or loosened his tie. Too unprofessional. The weather was the weather, God was in charge, and there ain't nothing you can do about it. When he spoke at a Baptist Brotherhood meeting Daddy took me to, I watched in awe as he gave his testimony. Without a pointer or a map of Georgia with temperatures on it. Amazing. Then I found out he lived in The Rock, Georgia, halfway between my hometown and Thomaston. We were practically neighbors! I bragged on seeing him in person at school for a solid week. My classmates were impressed. I had met Guy Sharpe!

Ed Thilenius (sports) had grown children living in Barnesville. Ed loved the Bulldogs, Braves, tolerated the Yellow Jackets, and was on the fence about the Falcons. I wonder what he would have said about Michael Vick.

Now I'm stuck with Dagmar Midcap (I am not making this up) as the premier weatherperson in Atlanta. She's not a meteorologist. She's just...well, Google her and you'll see.

Dagmar Midcap is not the most unusual name in news I've ever heard. When we lived in Moultrie, the sports guy at WALB in Albany (pronounced All-benny--trust me) was Ducky Wall. I am not making this up.

Ken Cook is about as close as we come to a real weatherman. Problem is, he doesn't mind breaking in to whatever I'm watching at the most inopportune time to tell me about SEVERE WEATHER. I can change channels, but I'll get ACCU-WEATHER, DOPPLER RADAR, or some variation.

Guy Sharpe would tell me at Noon, Six, and Eleven what my weather was going to be. In the meantime, enjoy the show. I sure do miss him.


Michael Ruffin said...

Goodness, you took me back. What was that weather girl's name who was on the ABC station in Atlanta during that same era? I think it was Faye something.

We get WALB from Albany. Ducky is no more; at least he's not on tv anymore. I always figured that he and Gil Patrick must have owned the station--there was no other explanation for them being on the air.

emily said...

i love ken.