Thanksgiving pros, cons

November 24, 2009 Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. Some years, I treat it like a getting a shot or blood drawn: just look the other direction and hold my breath until it’s over. One side of my family enjoys getting together and doing the big kumbaya-group-hug thing where everyone holds hands and says what they’re thankful for. Once you become a bereaved parent, that sort of thing loses its luster and Gary and I’ve boycotted it ever since. Not to mention my family isn’t known for being the idyllic, Norman-Rockwell-painting envy of those around us.

Up and away

November 23, 2009 I was about 16 when I rode on my first plane, and I’ve loved it ever since. My dad, ever mindful that it was important for me to see this great country, arranged a trip to Washington, D.C. in 2001.The plane ride on a commercial jet, for me, turned out to be half the fun. Before ever stepping foot onto a plane, I worried.

GOP harmonious for now

November 23, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — It’s the politest political fight in the state right now — unless you’re Blanche Lincoln.The seven Republicans who are hoping to challenge Lincoln in the Senate race next year have been crisscrossing Arkansas, pumping out daily news releases and giving speeches targeting the Democratic senator as she seeks a third term.But when it comes to their fellow Republicans, the candidates have been hands-off.

Letter to the Editor

November 19, 2009 A lot of rhetoricRhetoric should have meaning. Language should have value.What then is meant by the phrase we are now hearing so often from the politico, “We have a moral obligation to pass this legislation”?Morals must be based on some standard. Among the most frequent standards used as a basis for moral values are scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

Leif Erikson was not Methuselah

November 19, 2009 A caller reported this week that my recent column about Leif Erikson Day indicated Erikson, of Scandinavian descent, was born about 970 B.C. in Iceland. Wow! That would have made him more than 1,970 years old by the time he first visited Vinland (America), around 1001 A.D.That’s more than twice the age of Methuselah as stated in the Bible. Methuselah lived to be 969. Some scholars theorize that the longest-living patriarchs mentioned in the Bible had such long lives because a water vapor canopy, or “bubble,” protected the earth from radiation prior to the great flood.

Letter to the Editor

November 18, 2009 One at a timeI enjoy learning as much as I possibly can about Arkansas and its citizens. This is the reason I volunteer for the Arkansas Gravestones Project. AGP’s mission is to capture and archive digital images of our ancestors’ gravestones. Sadly, as years pass by many of the headstones are becoming more and more difficult to read. It has been my personal experience that many of Arkansas’ cemeteries are abandoned, neglected, or endangered. 

Optimism vs. Pessimism

November 18, 2009 The sunny-side-uppers claim that a positive attitude is the secret to success. If only all the Eeyores of the world would start thinking more positively, we could cure disease, create world peace and line our pockets with riches.Yet the self-proclaimed realists assert that they’re the only ones are willing to face the facts. Leave life to the Pollyannas, and they’ll skip us off the edge of a cliff, clutching a copy of “The Secret” to their chest, passionately chanting, “I believe I can fly, I believe I can fly.”But which side is right?

Organ music

November 17, 2009 We got it in the early ’70s: a Kimball organ that sat in our living room for 20 years or more.It had single buttons that played whole chords. Other buttons played cymbals, marimba and other rhythmic beats.I spent hours playing the thing. My father, too  —  his fingers are so big he had trouble playing just one key at a time — played it often.And at family gatherings, my mother and her siblings would stand around it for hours, singing holiday tunes and other well-known standards.

Missed opportunities

November 17, 2009 On more than one occasion in high school and college, I thought about taking a semester to study abroad. I never did, mostly because I was afraid to be that far from home for so long. When you’re a teenager, even a semester can feel like forever when it’s spent thousands of miles away. And once you marry, have a family and a career and all the responsibilities that go with those, spending three or four months in another country becomes much, much more difficult (until retirement, I suppose, but with my luck I’ll be too tired by then).

Facilities needed

November 16, 2009 By all accounts from everyone I’ve talked to, the recent downtown antiques fair/craft show event was a success (about 3,000 estimated in attendance) in spite of one day of inclement weather. In fact it was enough of a success that the dates have already been nailed down for next year, Oct. 22 and 23, according to Main Street Batesville Director Paula Grimes.