|March 17, 2014||Sleepin’ at the foot of the bed||1 comments|
|November 02, 2012||Foley’s juvenile drama||7 comments|
|October 29, 2012||Foley, Dems engaging in “classless warfare”||9 comments|
|September 21, 2012||Columnist Foley a victim of acute confirmation bias.||18 comments|
|May 02, 2012||To a Rare Whip-poor-will||no comments|
|April 09, 2012||Confessions of an A.M. rambler||2 comments|
|March 20, 2012||Saucered and Blowed.||1 comments|
|January 03, 2012||Theater troubles tied to times||1 comments|
|December 13, 2011||Merry Christmas - Don't Turn on the Lights||no comments|
|November 10, 2011||How about some consideration for motorists?||3 comments|
While the bitter snow/ice storms of earlier this year are just dim and unpleasant memories to most, I am pretty sure that those who were forced to spend the night in unfamiliar and often uncomfortable places and conditions will carry some of the memories for long while.
For this aging curmudgeon, the conditions evoked memories of my youth on a badland farm/ranch in west Texas, at the tail end of the Depression. One unpleasant memory stands out very vividly. Country music singer Little Jimmy Dickens recorded a song based on an old poem on the subject.
“Did you ever sleep at the foot of the bed, when the weather was whizzin’ cold,
When the wind was whistlin’ around the house and the moon was yeller as gold?
You give yore good warm mattress up to Aunt Lizzy and Uncle Fred.
Too many kinfolks on a bad night, so you went to the foot of the bed.”
For those who have never been subjected to this indignity, words cannot adequately describe it. For those who have, nothing can erase that memory.
It was common, back then, for families to visit other families and stay for days at a time. Travel was difficult and news did not get around quickly so when folks went to see other folks, they made the most of it.
Mostly, the experiences were pleasant ones, even the ones occurring around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when it was not uncommon for three or more families to share the same house for several days.
There was ample gossip and family news for the women to catch up on, while the men consumed their time discussing weather, crops and tractors. There were some lively discussions on who made the best tractor, John Deere or Farmall. There were other tractors in use, but these two were the most widely used. The former had a tendency to make popping sound as each cylinder fired. That trait earned it the nickname “Poppin’ Johnny.”
Meanwhile the kids occupied themselves with games like tag, red rover, or, if there were enough kids, a crude form of baseball utilizing a broom handle and a sock filled with cotton or corn shucks. Money was too scarce to afford anything so extravagant as a “store-bought” ball and/or bat.
We could anticipate being “Sunday fed” and even the prospect of being relegated to a “second or third setting supper” could not dampen our enthusiasm. At my Grandmother Middleton’s house the main course was always chicken and dumplings. She made dumplings the size of a phone book and the consistency of venison. But, she could make one scrawny chicken and a bowl of flour feed a lot of folks.
However as pleasant to contemplate as was mealtime, there was “bedtime” to think about. In the spring and summer, we could count on being able to “camp out” under the stars.
But, fall and winter brought quite a different bedtime story. There is a measure of folks who think that it does not get cold in West Texas. They have never experienced a “blue norther,” wherein the temperatures plummet from the mid 50s to the mid-20s in less than an hour, pushed by winds of 30 mph or more. Let me assure you that is COLD.
When a norther blew in, it was a sure thing you were heading for the foot of the bed. Before king or queen size beds, beds could comfortably sleep two or three people. The “foot of the bed” technique made it possible to sleep, miserably, five or six people. Three people would lie in bed normally, then, with heads pointing toward the foot of the bed, up to three, more people could lie between them.
The foot of the bed was, of course, relegated, to the kids. Adults, with smelly feet and long cold toenails, coupled with insufficient cover and the footboard banging your head, made for a most unpleasant night. A couplet from the song/poem sizes it up.
“To rassel for cover on a winter night, with a big foot settin’ in your face,
Or cold toenails scratchin’ your back, and the footboard scrubbin’ your head”
As I said, unless you have a lived this experience, you cannot understand why we might view sleeping alone in a car, or in a warm schoolhouse, as a minor inconvenience.
