Aladdin And The Lamps

As long as I can remember, my family has always had Aladdin Lamps. 

My dad called them “coal oil lamps.” All of ours were made by a company called Aladdin, although, there were other manufacturers.

Before generators and battery-operated lighting systems, we used them to light our home during power outages.

If the electricity went out, dad would get an Aladdin Lamp down from the mantle, and check to make sure there was enough coal oil in it.

Although, by the time I ...

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8mm Movies – The Silent Type

I find myself watching YouTube a lot. You can find just about anything on YouTube.

I’m especially drawn to things that aren’t mainstream. If I want to watch a drama, comedy, suspense movie, or the like, I can find that on Netflix or one of the networks.

But, YouTube is unique.

Anyone can have a YouTube channel. And lots of people do.

The quality of many of the videos is terrible. Some of the videos are great, but the audio is so bad you ...

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Goodbye, Liver and Onions

The news came through my Facebook feed as if it was no big deal. But it was.

The last Luby’s in town had abruptly closed.

According to a sign on the door, the closing of the Tyler, Texas, Luby’s was temporary due to issues with the building, which is old. But someone else reported that the restaurant’s employees had been told otherwise. They were all let go.

If you aren’t familiar with Luby’s, it is a cafeteria. You enter and grab a tray, ...

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The Flip Side

I would save money from mowing yards to buy the latest hit song I heard on the radio. Each 45-RPM record cost less than a buck, and instead of calling the radio station to make a request and hope that they’d play it, I could play my favorite song anytime I wanted.

On a 45, the “A” side was the hit, and the “B” side was typically a song from the artist’s latest album that the record company didn’t think would ...

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Tut Tut

Over the last decade, things I haven’t seen in 40 years have slowly begun making their way back to me.

The latest item is a tiny, glass mug that’s showing its age. It was given to me by a car hop at the A&W Root Beer Drive In that used to be located on Stateline Avenue in Texarkana.

I got it when I was about three years old. A&W gave the mugs to children and offered free refills in them to get ...

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When Road Maps Folded

I’m not sure exactly when the road map met its demise, but I do remember cleaning out the last of them that I owned and used from a glove box in a car I was preparing to pass on to someone else. It was a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sport Coupe.

Before you think this was decades ago, I drove that car up until the mid-2000s, and then passed it along to one of our kids. He drove it for years after ...

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Anchors Away


Charles Kuralt never fit the mold of a TV correspondent. He wasn’t good looking. Far from it.

He was balding, overweight, and wore suits that looked as if they’d just arrived off the rack from JC Penney. But, you trusted what he said. And he could tell the whole story, a positive story, in just a couple of minutes.

Kuralt’s “On The Road” segments, which began in 1967 on the CBS Evening News, were a nice respite from the tumultuous 60s, Watergate, ...

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Grandparents Were Great

I was fortunate to have known all four of my grandparents. Many of my friends never knew any of theirs.

Some of my friends’ grandfathers had been killed in World War II, while other grandparents had died during a flu pandemic, childbirth, or had passed away of old age before my friends were born.

But, what was truly a blessing for me was that I also knew many of my great grandparents. Six of the eight were still alive when I was ...

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Someone’s At The Door


Today, a door-to-door salesman likely wouldn’t have much luck making a living. But, when I was a kid, a knock at the door by a stranger wasn’t something you feared, it was a new adventure.

In the 1960s, my family didn’t have a telephone. We also only had one car, which meant that while my dad was at work we were at home with no means of communicating with the outside world or going anywhere. That is, unless we walked somewhere ...

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They Weren’t From Alabama

The original incarnation of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd was on the national scene for only four years.

Let that sink in.

There are bands that have toiled for decades and never enjoyed the success that Skynyrd has.

The group that gave us “Sweet Home Alabama,” a song that’s still played often on the radio 45 years after it debuted and is one of the most downloaded songs in popular music, gained a national presence beginning in 1973.

Their rise to fame was ...

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