Stringing It Together

 

His name was Nelson Carson.

I was a young, white kid. He was an older African-American gentleman. While the evening news was filled with stories of protests related to bussing and school integration, the two of us came together once every week. He to supplement his income, and me to learn from him.

It was the mid-1970s and Mr. Carson was my guitar teacher. He wasn’t my first musical instructor. Mike Hubrel took me as a student for a couple of years ...

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Two Gone, Too Soon

 

Two funerals in one day.

Saying goodbye to two people you’ve known more than half your life wouldn’t be easy no matter when it happened, but two on the same day was tough.

One passing was expected. The other was not.

One service was nearby. The other was not.

I did not want to have to choose one service over the other, but because of the distance between the two and the start times for each, it looked as if I’d have to.

But, at ...

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A Number of Memories

There are some things in life that are reminders of who we once were, yet also of how we’ve changed into who we are now. The telephone is one such item.

As I recently dialed my parents phone number, just to check in on them, I thought about how their set of 10 numbers, randomly assigned to them by Ma Bell when Lyndon Johnson was the president, has been a constant for my family for over five decades. No ...

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April Fools’ and Elvis

 

This column will be my last. April marks four years that I’ve written one of these every week. It takes time to write a column, and it’s time for me to focus on other things. Thank you for reading what I’ve written and for supporting me during the last four years.

For my last column, and since today is April first, I want to end with a related story from my days in a different medium.

When I was still in the ...

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When Seconds Count

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who like leftovers, and those who won’t eat them.

I’ve never understood the resistance that some folks have to eating them. I’m not one of them. I love making a meal out of what wound up in the Tupperware containers over the previous few days.

Even the great comedian George Carlin mocked the word “leftover.” He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Leftover is such a sad word. Who would want to be ...

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Three Spears For Asparagus

Asparagus is one of the few vegetables that comes back on its own every year. But, it takes over two years for asparagus to begin growing to a point where you can harvest and eat it.

Asparagus requires its own garden patch and lots of attention. A whole lot. It is not easy to cultivate, but it is quite hardy once it gets going.

It’s worth the effort. Once it is established, it can grow for 20 years.

Asparagus is a member of ...

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And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

Advertising can be traced back to the earliest parts of recorded civilization. The Ancient Egyptians used advertising on papyrus for messages related to sales.

But, in my opinion, the pinnacle of ads and advertising mascots occurred between the early 1960s and the late 1970s.

Dinah Shore invited us to “See the USA in a Chevrolet,” and Miller Beer told us that, “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer.”

The high caliber concept development of Speedy Alka Seltzer, Charlie Tuna, and Tony ...

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Channeling The 8-Track

By the time I was getting into popular music around 8 or 9 years old, 8-track tape decks were in houses, cars, and even some restaurants. So, to me, the fact that they were everywhere meant that they must have always been in existence.

The truth is that the musical delivery system that launched in the mid-60s and carried me through junior high, high school, and part of college, was around for less than 20 years and was only popular in ...

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The Picture Shows

It was 50-cents to get in. The additional 50-cents my mom gave me covered the cost of popcorn and a Coke, plus more if I wanted a giant dill pickle.

Williams Theater was an institution in my hometown of Ashdown, Arkansas. Wedged between the store that sold Buster Brown shoes and Piggly Wiggly, generations of residents walked through its doors to enjoy an afternoon or evening away from their cares.

The first girl I ever went steady with, I met there.

The family ...

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The Table of Wisdom

 

The clanking of the plates and silverware was constant. The waitress smiled as she refilled the diner’s coffee cups. She laughed at the old men’s jokes. Jokes she’d heard many times before, but she always laughed. Her laughter made the men feel good, and it didn’t hurt her tips.

The cigarette smoke hovered in a thick haze under the ceiling tiles. After filling and refilling cups, she emptied their ashtrays.

This went on in constant repetition. So reliably that you could exit ...

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