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Keep the Good Vibes rolling

            This week our article about a philanthropic Old Mulehouse restaurant manager who organizes employee hikes, roadside cleanups, and wants to do even more do-goody things brings to an end a two-month series of Good Vibes articles.

            For this series, we published stories  written by the subjects themselves and also stories with people we interviewed explaining the things they enjoyed – where they found Good Vibes.

            It began after a longtime reader told our editor that we needed more positive pieces about people having fun. No politics or tragedy or government actions involved. In an editorial meeting our staff agreed that the suggestion should be given a high priority. Pickens County, for much of the past two or three years, has been anything but a sleepy town, from chaos on the school board to prominent people getting arrested to growth issues – and our reporters have worked hard to keep it all covered.

            But for this summer it was time to put a little emphasis in another direction – people having fun. 

            We have talked to  a couple who enjoys golf vacations; an empty-nest grandmother who has gotten serious about art; a couple that likes long distance cycling trips; a man who takes barbequing to a semi-pro level and provides smoked meats for non-profit events; a teenager who beats boredom by gaming; a mechanic whose basement has become a master guitar shop for repairs and building custom instruments; our Keep Pickens Beautiful president told how she grows a small garden in an unused jacuzzi tub; and last week we learned how an artist took inspiration from a trip and began creating barn quilts.                           This week we close it out, at least as a weekly series. With our schools underway and parents back in the usual grind, we felt this was the week to end it.

            We hope to keep the good vibes rolling on a regular, but not weekly, basis. We all get plenty of political, government, and tax news – and we’ll surely continue to remain dedicated to these beats. To find the fun stuff we need readers’ tips and in some cases, their own written accounts of people’s interesting interesting leisure pursuits.

            For the Good Vibes series we tried to find some unusual hobbies – we didn’t even know that barn quilts were made of wood not cloth – as well as some standard pastimes like golf, painting and grilling, all tried-and-true ways to relax.

            With both the new and regular, hearing people talk about why they enjoy the things they do was inspiring. The articles weren’t how-to guides. Rather, they were why to? Why go out with your spouse and play golf or spend time by yourself with a sketchbook.

            Ever since COVID and last election, it seems there has both been a pall and gloom over the national psyche. But at the same time, the pandemic isolation sparked a ton of people to spend time developing hobbies or practicing crafts. Heck, recall that at one point you couldn’t find canning supplies anywhere in Jasper as people on COVID leave were so busy putting up veggies.

            Learning better ways to cook brisket or planning a trip along a rails-to-trails route isn’t going to change the world, we get that. However, it surely can make it a more tolerable place to live and that is value in Good Vibes.

            Finally, thanks to all who shared their hobbies with us. For those who still want to talk about how they enjoy playing banjoes, keeping chickens or collecting face jug pottery – or who play some sport we have never even heard of – our e-mail is always open and our reporters are interested. Drop us a line at 

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