As the song proclaims,
“I’ll tell the world, you ain’t lost a thing never sleepin’ at the foot of the bed.”
I’m sorry if you are upset about being called out, but that does not obligate me, or our readers, to attend your “pity party”. If you expect to write an opinion column and not be disagreed with, then you need to find another outlet for your creative endeavors.
Your stock in trade is “making silk purses out of sow’s ears”. When pursuing that endeavor, more often than not, what you end up with is a very ugly purse and a badly mutilated sow.
However, just for an exercise, let’s examine two statements that I cut and pasted directly from your column in last Friday’s paper (October 26th.)
The first one is “Ryan’s Catholicism forbids the use of birth control, a dogma he thinks should apply to every American.” The first phrase is correct, but the second is an assumption, not in evidence. But, even were it so, Ryan, or even Romney, when they are elected, will not have the ability to make it a reality. So, not only is the second part questionable, or untrue, but it is also “saber rattling.”
The second is more revealing in its subtle untruth, and could even be construed to mean that you are against Freedom of Religion, or that you do not believe anyone can have moral objections. You stated “They both back the Blunt amendment that would restrict a woman’s access to birth control if the employer providing her health insurance objects on “moral” grounds.” The first 6 words are true. The remainder is not. The only thing that would be restricted is their ability to get contraceptives through their health care plan. Their access to them would not be changed. Everyone has access equally. It is only a question of who pays.
As a matter of record, the Blunt amendment was defeated in the Senate back in March, which makes bringing it up now another instance of “saber rattling”. The vote on that amendment was incredibly close, so Romney and Ryan were hardly renegades for backing it.
Your use of quotation marks around the word “moral” would make one wonder if you think that morals do not exist, or if you think that moral, or religious objection is not sufficient reason for exemption. When pondering that, I would remind you that, even in time of war, we exempt certain individuals from bearing arms due to moral objections. Certainly that is a much more critical issue than who pays for a woman’s birth control pills.
Kevin, I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explore all such statements you have made. If you are not already fully aware of them and the fallacies therein, check with our readers. They have already pointed out most of them.
For the record, I have said what I intend to say on this topic. If you choose to continue the issue, you will do so alone.
I sincerely bear you no ill will and wish you a great day today and a better day tomorrow.
On Friday, the 7th of September, Kevin Foley had a column published, supposedly contrasting the two national political conventions. Rather than being objective, it was fraught with confirmation bias.
In response, I submit the following observation of the Democratic National Convention, from the other side of the room.
First Lady, Michelle Obama had a heartfelt plea. “Please, please re-elect my husband. If you don’t, I won’t be able to take any more of those half million dollar vacations at taxpayer expense. Besides, Barack would not be able to find a job in this economy that he has only made worse. I mean who is going to hire a lawyer, who is no longer licensed, who practiced law very little, and whose only qualification is that he does very well at spending other people’s money. If you don’t vote for my husband, you are a racist. Besides, I won’t be proud of my country any more, so there. “
While pounding the GOP for its fictional "War on Women", the Dems chose to honor one of the generals in that War (if, indeed, there is a War), a man who was involved in the deaths of more women than 99% of the legal gun owners in the country, Senator Ted Kennedy. If you want to know just how great he was, ask the Kopechne family
Then, former President Jimmy (“I lusted after them, in my heart”) Carter, a man who inspires the same kind of excitement as a used paper towel, attempted to explain why we should vote for Obama. He never quite got the message across. Frankly, his enthusiasm, or lack of same, indicated that he didn’t really think we should.
No parade of ex-Presidents would be complete without Bill (“I lusted, but I didn’t confine it to my heart”) Clinton, the man who, single-handedly, expanded the vocabulary of an entire generation of children, to include words like infidelity, adultery, oral sex, semen, perjury and impeachment. The mothers of the country thank him. His message, however, centered on his lesser known accomplishments, those actually associated with the Presidency.
