McCraine Law October 2017

October 2017

The George McCranie Law Firm

301 E. Jackson St., Douglas, GA 31533 • 912-383-7581 • 1400 Baytree Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602 • 229-232-4114

George F. McCranie, IV Best-Selling Author


Giant Pumpkins

Forklifts and cranes may be used mainly for construction work, but every fall, thousands of backyard gardeners use them as gardening tools — or rather, harvesting tools — for their largest single crop. Madge has been pestering me about growing some giant pumpkins for the last couple years. Could this be the big year? After you see how big these things really get, I think you’ll understand why I’m not up for it just yet. Massive pumpkins aren’t practical, but they can become a minor tourist attraction in your hometown and even win a few thousand bucks if they’re really huge. However, with the time and effort it takes to get them that big, farmers aren’t in it for the money. They’re in it for the glory.

like breeding a racehorse. It takes practice, cultivation, and even good genes. Competitive growers will often purchase the seeds of the previous year’s champions for their plant. After preparing the soil to make it extra fertile, they’ll plant the pumpkin in late winter or early spring. Before the gourd starts growing, flowers on the plant need to be pollinated. Farmers will usually take it upon themselves to pollinate, using pollen from plants with proven genetic lines. Winning pumpkins usually claim their “father” plant and “mother” seed, like racehorses. Growing a great pumpkin is practically a full-time job, with some farmers reporting spending 40 hours a week on it. Using heated soil, installing fences to reduce wind, adding sand to the patch,

and other specific cultivation techniques give the pumpkin a fighting chance to grow into a monster. But, in the end, there’s an element of luck. The competitive growing industry is getting bigger (pun intended). In 1979, the largest pumpkin on record was 438 pounds. Since 2008, the world record has been broken every year. The reigning heavyweight champion, grown in Germany last year, weighed in at 2,623 pounds. That’s as much as a 2018 Toyota Yaris or 1,748 standard pumpkin pies. So, I don’t think I’m up for getting into the competitive giant pumpkin growing with Madge just yet. But anyone who knows Madge will tell you, she usually gets what she’s after — just give her time to talk her daddy into it! –George

Growing these monstrous fruits (yes, they are technically fruits) is kind of | 1

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October means Halloween and the traditional party at our house. So, after getting all the party requirements, like decorations, food, drinks, scary masks, etc., I have a question: Where does fear come from? I see the jack-o’-lanterns with their grinning faces, skeletons, cobwebs, and gravestones in the yards around the neighborhood, and I think this is a question hanging in many of our minds. When you jump at the giant mechanical spider suspended above your neighbor’s garage, is that fear instinctual or is it learned? Well, I’ve done some checking, and according to the Association for Psychological Science, there are only two fears we inherit at birth: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds.

In the 1960s, there was a study that investigated depth perception in humans and animal species. They suspended a sheet of transparent plexiglass about 4 feet off the ground and covered one half of it with a checkerboard-pattern cloth, creating a simulated cliff. Infants, both human and animal, were then encouraged by their caregivers, usually their mothers, to crawl off the “cliff” onto the clear half of the platform. Both avoided stepping over what they perceived as a sharp drop, and pre- crawling-age infants showed heightened cardiac distress on the “suspended” side. Coupled with this innate fear of plummeting to the ground is something called the Moro reflex, one of several involuntary reflexes healthy newborn infants have at birth. Often called the “startle reflex,” it occurs

when a baby is startled by a loud sound or movement, especially a falling motion. The reflex usually triggers the newborn to lift and spread their arms as if grasping for support, followed by crying. Though the Moro reflex usually disappears at around 5 to 6 months of age, our instinctive aversion to sudden loud noises stays with us throughout our lives. So, this is what I’ve learned about fear with the help of Google. Now, it’s time for me to get back out there and set up our skeletons on the back porch. Lord knows Madge likes them to look like they’re crawling up the side of the house!

Happy Halloween!



kept me informed on my case, kept all of the charges off of my record, and kept me from getting a bench warrant (because I accidently went to the wrong courthouse on my court date). If I need a lawyer again, I will definitely give him a call. I recommend him to everyone.”

“They’re a very professional and honest group of people. They’re always straightforward and work very hard to reach the overall outcome that was set out for. They never stopped trying and ended up getting all the charges dismissed in my personal case.”

“My father hired Mr. McCranie for a few different cases. He and his staff are very professional, friendly, and considerate. I received brownies and a calendar, as well as newsletters which I still get now even after my case is closed. He not only took care of everything and answered all of my questions, he

–Bradley Y.


