Columns

Joy, as I’ve mentioned in this column several times this year, is my word theme for 2019. Further, I’ve indicated that if we look for joy we will find it. Although I am hardwired for optimism, I sometimes get discouraged. I am, after all, only human.

How many times in our lives, do we get the opportunity to know people whom we have never met and yet, never forget? Whether online, over the phone or through a letter, these are the ones who respond with kindness and concern. These are the wonderful folks who genuinely are supportive, consid…

Have you ever needed to get from one place to another and realized that the route you have planned has a “Bridge Out”? Do you remember the massive fire that collapsed a bridge on Interstate 85 in Atlanta on the evening of March 30, 2017? After the 92-foot-long section collapsed, I-85 was clo…

Does anyone remember the “Baby Blues” comic strip? I loved its great illustrations of the daily, un-glamorous, tiring and quirky parts of taking care of children. One favorite was that of the father picking up his toddler from the floor for her bath. She screamed, “NOOOO! No baff, no baff, n…

Twenty-two years of my life here in Rome were spent at East Rome High School (ERHS), which was the best place that I could have been. My first three years here as a young teacher were at Main High School, a short-lived experience where I got my start. Nine new teachers fresh out of college c…

I got on the phone with my dad recently and we weren’t too deep into the conversation before he said, “Can I tell you a cat joke?” “Sure,” I replied. “Just kitten,” he concluded. I laughed and it was quickly followed by another. “How do you keep a turkey in suspense?” “I don’t know.” “I’ll t…

The Atlantic sea breeze was cool. Young John Howard Payne was at his family’s homestead in East Hampton, N.Y., near the eastern end of Long Island. John was born the sixth of nine children at 33 Pearl St., New York, in 1791, but called East Hampton home the first few years of life after his …

They had spent decades in the wilderness, learning to trust God. Now, on the threshold of the Promised Land, decisions had to be made. Who would get what land? How would they order their political lives, the ways in which they would live together in community?

Parcel to the montage of my life experiences are those bright days before sorrow cast its gray on my little niche. Each happy remembrance balances my perception against those disappointments that shattered my optimism into littered realities. Unlike some whose childhoods are tainted too earl…

Tomorrow, June 14, is Flag Day. Americans, it seems, are particularly patriotic. In the last month, we’ve had Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, the 75th anniversary of D-Day and now Flag Day. Next month, as you know, we will observe Independence Day, the Fourth of July.

One of the landscape jobs obtained when my little landscape business was operating was taking care of the indoor plants at a local Rome restaurant. One of the nice perks of this job was free coffee whenever I came in to work the plants.

I was probably 9 or 10 when my favorite uncle divorced and remarried. Obviously I don’t remember a lot of details and did not know them anyway at that age. What I did know was that his first marriage was a very unhappy one and the second one much happier. It was the late ’50s, a small town i…

A few years ago I finally started delving deeper into my family tree. I was lucky to have the work of several cousins and other distant relatives to piggyback on, so I just started filling in the gaps I wanted for myself and trying to get a better picture of some of my more interesting ancestors.

East Rome High School teachers are growing old gracefully and are still sharing love and laughter. We were at it again as the unofficial summer eased in on June 1, 2019.

“Sooner or later you are going to have to choose what is most important to you: your job or your family.”

I was struggling the other day to advance my column toward completion. I found myself rumbling through my mind and the house at the same time, delaying any disciplined attempt to sit down and write. Knowing I was a bit stumped, I reached for a book on the shelf in hopes one of my favorite au…

My son graduated from Newnan High Thursday evening. I think anyone who attended any of the local graduations knows about the unbearable heat we experienced.

June 6, 1944. D-Day, the day the Allies invaded Normandy. 75 years ago today, 73,000 troops and 15,500 airborne troops landed on Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. A massive, complex operation of air and sea, D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion in history. After General Dwight D. Eisenhower w…

Bullying and cyberbullying is on the rise in America. It is running rampant among our youth, down the halls of their schools as well as on their phones and computers. There is also an alarming increase in teen suicides, school violence and depression.

