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Columns

  • This ridiculous shutdown hits close to home

    There is uncertainty in the land today. Our mighty government has struck out.

    That means different things to each of you. It means something entirely different to me today than it did in 1995, when such stupidity ruled.

    That’s because I realized that a shutdown could have meant my son wouldn’t get paid this week.

  • The real question about football

    It’s a question that first resonated in my life 40 years ago and now has roared back with full force:

    Why do people allow their children to play football?

    It’s a question I asked myself when I first became a father, and now that the game has grown far more powerful than its rules and equipment can manage, I hear it amplify from a whisper to a shout:

    Why do parents allow their precious children to play tackle football?

  • Crotchety may in fact be an apt description

    Let’s begin with a cliche: Age is simply a number. Or another: You’re only as old as you feel.

    Or, as Mitch Albom suggested in his quirky The Time Keeper: If we didn’t measure time, would we know that it was passing?

    Those are thoughts at the top of my quickly crowding cranium because I recently had one of those landmark birthdays that give us pause and has us studying the mirror and dreading the horizon – and chanting it’s only a number, it’s only a number.

  • Celebrating a true labor of love

    On Friday a friend and former colleague posted these warm but ironic words on his Facebook page:

    “Happy Labor Day weekend everyone. Let’s hope we still have jobs on Monday.”

    His twist, you should know, comes from having been through the start-up, layoff pattern that so besets journalism in the digital age. You hear the bulletins of print operations lopping jobs, but so many of those we know and love years ago leaped to new ventures on the Web only to find themselves unwanted before the ink was dry on their paychecks.

  • How we cater to our cattle

    Having spent, like many boys and girls in Shelby County’s history, my formative years in keen observation of cows, I am continually amazed by the devotion families have to them, how delicately they treat them and care for them. Sometimes I have to wonder if some among us of have converted to Hindu, so revered are their bovine gods and goddesses. At least cows aren’t allowed to roam the streets anywhere this side of New Delhi.

  • The demand of the supplies

    Now that our students are safely back in their classrooms, parents all over Shelby County can wipe their brows and fall backwards into our recliners in overwhelmed fatigue. That seasonal onslaught is behind us, and we have survived once again the Battle of School Supplies.

    Are you one of us, we parents who are assailed annually by requirements that our students must arrive for the first day of school towing a small U-Haul trailer filled with everything from some stratus of computer to a certain color of pencil to be used for a chapter in a one-term geography workbook?

  • Cooler weather is heaven-sent

    If you don’t believe that the Lord works in mysterious ways – or even that the Lord is the lord – then I offer this testimony:

    This morning at my house an air conditioner surgeon is scheduled to make his or her fourth trip to triage our injured unit. That happens. We all have experienced problems with our units.

    But our H/VAC has been on some level of hiatus since, oh, July 15.

    That’s three weeks in the middle of summer with little or no cool air circulating.

  • Here's how to learn to stand and deliver in life

    The little girl with pigtails and big black eyes rushes onto the stage, smiling and even giggling. She pauses at the right moment, confronts the spotlight and sings in duet a short, sweet song in French, ignoring an audience overflowing assigned seats and every other element of her first stage performance except her role.

    She is 6 years old. She is fearless. She is calm. She amazes.

    How can one so young respond with such aplomb in such a fearsome situation?

  • A sign of the holiday weekend

    Mine was a Memorial weekend to remember, but not for the altruistic and patriotic reasons – although any father of a Marine, which I am, holds service and sacrifice with immeasurable respect – but because we made a lot of memories around our place.

    During my youth, Memorial Day was the holiday when we would visit the gravesite of my maternal grandfather, whom I can’t remember from my infancy but whose medals from World War I have been for decades part of the decor in my mother’s bedroom.

  • An overpowering storm of fear

    Tell the truth: If you are a parent, you thought twice about sending your child to school on Tuesday morning.

    You looked at the satellite images of the approaching weather system that had laid waste to miles and miles of homes in Oklahoma. You looked at the darkening skies in the west. You thought about families whose children were huddled in a school not built to withstand the right cross from nature’s most fearsome force.