Finally, the man himself got to talk, Barack Obama, the President of the United States. His message was as simple as the man himself. “I have spent four years trying to find out what needs to be done. Now, give me another four years and I will try to really accomplish something positive. If you will just overlook 42 months of 8% plus unemployment, a 50% increase in the national debt, doubling of the gas prices, adding six million people to the poverty rolls, a decline of 10% in the median household income, devaluation of property, rising taxes, and a downward credit rating adjustment, all accomplished without even making a budget, you should be able to find a way to vote for me. If you don’t you are a racist!”
They chose to spit in the face of every legal immigrant and every naturalized citizen now living and who has ever lived, by allowing a lawbreaker to speak at a national convention. That’s right.. An illegal alien, a young girl took the podium and admitted that she knew for a period of time that she was breaking the law by being here. She thanked Obama for aiding and abetting in her crime. How brazen can you get?
Just to be sure they offended everybody, they booed Israel….. then they booed GOD!
What a fun bunch of guys and gals, huh?
Today, just as the day was beginning to break and nature beginning to awake to another gloriously wonderful day here in God’s earthly home, Cobb County, I was walking in the vicinity of the back of the East Cobb Library, in Parkaire Landing, on the final leg of my morning walk.
From the patch of woods between there and the first house on Johnson Ferry, I heard the haunting cry of a whip-poor-will. I can’t recall the last time I heard a whip-poor-will. The sound immediately thrust me back some seventy years in the past. Suddenly I was lounging, while my maternal grandparents enjoyed the lulling rhythms of their respective rocking chairs, on the front porch of a weathered farm house, in Taylor County, Texas, as America sat, poised and unknowing, on the brink of losing its virginity in the terrible, massive bloodletting known as World War II.
The sweltering West Texas heat dissipates little at sundown, but we were sometimes blessed with a little breeze making sitting outside far preferable to being cooped up in the house, which had been absorbing the brutal heat all day, and would not begin to cool down until the wee hours of the morning, and, then almost imperceptibly, as if thinking “What’s the use/? The sun will be back shortly.”
Sitting on the porch, after dusk, one is beguiled by the plaintive songs of the whip-poor-will and the Bobwhite quail. Occasionally a lone coyote will add his voice to the mix. One can be at peace with God and himself in those times.
The scene is more than familiar to those who are over half a century old, though they may not have enjoyed the whip-poor-will, the quail or the coyote. Those residing in rural areas most generally did, as all three are common throughout the continent. The march of civilization has forced them to the outskirts, and, in some areas, led to their localized extinction.
That is why it was such mind grabbing surprise to hear the whip-poor-will this morning. I guess my mind, quite without my being aware, had relegated that haunting call to the dark place where it stores those precious things we shall never experience again.
I am grateful to it because, for a brief few minutes, my memory was in the clutch of long bygone time, a time of youth, wonder and innocence, a time of lazy summer evenings, cold buttermilk, leftover turnip greens and pan fried potatoes, a time of homemade ice cream at the church picnic and cold watermelon fetched from a tub of water under the porch, a time of “lightenin’ bugs”, stilts and can walkers, of marbles, pocket knives and mumbledy peg, of rubber guns and tops spun with a string. It was there I tried to remain for as long as possible.
For those who never heard that trilling sound of the whip-poor-will, the Bobwhite quail or the coyote, in the dusk of eve or the false dawn of the early morn, I shed a silent tear.
Hank Williams described it best in his 1949 country hit. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, as he leads in with "Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will. He sounds too blue to fly.”
For my Tuesday morning whip-poor-will and for the memories his call invoked, “I’m eternally in your debt, little bird. May the insects be juicy and nourishing and may you live to sing another day. If not for me, perhaps for some other soul badly needing to be torn from today and thrust into yesterday to relish in its peace and simplicity, if only for a brief inking of time.”
