Homage to good teachers

August 18, 2009  Ahhhh….school is back in session. Breathe a huge sigh of relief, all of you beleaguered parents. The first day of school brings to mind my very first day of school, and those of my children. I was very much looking forward to going to kindergarten. I was so tired of just looking at the pictures in comic books. I wanted to READ what was going on, instead of just looking at the pictures and trying to figure out the stories. I’m sure I was a little nervous, not knowing any of the other kids, but I was happy as my mother walked me to class.

Family fun on the river

August 18, 2009 I just knew come Monday morning I’d be too sore — and sunburned — to move. Thankfully, I was wrong.Sunday, Gary and I motored up to Mountain View to meet my dad, stepmom, niece and nephew for the kids’ “last hurrah” before school started. We ate lunch at Wing Shack, and if you’ve been meaning to try it, then by all means do so ASAP. I got an order of wings, Gary got barbecue, Avery and Debbie got pasta, Dad got a burger and Abby got a grilled cheese sandwich, and it was all great!

Hot, loud August

August 17, 2009 If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit Washington, D.C. in August, you understand the custom of the federal government releasing all its high-profile delinquents back into their home communities and calling it recess. D.C. was built on a swamp, and walking around our capital right now is like slogging through a sauna while wearing a lard-lined jogging suit made out of yak hair. But politicians seeking to escape the searing Beltway heat for some relative cool back home found themselves entering a bipartisan blast furnace of half truths and misguided indignation.

Elvis friendship via the Internet

August 17, 2009 Our first acquaintance was through an e-mail about seven years ago.  I was in high school. He, a pilot, author and retired reporter/columnist with the Memphis Press-Scimitar.I found Bill Burk through Elvis Presley. As a reporter for a Memphis paper in the 1950s Burk had plenty of stories about the king of rock ’n’ roll, some professional others personal, as he and Elvis became friends because of his career in journalism.

Dysfunctional family sometimes set course

August 14, 2009 Did you ever hear the expression, “180 degrees from sick is still sick”?The expression comes from family therapy. I first heard it some twenty years ago when I was team-teaching a course on the family with my colleague in social work, Dick Freer.The expression refers to the behavior of adults that grew up in dysfunctional families. Say, for example, that a young woman had a father who was alcoholic. And say she saw him spend his paycheck on booze, lose his jobs, get into fights, and beat her mother.

Adventures as teenagers

August 13, 2009 The passing of Cave City watermelon grower Johnny Wayne Carter hurts. He died Friday at age 58.Johnny Wayne and his brother Billy George Carter and I all grew up near Sandtown. They never lived more than four miles from my home during those times, and a couple of times they lived closer. When the Carter family owned Sandtown Store and lived there, they were only three miles away, and for a couple of years they lived in a house near Westmoreland Pond, less than a mile from my home.