When I moved to LaGrange, Georgia, from Tennessee as a 15-year-old, my first Georgia beau was Dan Larry Payne. I possess an old photo showing Dan, sporting a profoundly serious expression, standing beside me. I was wearing a wrist corsage, a pretty yellow dance dress, and a smile across my face.

In nine years of teaching English to teenagers, I thought I had heard it all – until essays from a writing assignment revealed the secret lives of my students. Their papers opened my eyes to the psychological traumas that plague their lives – pressures that COVID-19 is exponentially magnifying.

We’re a couple of years of collections into the 2017 SPLOST list and it seems like as good a time as any to start dreaming about the next round of community needs and wants. Or should that be wants and needs?

If you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, you probably grew up watching the “Schoolhouse Rocks!” series of educational cartoons about everything from math to science to grammar and history.

Last week, I wrote about systemic racism, the kind that I experienced or saw as a teacher in the 1960s. After reading about those hand-me-down experiences, a Caucasian friend of mine called and was hurting for Black people. She stated that, even though she was not from my community, she coul…

There is a Gary Larson cartoon titled “A Conductor’s View of Hell.” The cartoon depicts a tuxedo-clad conductor lifting his baton in musical leadership. The entire orchestra in front of him consists of banjo players.

Last week I wrote, “Arise, Shine, For Your Light Has Come.” Culled from the Bible, Isaiah 60:1 reads, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” None of us would have ever guessed what would transpire between the time I wrote that column, and the day o…

There’s a monthly delivery that causes a bit of a kerfuffle at my house. We find it in our mailbox, and it doesn’t look like much from the outside — just a slim children’s book wrapped in plastic with a little activity sheet enclosed.

I long to find some middle of the road! Other words for that elusive place are bipartisan, moderate, and conciliatory. Of course, that middle of the road invites disdain from partisans on both sides -- too liberal/conservative or not liberal/conservative enough. Therefore, hopeful, naïve, id…

There will be many stories, opinions, and theories floated around our country regarding the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Blame will be passed around like the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. However, one aspect of that Wednesday we should agree on is that it will never be forgotten.

There’s a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theories swirling around right now.

And what are we to make of all this?

The scenes from the U.S. Capitol were appalling, and the continued ramping up of unfounded conspiracy theories before and after a mob vandalized the building were as bad, if not worse.

Jesus wept over the capitol city of his country, the symbolic representation of a whole people: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!”

I see so many living carelessly, still, in these days, when so many have perished, are perishing — when so many are sick and gasping for air.

My daughter, Ramsey, turned 22 this week and I realized it was high time that I pass on some family secrets.

When I arrived here in 1965, I became a part of a community that was thriving and loving themselves, I thought. Many were laughing to keep from crying. Everything was not on the surface; much was buried down underneath.

BROOKHAVEN – Ongoing conversations with old friends are the renewal of a pastime that never abates or diminishes in appeal. Earl T. Leonard Jr. in winter is pretty much the same as he was yesteryear except for limitations brought on by the calendar and the pandemic.

If making resolutions is a typical part of the New Year, people’s resolutions may be a little different this year, especially after everything that happened in 2020. While many will likely resolve to quit smoking, drink less, lose weight or be more active (or all those things), others might …

My time on the Rome Police Department, I spent a lot of time doing things that I would never do in life. One of those things was chasing a big brown bear.

A question I hear a lot from people who visit my farm is, “How long do horses live?”

Well, the Floyd County Board of Education and Superintendent Glenn White decided to close Glenwood and Cave Spring elementary schools, despite tremendous opposition from the community. It’s time to start looking at reality.

Last year brought forth not only a killing pandemic but shined a light on the best and worst in all of us.


As this dismal year draws to a close, we fix our eyes on images of rescue: A vaccine. An inauguration. A spring that might bring reopenings instead of shutdowns. May we once again see crowded restaurants, empty hospital beds, peaceful streets, kind faces. May these stark past months be long forgot and never brought to mind. Yet we cannot, despite ourselves, leave this cruel year behind. The ...

We can all take a deep breath and settle back into a winter of normalcy this week as we come to the end of the season of glittery and sparkly things. Oh yeah, and the holidays are over, too.

Many times, we wonder why things happen when they do. Many times, the atmosphere is conducive for things that are inevitable to occur. Some things just must happen.

What do a screen door knob, a new pair of Nikes, a cantankerous zipper on a favorite winter jacket, a python snake in India and a naked burglar have in common?

It almost goes without saying that a year-end review of 2020 will include COVID-19. Indeed, the pandemic caused unprecedented disruption to our organization – as it did to the communities we serve – and managing it required a coordinated all-hands-on-deck response, as well as vigilance and c…