Traffic peeves; Alice Gaither

Published 9:40 am Thursday, August 16, 2018

Newspaper carriers see a lot as they travel our roads every morning.

And one carrier is just about as mad as he can get. In the past five years, he’s been in four wrecks. None were his fault.

One of the main problems he sees is people driving without their headlights on during dawn hours, and during fog. They also drive too fast, and make illegal and dangerous passes on country roads.

“I don’t want to be another fatality,” he said on Monday morning. “This scares the hell out of me.”

He knows that law enforcement is too short-handed to be everywhere, every day. And he knows if he can ever get his hands on one of the culprits he will probably make the news that he delivers.

A friend posted on Facebook Monday morning a scene she was witnessing on I-40 in Winston-Salem. The traffic was being diverted to one lane, the right lane, and motorists were speeding in the left lane to try to get to the front of the line.

That, folks, is breaking in line. And if you were standing still in a line waiting to buy a ticket to a movie or a concert and someone broke into that line in front of you, chances are that you would likely say something. It’s the same in traffic. It’s rude, made even worse when you nudge your vehicle in front of someone who has to either stop or hit your vehicle.

She wrote: “We are all in this together, folks, and while it is going to add more time to our morning, it would be so nice if everyone respected each other. It’s a yucky way to start the morning.”

I’ve always had advice for those sorts of people. Leave home sooner. Relax. Enjoy life. Quit ruining the day for people you don’t even know.

I can’t let the passing of Alice Gaither go by without recognition. I considered her like a mother. She would let me know when I had done something right; and she would let me know when something wasn’t right. She could tell me in a way that I not only knew that she was right, but that she still loved me.

I considered Mrs. Gaither to be Mocksville’s Maya Angelou. She was a reader and a poet – a good poet. She read her creation, “The Lady Cried,” about the flag after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at a special celebration in town.

She believed in children, and wanted them all to do their best – black or white. As a mainstay in Mocksville’s black community, she nurtured – intellectually, spiritually and physically – all who came into her home or life.

Mrs. Gaither said: “We need to be informed, especially our young people. There’s nothing better than feeling that you are somebody. I tried to instill that in all of my kids. There was no such thing as not having a book in my house … and prejudice wasn’t allowed in our house.”

I’ll definitely miss Alice Gaither. She submitted Black History Month articles for years, and let me know when we had published too many sex offender articles on the front page. “We’re better than that,” she would tell me, and she was right.

Doing what was right came early for Mrs. Gaither.

She once told me the story of when her and her sister, long ago, walked in the front door of Dr. Long’s office in Mocksville and took a seat. The receptionist noticed, and asked them if they needed a seat. No, they said, we already have one. Black people at the time were expected to go through the back door.

I’m sure she was anxious at the time, but she laughed about it later. And she told everyone she knew to go into the office through the front door.

She grew up in a strict home, and managed a strict household herself. Each child had to recite a Bible verse before having their evening meal.

Church was a big part of their lives, and she believed in dressing in her finest – never without a hat – to go to church.

Honor Mrs. Gaither this week. Lift someone up. Find someone who may be down, and let them know that they are somebody.

– Mike Barnhardt