Long family vacations were a non-factor growing up, despite an ostensibly lower-middle class life, but several day trips come to mind as summer draws closer and I start seeing internet ads for trips tailored specifically for my oddball generation, the Millennials, to drink. (I know you’re no…

The men and women who serve our country deserve our support — both on and off the battlefield. To honor our country’s veterans, current active duty and civilian service members, for the past 20 years the President of the United States has issued a proclamation to declare May “National Milita…

It’s that most wonderful time of the year, the time when we get to spend a month celebrating the critters who bring us an important chunk of our food supply, beautiful blooms and thriving plants of all kinds and a balanced ecosystem, known as the pollinators. Yep, I’m talking about all of th…

After my husband and I started filling in the blanks about his noteworthy memories of the Fa So La note singing that took place on the fifth Sunday in May at New Hope Baptist Church in Cave Spring, he directed me to other community people who were older than he. He was hoping that they exper…

Imagine you were traveling in a foreign country where the language was very different from your native tongue, and you needed to get directions, or ask for assistance, or even something as simple as the location of the nearest restroom? How would you communicate if you do not speak the indig…

Let’s spend some time examining the coach for a while. Actually, if you do coach you should probably be examined. Most of my coaching experience has dealt with baseball and softball. Believe it or not, coaches have feelings. Some more than others. It takes a person with pretty thick skin to …

I did not want to write this column. It is very depressing to contemplate, but this matter is in your face from all media. The statistics read like this: “Twenty-three veterans commit suicide in the U.S. every day.” “One of the leading causes of death among American teenagers and the elderly…

Sometimes we understand a story not by what is present but what is absent. It’s been said a poem makes absence itself into a perceivable presence. In his book, “Ambition and Survival,” Christian Wiman says, “I respond most deeply to art that has, you might say, a hole in it, some stark vacan…

One summer we moved to Atteiram Heights. Behind our house was a huge, vacant lot, which for many years is where YMCA day camp was held. The boys in the neighborhood made magnificent bike trails there and had a great time racing bikes. Between our house and the open lot was a wooded area wher…

There are many faults I possess which I admit are my fault. I talk too much, I overdo and under-think most of the time. I don’t clean under the sofa often and don’t turn off lights as I should. There are many more flaws, but the editors only give me so much room in this paper.

Last February I wrote a column about my friend Erin Ellison who was taking a lot of flack from her friends because she thought there could POSSIBLY be a large, predatory cat (such a mountain lion) in the Flint Hill area in Aragon.

Have you ever considered what food means to you? Everyone eats, of course, but certain foods — or even the smells of them — conjure up memories and feelings. Consider the aroma of cinnamon buns, freshly baked bread, pasta sauce, barbecue or popcorn. Are you salivating?

This weekend I will watch my seniors walk across the stage and out of my life. I spent a lot of time with them this past year, but it’s time to move on. After 23 years it should get easier. I teach AP Research at Armuchee High School. It is one of the harder classes a high school student can…

Every year I hear it spoken, see it in print and television ads, and read it in dozens of social media posts by people who I’m certain mean well. “Happy Memorial Day” is one of those phrases that makes me cringe.

As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I were reminiscing about our memories of May Day celebrations when we were children. My school days were most exciting for me since I grew up in the rural section of Allendale, S.C. My memories are of our May Day school celebrations. I …

One of the rules of column writing is to avoid being self-referential, that is to say, do not write about writing, especially writing columns. So today, I’m not going to write about column writing. I now put forth about another aspect of what comes from fingers on keys.

There was a time in my life when I took a boat to work. I traveled 45 minutes down the Intracoastal waterway between Hilton Head Island and Daufuskie, an island inaccessible by car. Adventure made the commute tolerable for a few years. The fourth year proved burdensome.

Often in contemporary dramas, we see a protagonist who is on his or her own, facing an uncertain future. Do we find ourselves in the same predicament?

The Houston Cole Library at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama, holds a number of bound editions of “Cherokee County Heritage,” a publication of the Cherokee County Historical Society. In volume VII, No. 2, from April 1978, there is printed “A Legend of Nahcullola or Black …

World War I, World II, Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, a place called Afghanistan, as well as all the wars fought in the Middle East, were fought in an international arena. Those wars came careening into the lives of many people, some of whom were students at Berry College.

It is doubtful anyone loved their country more than the fallen soldier. The warrior who one day walked onto a battlefield with fierce determination to protect and defend his beloved America only to never return to its shores. Not including the Civil War, we have lost almost 700,000 service m…

For the past several years, I’ve attempted to identify a blooming tree across the street from my driveway. It sits high in a heavily treed section of woods and the way the land drops off from the road and the way the weeds and woodland rubbish congest the area make it impossible for me to ge…