A little girl in Andrews, NC….

Last Thursday was one of those days that once again, I was touched.

If you look at this face above, this little girl. I am not sure her name…we never met formally. Thursday, I was working on a project…telling the story of “The Welcome Table”. This is a program put together by the Andrews United Methodist Church in Andrews, NC. Each Thursday, Andrews UMC partners with other churches to provide a meal to the community. From 5 to 6pm every Thursday, anyone from the community can come to have a meal, free of charge.

As leaders from Andrews UMC told me, unemployment in this rural area of Western North Carolina is high. Many of the manufacturing companies and other large businesses either closed or moved out of town. Many families left to figure out what next. The project was to document the day, find the story, and tell the mission of the Rural Church Initiative for the Duke Divinity School. I literally had one hour to capture the story, find the right people, interview them, and capture the essence of this day for others to see.

I was working the room, trying to capture the moments from a far with my video camera and digital camera…I began to gain the trust of those who were there for diner or maybe some fellowship. The pastor says that between 50 and 100 people from the community come to the Welcome Table on Thursdays. They come for many reasons, whether they do not want to eat supper alone, they have friends who attend, or they need a hot meal. Whatever the reason, Andrews UMC wants to provide the opportunity for the community to share with one another.

Some of the people thought I was a journalist with my big cameras. They have experience with “these types.” You see, I used to be one of “those” people. I have been to Andrews twice before. Once in 1998 when they thought that Eric Robert Rudolf had appeared in Andrews. I was there working, with my big cameras, trying to find a story. Then again in 2006 when they actually caught Eric Robert Rudolf. I was there covering that story…once again coming to this town in search of the big story.

On Thursday, As I made small talk with many of the volunteers, they asked me where I was from…I shared with them that I was from South Carolina. I also shared with them that I had been here before…twice. They knew it was for the reasons I just described…and they were glad I was here capturing a great story.

But I was struck…by the face of this little girl. As I sat across the room, capturing her face as she was eating her watermelon…I was struck, humbled, embarrassed, and scared. I am not sure why this little girl and her family were here today. I could only speculate that her little tummy was hungry. Here I am, I have had my share of meals. I almost felt a sense of sadness and doubt coming across her face.

She has no stake in this game. She has no fight in this political madness. She is just eating a meal. I thought about all the many children across our America…hungry, mothers and fathers unemployed, no insurance, no healthcare…who are we? Who are we to squabble about numbers, political discourse that leads to nothing but chest pounding resolve…this little girl. She is our future…

Andrews UMC has a big heart. They are reaching out to this community with one mission, to give. This Thursday…they are providing a good meal to close to 75 people; young, old, black, white, males, females, believers, and non-believers. They believe in their community.

This little face struck me and made me think all the way home. Think about my little girl, Rose Frances who will be here in September.

How about an Apprentice or two for the Road Trip?

I was wondering what would happen if the next project for the Apprentice would be to put on a Road Trip Show for WCNC-TV. Could you imagine replacing our crew (outside of the talent – Chris, Sonya, Terri, Chuck, and Mike) with the Apprentice cast? The task would be specific, choose a location to put on the Road Show and the crew that has the most viewers wins! Haaaaa, they would SINK! It would be like last week’s episode where the group that put together a baseball display at Dick’s Sporting Goods and actually brought sales down by thirty-four percent. But the best part about this idea is that the process that would un-fold while preparing, directing, producing and actually shooting live television would make for some GREAT TV!

I can just see the debacle that would un-fold. One group would come-up with some lame idea for a stop that would sound good in the planning room but would be plain out boring television. I can see it now; they would choose a nature preserve with beautiful wildlife. A place where families and elementary schools come for an education experience…and no one shows up, and all they are left with is a room full of boring experts! In between the uhmmms and uhhs you could here the clicking of the remote control. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK.

The other group would probably choose a cool idea like a sporting event. This would actually be the best one for television, not because of the idea but because it would be a logistical nightmare! They would have ten different places to showcase and not enough cable to reach…only if the cable gods were with them that day! Oh…they would drag out the cable, but bust there butts trying to get from the interview of a coach on the floor to the interview with general manager in the suite. I can see that one camera, running with cable attached, up a huge flight of stairs and bust while running through the stands. Then you would see the project manager in the production truck screaming on their headset while Carolyn is in the background shaking her head, not trying to laugh. This could be great television.

And at the end of the day, they would go to the board room and the group that covered the sporting event would obtain a bigger audience, and the Donald would look at the other group and ask, “Whose idea was it to choose the Nature Preserve?” He would then say, “Even I know great TV, and that is not definitely great TV! YOU’RE ALL FIRED!!! As for the winning group, you all get one night stay in the lovely accommodations provided by Tom Johnson’s RV. You will be eating exquisite BBQ while sitting on leather chairs covered with purple lips, and have either moon-pies or oatmeal cream pies for desert. Go Enjoy!!!”

Well, let me tell you that last night was great TV at the Pep Rally in Matthews. Two sides with dueling bands and dueling cheerleaders! There was lots of action including two cheerleader teams trying to out acrobat each other. I was just waiting for one those girls to face plant into the asphalt. Well, apparently you – our viewers – thought it was great TV because a lot more of you tuned in to check out the spectacle! Well, tune in today at 4:30pm for Road Trip Extra as we head to the Furniture Mart in Hickory, and for those of you in Hickory…come on out for the largest furniture sale in North Carolina!


Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/how_about_an_ap.html