If you read my columns, you know that I walk 5 miles every morning. Leaving the house at around a quarter after 5 A.M., I stop at my wife’s drive-thru coffee shop, almost a mile from home, make coffee, replenish supplies, take out the trash and generally get it ready for opening time at 6 A.M.
I then leave and continue my walking. You would be astounded at what one can learn walking in the dark of the morning, before most people have stirred from their homes.
I have learned that my neighborhood is home to a small pack of 4 or 5 coyotes, none of which are the least bit frightened at seeing me. In fact, on more than one morning, our paths have either crossed or paralleled each other. Being an amateur naturalist, I have no fear of them, though I do exercise caution. I am comfortable with our relationship as it is and I have no desire to hand feed or pet them. I feel quite certain they entertain the same cautious outlook. In the meantime, I am satisfied that they are here, for I recognize that we have mostly destroyed their natural habitat, as well as that of their natural food supply.
I am quite content to co-exist with them.
I have also learned that we have a red fox in the area, and possibly two, based on the range of my encounters. Like the coyotes, he/they is/are wary of me, but not panicked by my presence.
Another unusual creature, which seems to like our area, is a large (about 12-14” in diameter) mean- tempered snapping turtle. On the one occasion when I attempted to remove him from the road, in an attempt to see that he did not become road kill, I was attacked for my efforts. Fortunately, the only thing he left teeth prints in was a large tree branch, with which I was attempting to move him. On our lone other meeting, I chose to leave him to his own devices. Tipping my hat, I bade him a “Good Morning” and passed by, on the other side of the street.
But, by far the most interesting creature I observe in the wee hours of the morning is the one referred to by author Richard Connell as “The Most Dangerous Game”, my fellow man.
Regularly, I see one neighbor sneak over next door and take the newspaper from the driveway. He goes back to his mailbox and, with the aid of a small flashlight, proceeds to read the paper. Though I have never seen him, I am quite certain he returns the paper to the plastic bag, in which it came, and puts It back on his neighbor’s driveway. Seems like a lot of trouble to keep from subscribing.
One of my rare miscreant pleasures, I enjoy while walking the rear of Parkaire Landing Shopping Center. Almost daily, I encounter some soul placing his household trash/garbage in one of the commercial dumpsters located there. I have always carried a flashlight on these walks, as one never knows when one might encounter a snapping turtle. Long ago, I also started carrying a small, pocket sized notebook and a pen. When I encounter someone disposing of their trash in someone else’ dumpster, I pause, take out my notebook and pen, shine my flashlight on the car’s license plate and pretend to write in the notebook, laughing to myself as they hurriedly make a departure, sometimes burning rubber. I told you it was perverse, but, Hey! I am an old man. There has to be something to life besides waiting for the dogwoods to bloom every year, or asking to put a small bag of M & M’s on layaway at Wal-Mart.
I also take pleasure in greeting the people I meet with a smile and a cheery “Good Morning”. Reactions to that are varied and interesting. Some people are out walking like I am, and after greeting them we sometimes stop and exchange pleasantries. Others are either walking or jogging and most have some kind of listening device in their ears and never hear my greeting. They also never hear the wind rustling through the leaves, or the sounds of the birds as they awaken and announce the new day. I feel sorry for them, for what they are missing.
Others are so tied up in their own thoughts and worlds that they either do not hear me, or they ignore me, or they look at me and continue on their way without an acknowledgement. Thought I wonder, I try not to judge, for I do not walk in their shoes. They may be dealing with a personal tragedy, or in the midst of a life altering decision. Of course, there is always the possibility that they are just a big jerk.
The reward, though, comes with the ones who look up, break into a smile and return the greeting, because I can think that maybe I made a tiny difference in their day. I can believe that a smile and a friendly greeting can make a. miniscule difference in how someone’s day goes. How much different would the world be if everybody, for one day a week, made it a point to greet every person they encounter, from the time they leave home until they have lunch, with a smile and a “Good Morning.”?
