The Beet Goes On

When I was a kid, I wasn’t a huge fan of most vegetables, but one that I absolutely loved was beets. My dad’s mom used to grow and can them.

Not that canning vegetables was unusual. Most of my family had a garden, and what couldn’t be eaten was canned. This included corn, okra, tomatoes, and lots of other veggies.

But, my grandmother was the only one in the family that I recall who grew and canned beets. Or, as some of ...

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Father Time

My earliest memories of him are his smiling face and his laugh.

And his singing. As he would hold me tightly and pat my back, the resonance of his baritone voice in my ears and against my chest gave me what every child needs – attention and the assurance of unquestionable love.

I believe that he sang to me, and later to my younger sister, for many reasons. He enjoyed singing, but I also believe that singing was how he connected with ...

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Taking Turns


The night was hot and humid.

We were the first class, in as far back as anyone could remember, to have to graduate in the gym. 

I say, “have to,” because in those days, the gym was not air-conditioned.

It was raining. Hard. So, the gym it would be.

We stood in our purple caps and gowns, and we sweated. And sweated.

The guest who was invited to give our class commencement address was oblivious to everything but the sound of his own voice.

So, ...

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Chicken, Preachers, and Presidential Candidates

Few restaurants can make a Southern staple better than homemade, but Kentucky Fried Chicken does.

If I’ve eaten fried chicken at your house, please don’t take this wrong. I’m sure your chicken is excellent. But one man was able to take a chicken, 11 herbs and spices, and a pressure cooker and hit it out of the park. That man was Harland Sanders.

We all know him as Colonel Sanders — a title bestowed on him by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, not ...

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Cat Help It

“Never again,” I said.

We had lost our dog, Bert, and less than a year later, our cat, Spooky. Both had lived very long lives. Bert was around 15, and Spooky 19, but the pain was just too much to contemplate another pet.

During the days that followed our cat’s departure, I would think that I heard her mewing at the door, or had seen her out of the corner of my eye. I would wait for her to brush against my ...

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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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