Stinging 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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Biscuits, Gravy, and Other Lifesaving Medications

My eyes slowly opened and I would try to focus. The rest of my senses were greeted with the sounds and smells of a 1960s Southern breakfast and my mom moving around in our small kitchen, located on the other side of my bedroom door.

I would turn over, but stay snuggled under the covers, which I kept tightly tucked under my neck. It was a feeling I wanted to hold on to as long as the clock would let me.

Swinging ...

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A Good Variety of Variety


The man playing the banjo stood up first. He began to play the opening riff to “Gentle On My Mind.”

Glen then stood up with his guitar.

“It’s knowin’ that your door is always open and your path is free to walk…” “Good evening, everyone. I’m Glen Campbell!”

“The people we have with us tonight are Miss Bobbie Gentry, Liberace, and our own Pat Paulson. And our special guest stars, the very hip, The Smothers Brothers are here tonight.”

“From CBS Television City ...

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Treading Time

It was hard to see her go. She and I have been together for many years. No longer will I wake up each morning and see her. Be with her. Go everywhere together.

Someone else had their eye on her and just like that, she was gone. She’s with someone else now.

But, to ease the loss, I look on the bright side. She had a lot of miles on her, was showing her age, and I’ve already found another. 

Isn’t it ...

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Faded Genes

I’m pretty sure that every Southern family I’ve ever known claims that they’re part Native American.

My family is Southern and is no different. I heard stories from both my mom and dad’s sides of the family of how much Native American we had in us. I was told who in our family’s past was Native American, who they had married, and when and where they had lived.

I even knew a couple of them. Most of my family had married young ...

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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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