July 22, 2014

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On the Other Hand
Happy Fathers Day to all! PDF Print
Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:00 PM

Sunday is Father’s Day — a celebration of dad and all he does throughout the year.

It can be a bittersweet day for those who no longer have the patriarch of the family around to honor. My father has been gone for 16 years now and there are still times it feels like just a few months.

It’s funny the things that stick in your mind about people when they are gone. Little things that don’t really mean anything — except to you.

My father had many good qualities. He was honest, hard-working and always ready to extend help to others. He also had a few, well, let’s call them quirks.

We had a summer cottage in Michigan for more than 20 years. Each weekend, we would pack up and travel north for fishing, swimming and a host of other activities. Packing the car was always dad’s job.

First, just let me say the man had an uncanny ability to pack three cars’ worth of stuff in the back of our station wagon and still have clear visibility in the rear-view mirror.

Anyone who unwittingly put something in the car without his knowledge was quickly redressed. “Now, why would you put that there?” he would demand. “If you put it here, we still have room for…” And of course, he would be right.

He also loved to mow the grass. I would watch him walk along behind the mower holding a conversation with himself. Sometimes, I guess you just need to work things out on your own.

Last Updated on Sunday, June 15, 2014 5:26 PM
 
A summer vacation for me PDF Print
Saturday, June 07, 2014 8:00 PM

Children, children everywhere! School is out for the summer.

Ah. Summer vacation!

Who doesn’t remember the last day of school and endless possibilities that lay ahead?

The last days of school were excruciating. They seemed to drag on for an eternity. It was warm and we all wanted to be outside, not cooped up in a classroom being tested on how much we had paid attention during the school year.

I remember gazing out the classroom window and imagining the fun I was going to have. I lived in a neighborhood packed with kids. The possibilities were endless. The canal was always a place to spend time fishing and catching turtles and crawdads. The park was just a hop, skip and a jump across the canal and always filled with friends and activity.

On first order was a pass to the swimming pool. All the neighborhood kids would race to the pool to be the first one in when the gates opened. Hours of splashing, playing and getting up the nerve to jump off the high-dive followed.

This is where I also cultivated my love for Charleston Chews.

 
It’s just the beginning PDF Print
Saturday, May 31, 2014 8:00 PM

The end of another school year is upon us. Classes have been taking field trips and enjoying the spoils of a year of hard work. Then, there are finals. Time to prove you were paying attention.

Anxious seniors are ready to don their caps and gowns and make that last walk before the next phase of their lives begin. I don’t know about anyone else but I took a quick peek at my diploma to make sure it was signed. I wasn’t worried, I just wanted to make sure.

For those who loved high school, it may be bittersweet. They’ve thrown themselves into activities and athletics and made the most of the time they spent there. Friends will be going different directions.

For those who would prefer to stay because they’re not sure about their next step, hitch up those britches. It’s time to move on. Everything has an order and you’re only supposed to do high school for four years. Then you have to do something else. Sorry.

For those who found high school a little less than they thought it should be, trust me, there is life after. It’s just something we all have to do so we can transition to the next level, whatever that may be. I think you’ll find there is a lot more ahead of you than you’ve left behind.

Life is contradictory. We think we know everything about everything and in reality, we know jack. That’s why you need to pay attention in high school. Get all the ammunition you can to face the world when it’s over no matter what path you choose.

Now it’s time for real life. I’m sorry to inform you that high school was the easy part. You are about to find out that what defined you as a high school student doesn’t mean a thing out here in the real world.

Here is an excerpt from the book “Dumbing Down our Kids” by educator Charles Sykes. I find it enlightening.

Rule 1

Life is not fair - get used to it.

Rule 2

The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

 
All gave some, some gave all PDF Print
Saturday, May 24, 2014 8:00 PM

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with more than two dozen cities and towns claiming to be the holiday’s birthplace.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5, May, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30, May, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. It is now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three-day weekend for the federal holiday). Some southern states still set aside an additional day for honoring the Confederate war dead.

No matter where it started and by whom, the premise has stayed the same. We set aside the day to remember those who died fighting for their country, their flag and your and my freedoms.

The Memorial Day service will, as usual, be held at the Veterans Memorial Park. The park has been well-tended in the last several months. The grass looks like it has been cut with manicure scissors, it is so precise.

 
What a difference … PDF Print
Saturday, May 17, 2014 8:00 PM

Ten years ago this month I was biting my nails and agonizing over my son’s high school graduation. Several weeks before, I had accompanied Cameron to school to meet with teachers and figure out what was needed to put a high school diploma in his hand.

As we moved from room to room, the list kept getting longer. I was starting to believe that even though my son had been going to school, it was for some other reason than to obtain knowledge.

List in hand we went home and the law was laid down: “You will do nothing but work on what has to be done to get a diploma.”

In the six months leading up to his point, all heck had broken loose. The second Cameron turned 18 he packed his car and moved in with another senior friend and I began a morning ritual of going to their house and pounding on the door because school had called and Cameron was a no-show.

Needless to say, those few months were filled with frustration, anger and bewilderment that my child could make so many bad choices, some more than once.

He moved back home and then a different mantra began. It seemed all I kept saying was, “All you do is eat and sleep. Get up and do something — anything!” There was little we agreed on and more contention than ever.

 
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