During my morning ramblings, I have a lot of “alone time” when I am free to contemplate the meaning of life, or decide what I want to have for lunch. It is also when I do some of my best creative thinking and “writing”. It is here that I discover some basic truths such as “Nobody has ever become a great fighter, without first having been whipped. Until one has been whipped and realizes that, though it may hurt like the devil, it won’t kill you, one fights to keep from getting whipped. After being whipped, one fights to win. Without being whipped, one can become a good fighter, but not a great fighter.” And, “It is not possible to put on your left shoe first. Whichever one you put on, the other will be left.” Well, not all truths can be great.
Come walk with me some morning, I will introduce you to the coyotes, the red fox and a neat snapping turtle.
At my wife’s drive thru coffee shop in East Cobb, where I help out from 5:30 to about 6:30 every morning, the first customer is always a Milton High School teacher. One day last week, I happened to see her as she pulled into the parking lot and I had her coffee ready when she got to the window. She remarked that it was certainly quick service. My response was, “Yeah, it’s almost saucered and blowed for you.” She exclaimed that she had never heard that expression before,
Back when I was growing up, there were two method of making coffee. You either percolated it, in a percolator, or you boiled water and dropped the grounds into it while turning off the heat. Since both required the use of boiling water, either method produced coffee which was measurably hotter than that produced by today’s coffee makers.
It was a custom to pour coffee from one’s cup into the saucer and gently blow on it to cool it off. Some times one picked up the saucer and sipped the coffee directly from it, but most often the coffee was poured back into the cup and the process was repeated until the entire cup was at the desired temperature for consumption.
Thus “saucering and blowing” coffee came to be associated with several things. A wife who was thought to be extra loving and devoted was described as the kinda girl who has her husband’s coffee saucered and blowed when he gets to the breakfast table.
The idea became a measure of hospitality. Folks who were extremely hospitable were said to serve your coffee to you already saucered and blowed.
Conversely, a lazy guy was said to be so all fired lazy he expected his coffee to be saucered and blowed for him.
A spoiled child was said to lead a “saucered and blowed life.”
I gave the school teacher a brief synopsis of the above. Her response, as she drove off, was “Yuck, all those germs being transmitted!”
It occurred to me that we are getting too darned educated and traumatized about everything under the sun to enjoy the simple things in life.
Being an active member and supporter of the performing arts in and around Cobb County, I am troubled to find that Theater in the Square is experiencing financial difficulty. I am troubled, but not surprised. The current state of the economy has taken a heavy toll on the support of the arts, and community theater in particular.
In Cobb County and the surrounding area, casualties among true community theaters have been high this year. We have seen Kudzu Theater and Rosewater Theater, both in Roswell, forced to close their doors. Though they were not in Cobb County, my experiences with them indicated that they served a great many Cobb County theater goers. Though Theater in the Square is not a community theater, as the term is commonly used, it is an important anchor, and in many cases, sets the standards of quality the others emulate.
For those curious about the distinction, we generally do not refer to a theater which has a paid staff as a “community theater”. A community theater, as it is recognized, is normally staffed totally with volunteers and is mostly inactive, except during preparation for and presentation of a production. The drawback to having no paid staff is that it renders them ineligible for most grants.
Blackwell Theater, in Cobb County, a later version of the Little General Theater, of some years back, was forced to close this past year. Though others now occupy the building, it requires two separate theater groups to keep it open. There is the ongoing expense of rent on the building, as well as utilities, insurance, etc, to be contended with, and the only source of revenue is ticket sales.
It appears that the groups most able to survive are those with zero ongoing expenses. Two such examples, which also happen to be the two longest continually performing groups in Cobb County, are Polk Street Players, with a theater in the basement of St. James Episcopal Church in downtown Marietta, and CenterStage North, which currently rents performance space in The Art Place-Mountainview on Sandy Plains Road, behind the Mountainview Library. Both these groups have been performing for well over thirty years. They have virtually no expense except when presenting a play.
