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Columns

  • Me, Jenny and Ranger Randy

    A few weeks ago I wrote an article about 24 days of extreme outdoor hiking, repelling, rock climbing, and canoeing I did with a group called Outward Bound North Carolina some 34 years ago. I lost 30 pounds during that time and looked like a survivor of a Nazi death camp at the end.  I was young and dumb then.
    Now, I’m just old and dumb.

  • Earn it yourself, kid

    The way I see it, in many ways this country is headed down hill fast; it’s in high gear and nobody’s touching the brakes.

  • Bloom like an amaryllis

    My wife, Lori, and I are not good with houseplants. When she brings home a new plant, I shake my head, knowing the plant’s likely demise. I want to pull it aside and whisper, “I’m so sorry she bought you. I promise I’ll pray for you.”

    If plants could muster a police force, they would charge Lori and me with negligent homicide.

    So last year, when some well-meaning friends gave us an amaryllis for Christmas, I thanked them kindly.

  • Where are your manners?

    I’m the first one to admit the world is ever changing, and that people, along with all of the other creatures on the earth, are slowly evolving. Sometimes, however, changes aren’t always for the best, and the traits we inherit may actually harm us in the end.

  • Graduates, consider your legacy

    By Dr. Harry Toder

    About three years ago, a high school teacher by the name of David McCullough at Wellesley (Massachusetts) High School gave the commencement address at that school. His address attracted a great deal of attention. His message to the graduates was, in essence, that they were not special. I think, more accurately, what he was attempting to convey to the graduates was that they should not have assumed they were special. He gave many statistics to prove his point.

  • State certified firefighter in 178 hours?

    It has been my experience that the folks who do the best in life are those who spot opportunity and act on it.

    These people are not any smarter than the rest of us. But they take action when the fire is hot and make a commitment while the rest of us don‘t.

    It’s also been my experience in life that you don’t want to be those folks who 20 years after the fact say “I should have, I could have, I would have” when successful people accomplish something you wish you did.

  • A gardener’s dilemma: do I stay or do I go?

    A friend and gardening mentor told me when I first ventured into this labor of love called gardening that this hobby should be relaxing. “If it’s stressful,” he told me, “you’re taking it too seriously.”

    His words echo in my ears as I stare at the freshly plowed ground, that chore the courtesy of a friend kind enough to break up the soil for me.

    It happens every year: “Can I do this? Do I really want to start with the planting, the cultivating, the weeding?”

  • Racism still a problem with all races

    In journalism, if you need a source for a story, you talk to someone who has a point of view to share for your story. You do that regardless of the person’s background, and particularly regardless of their race.

    Usually, I find myself on the side of the news story where I’m the one asking the questions. Rarely have I been the one interviewed. But Monday morning, I received a telephone call that placed me as a source for a story to be aired on television.

  • Hurting the ones you love

    “Why is there ever this perverse cruelty in humankind, that makes us hurt most those we love best?”
    - Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen

    I had a really good weekend and I really, really needed it.

    Cindy and I went to Madisonville to spend the weekend with our oldest daughter and her husband, and most of all, our granddaughter, Natalie.

    We didn’t really do a lot.

  • 'I love you, mom'

    Archie Bunker, the proverbial “lovable bigot” of “All in the Family” fame, wasn’t very good at telling his wife, Edith, he loved her.

    In one episode Edith pauses, furors her brow like she’s really thinking and asks, “Archie, do you love me?”

    Archie has no patience for such queries: “What kind of question is that?”
    Edith persists: “Do you still love me?”

    “Of course I still love you. Why do you ask?”

    “You never tell me that you love me.”