Lumbering along through life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

If the word "unique" could properly describe something quantitatively or qualitatively n which it can't, in the purest sense n then "Lumbering Along" might be characterized as the most gol-dangdest, uniquest periodical of all time.

What "Lumbering Along" was was a journal that was printed at random times on the presses The Greenville Advocate used to run. Its contributors were legion, but it had but one editor, the one and only, the redoubtable Miss Olive Spann.

The newspaper was produced by, and was about the folks of the Chapman area, about 15 miles down U.S. 31from Greenville.

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The subject matter of Lumbering dealt with primarily with the lives and times of the owners and employees of the W.T. Smith Lumber Company.

Miss Olive's productions, if classified, would have to be grouped right along with the murals of prehistoric cave dwellers and cuneiform (etchings in stone).

That evaluation is not applied here in an effort to downgrade the paper, but merely to emphasize its singularity, to point out its "once in a lifetime" rarity.

Anything of interest that occurred in the Rocky Creek area was duly recorded in the periodical, and was avidly read by those fortunate enough to fall heir to one of the tabloid-size newspapers.

From the highest in the social order to the most menial of the unskilled, Lumbering Along was representative of all the people.

For instance, in side-by-side front-page stories one might read an accounting of a "nice knife fight down by the creek between Willie James and Tyrone," and a report of a coming-out, or Cotillion Club debutante ball in Mobile.

Those were the days, my friend, when folks told things just like they saw them, serenely oblivious to any such folderol as libel laws or other impedimentia that hassles our present day life styles.

It was a sad day, in the mid-50s when W.T. Smith was cursed with a vicious strike that seriously interrupted the earning power of many families. Along with the earning power went the last vestige of the real "free press" of that era as found in Lumbering Along.

Buster MacGuire is copy editor and columnist for the Greenville Advocate.

He may be reached by calling 334.382.3111