I ma not sure what the solution to the problem is, short of a sudden change in the economy, or a sudden increase in the number of people supporting the arts, by attending the performances, but I do know that the performing arts in Cobb County would suffer greatly were Theater in the Square to be forced to close, as it would be for any other theater to be forced to close.
I guess, what I am trying to say is, that if you appreciate live theater, and can see your way clear to help Theater in the Square, please do so. Failing that, or in addition to that, please continue to support them and community theater by your attendance.
They are citing increased costs as the justification. How can the cost of doing business be increasing in a depressed economic climate? Besides, are Mariettans just supposed to take their word for that, or can the BLW point to specific areas in which they have suffered increased costs, or specific providers that have increased their prices?
Are the residents supposed to take their word for the fact that there are no effective cost-cutting measures they can take which would eliminate or, at least, mitigate the increase?
They are using the scare talk, “we either raise rates, or fire a bunch of people and cut services.” That is the typical ploy when there is really no legitimate reason for the increase. “If you can’t sell the public on it, scare them into it with a threat.” Hey, it was an effective tool in “selling” the last SPLOST.
How can one even argue with those in charge when they have a crystal ball, which allows them to see the economic conditions two years down the road? They are already promising another increase of 5% in 2013 and 4% in 2014. That compounds to a net increased of 16% by January 1, 2014. How many of you think your income is going to see a 16% percent increase by that time?
It appears that Councilman Anthony Coleman is the only one with the moxie to speak out against this increase. Obviously, the other council members feel their constituents are able to afford the increase.
Kinda makes one wonder if Marietta’s residents have the right people on the council, doesn’t it? Also, makes one wonder about the management of the BLW, when the customers are subjected to price increases for five years in a row, much of it in depressed economic times.
Only the fact that I have excellent brakes on my 12 year Dodge pickup kept me from wiping out a bicyclist who ran a stop sign, Tuesday afternoon. As I screeched to a halt, he turned, looked at me, flipped me off and continued on his way.
I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it is not. Quite often, I observe bicyclists approach a stop sign or red light, slow slightly, crane their neck to see if traffic is approaching and then continue through the traffic control device.
I have numerous cyclist friends and I recently questioned some of them about this practice. The two most common responses were, “Aw, that’s an isolated incident”, or “It takes too much time to build up your speed after you stop.” Ignoring the problem or adopting an irresponsible attitude about it will eventually lead to a death or serious injury of a cyclist or a motorist trying to avoid hitting a cyclist.
The state of Georgia has many laws regarding bicycling. Recently, a law was enacted, which was written to protect cyclists from careless motorists. The law, as it is publicized, requires a motorist to maintain a minimum three foot clearance when overtaking and passing a bicyclist. However, the law, as it was written, uses the exact wording “when feasible”. That portion of the law is not being publicized as it should be.
There are numerous roadways in Cobb County where that would not be feasible most of the time. A good example is Lower Roswell Road, between Johnson Ferry Road and the Chattahoochee, where there is only one lane each way and the lanes are not overly wide. Additionally, due to the terrain, most of the road has no shoulders. There is a current upgrading project in operation. However, it will be some time before it is completed, and, in the meantime, it is magnifying the problem.
Another factor is cyclists who fail to obey the law requiring them to ride as far to the right as possible. It is not unusual to encounter cyclists riding 2 and 3 abreast, in the traffic lanes, rendering it impossible to safely pass them, even in moderate traffic.
It is true that Cobb County has been remiss in keeping pace with the increasing number of bicyclists, by keeping our roadways safe, both for them and motorists. But, “Honest Injun”, we are making an effort to catch up. If that is to be done without a death or serious injury, it will require everybody’s obedience to the traffic laws.
To the cyclists, I say this. You finally have laws which should make cycling a safe activity. Please cooperate by doing your part. No motorist wants to make it unsafe for you. Please don’t make it unsafe for them.