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GUEST COLUMN: The math is simple

Deck Cheatham

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton.

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:5-8.

As the story goes, a man owned a hot dog stand. He worked hard making the best hot dog around, a real two-hander. He used only soft, steamed bread, homemade relish, the sweetest onions, perfectly seasoned chili — oozing and dripping with each bite — and a true no-filler beef dog that was more dog than bun. He added not just the best ingredients but also to his reputation. People flocked to the stand just to taste his famous hot dog. As business grew, he prospered. Flourishing, the business demanded more labor so the man brought his son into the business.

Thanks to the hot dog stand’s prosperity, the father decided to send his son to college. The father, proud because no family member had been to college, felt no reluctance. The father and son decided business would be the course of study. After graduation, the son would come home and apply all he had learned to the family business.

Graduation came and as planned, the son returned home. For a time, business continued to flourish. Soon, the son began to use his knowledge. He told the father the economy was slowing and to shelter the business, they should cut back. They decided to quit using onions. As predicted, business slowed. So, they stopped making relish. Fewer customers appeared as the cycle continued. The chili came next, then the mustard and the ketchup. Business halted.

The father, amazed, said, “Son, college prepared you well. I could not have predicted business would become so bad.”

We don our images, prepared so well for a world demanding nothing but jamocha almond fudge and quarters in vending machines as we treat each other just the same. Our lives can only be discomfited when time ticks absent empathy, discomposing our opportunity to become the Christian God wishes us to be. What must we ask? Where do we go to find our answers?

Time provides and Peter answers. “Add,” says Peter. “Subtract,” says the world, but who among us would reject virtue, seek ignorance, lose control or quit, not choose godliness, brotherly kindness, love? Time is empathy and pride is the noose choking our better self.

I am in concert with time’s tone, aroused by God in it, his voice and tenor. Life, time’s gift, provides all the space I need to hear and heed its questions. I can neither add nor subtract to time but I can perceive its empathy, its pride, its finiteness, its eternity.

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Contact him at