Another Day, Another Fifty Cents

Retiring Gwen Kinard gets a Key to the City from Laurens mayor John Stankus. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, June 28, 2018, 10:14 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

It’s going to be another week that was. By definition. To quote one of my songs, “No matter where you go, there you are.”

This one, though, has been particularly enlightening.

I’m making a transition into a job running the county’s news site,, which also has within it a because Laurens County is one of relatively few counties with two towns of roughly the same size. Laurens is the county seat, and Clinton is, oh, where the college, the Presbyterian one, is. The relationship requires some customizing. The short explanation above is absurdly simplified, but the purpose here isn’t a detailed analysis. I’ve been writing stories for GoLaurens/GoClinton for quite a while, but I haven’t ever done layout.

(Monte Dutton photo)

I’ve got to make plans and have meetings and learn all the facts and figures I didn’t know. My crowded life is getting more crowded, but that’s a familiar story, and perhaps now it will pay for itself again.

Wednesday was extraordinarily productive. I spent the day juggling, which sounds like fun, and is, but the balls in the air weren’t literal. I was writing, researching, editing, interviewing, picture taking, and updating as everything came in. By day’s end, I had five stories ready to go.

The best was an inspirational tale about a woman who miraculously made a small fortune on The Price Is Right.

Catie Rawls, who is in the Miss South Carolina pageant.

Another was about a Laurens girl who is, right now, competing in the Miss South Carolina Pageant.

Two more were about the all-star play of Laurens baseball in Little League and Clinton in Dixie Youth.

One was about the retirement of the much-respected City Clerk and Treasurer of Laurens.

Part of the reason all these stories converged was that I wanted a healthy variety to place on the site. This did not work out because the access I was granted did not give me enough of it to do any actual work. I spent a while on the phone with a company that administers web sites, only to find out that someone else has to grant me such access, and that person thought it was already done, and he’s a busy man, and he’s trying to get it straightened out but hasn’t yet. I held back one story and I’m hopeful that it will be the first one I truly take from start to finish.

This shouldn’t be hard for anyone to understand. Modern life is filled with such aggravations. Most days are not filled, as John Denver thought his were, with “easy country charm.” The country is considerably less charming, even for those of us who are out in it.

Personally, I think it’s one reason why so many people on social media stay ticked off all the time.

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

(Steven Novak cover)

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which are available for sale here.

The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.


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