If you have a case involving a car accident, personal injury, wrongful death or workers’ compensation, please give us a call. We will answer your questions and get you to trusted attorneys that can help you!

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How to Help Your Kids

Get Over Their Fear of the Dark

Only give your child healthy snacks before sending them to bed. Sugars and processed foods activate brain activity, putting your kid on high alert. Try vegetables, nuts, or string cheese. Try to keep their diet regulated so they aren’t hyper at bedtime. Of course, adding more light is always an option as well. Get a lamp with a dimmer that goes on their nightstand or plug in a few fun night lights. Over the period of a few months, steadily decrease the amount of light in the room. Eventually, they’ll be fully acclimated to a dark room, and Mom and Dad will get a good night’s rest! —George

For many kids, there’s nothing scarier than the unknown of a dark room. Luckily, there are ways to help your child overcome the terror they feel as soon as you turn out the light. You can chase away the beasts away for good just in time for the spooky Halloween season. Trust me on this, we went through it with Madge. The first step to curing a child’s fear of the dark is to find out exactly what they’re afraid of. Ask your child what scares them using open-ended questions. Don’t belittle or dismiss their specific fears. As trivial as it may seem to you, it’s all too real to your kid. Things like shadows from the window, noises they hear from outside, certain dolls, etc. can all be scary to a child. A simple

statement like “I can see you’re really scared” can go a long way.

Then, you need to ensure your child feels safe in the dark. Spend some time with them after the lights are off, calmly reassuring them that they’re safe in their bedroom. Show that there’s nothing to be afraid of, whether by shining a light into the closet or taking a look under the bed — with the child looking too — to prove there’s nothing to worry about. Empower them to banish their fears themselves. If they get frightened and run into your bedroom, escort them back to their own bed and help them relax. Their own bedroom must become a safe space.

Have a Laugh on Us!

1) 2)

The first jack-o’-lanterns were made out of what?

A) Turnips B) Pumpkins

C) Watermelons D) Coconuts

In which century did the practice of trick-or-treating begin?

A) 16th century B) 18th century

C) 20th century D) 14th century


According to superstition, if you stare into a mirror at midnight on Halloween, what will you see?

A) Your future spouse B) Bloody Mary

C) Your dog D) Dead ancestor


How many colors of M&M’s are there in a normal bag?

A) 4 B) 10

C) 6 D) 8 | 3

301 E. Jackson St. Douglas, GA 31533



Inside This Issue

How Farmers Grow Those Giant Pumpkins PAGE 1

Which Fears Are Instinctual and Which Are Learned? PAGE 2

Client Testimonials PAGE 2

Cure Kids of Being Afraid of the Dark PAGE 3

Have a Laugh On Us! PAGE 3

Creative Halloween Treats PAGE 4

SIMPLE AND CREATIVE Halloween Treats to Make With Your Kids

Creating decked-out, really great costumes for your kids takes a lot of planning and hard work. If you want an easier way to make Halloween more creative this year, try creating these holiday-themed treats with your family. The results will be a lot more exciting than the standard fun-sized candy bars that you’ll have more than enough of after the holiday. Donut Monsters What you’ll need: glazed or plain donuts, M&M’s, plastic fangs These monsters require only brief assembly, and the effect is awesome. Simply buy your favorite glazed donuts — or make them yourself if you’re feeling adventurous — and some cheap, plastic fangs, and decorate. You can use red food coloring for a blood effect

and candy for eyes. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Melt your chocolate, dip America’s favorite cookies in it, and let them set. Ta-da! You’re left with the perfect blank canvas for your children (and you!). Run wild — from spider webs and ghosts to vampires and werewolves, you’ll have a unique treat for everyone at your party. Follow these simple instructions and don’t be afraid to get creative! You’ll delight kids of all ages this year.

Witch Finger Pretzels What you’ll need: large pretzel sticks, frosting, green and black food dye, almond slivers To start, dye the almond slivers black to make “fingernails.” Cut the pretzel rods down to finger-length and dip them in frosting dyed the pale green of witch’s skin. While the frosting is still soft, stick an almond fingernail at the tip. If you want extra details, use a toothpick to make knuckles in the frosting. These are Madge’s favorite! Spooky Oreos What you’ll need: Oreos, melting chocolate (white or bittersweet), decorations


P.S. George isn’t qualified to write about Halloween treats — grilling maybe, but NOT Halloween treats!

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