Goodnight, John-Boy

In 2013, TV Guide ranked it number 34 on the list of the top 60 TV shows of all time.

Not bad for a program that was originally placed opposite The Flip Wilson Show and The Mod Squad on Thursday nights – two highly rated shows of the early 70s.

That’s how much faith the executives at CBS had in The Waltons, a show about a large, poor family trying to get by during the depths of the Great Depression.

I was 10 when the show debuted. And I loved ...

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Living Within The Margins

As I sat in Fred’s office listening to him speak, I could hear everything.

It happens that way when Fred is speaking into a sensitive microphone and you’re wearing headphones.

He was reading his new book aloud and I was recording it.

It was his first time to record a book and he trusted me to capture what he was transferring from the written word to the spoken word.

It took four days to record.

My job was to make sure that Fred didn’t miss ...

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The Man Across the Fence

I was never any good at football. I played because my dad had been a football star in high school. All-District and All-State, he was even offered a college scholarship.

Me? I weighed 135 and was 5’9”.

Tennis was my sport. I was pretty good. I started playing around age 12 and would later make the tennis team.

But in the early and mid-70s, tennis didn’t impress a football-obsessed Southern dad. Or few others.

I quit the football team in the 10th grade and ...

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The Return of Chocolate Gravy

(phone ringing)

Me: “Hello.”

Mom: “Did you know that your cousin Tina works at a restaurant that serves chocolate gravy?”

Me: “What? Where?”

Mom: “In Dierks. But it’s only on Saturday mornings.”

Me: “Please ask her to text me pictures. I need proof.”

I politely ended the call and then proceeded to use my phone to map out what time I’d have to leave in the middle of the night to be able to drive to Dierks, Arkansas, the following Saturday before they ran out of ...

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Sealing The Deal

When I mashed down on the lid, it didn’t snap, it cracked.

So I tried again. This time, no sound.

“How do you break a Tupperware lid?” I thought.

But I had. I didn’t mash any harder to seal it than I had for the last 50-something years, but this time, the lid gave up the ghost.

Now what? I had to find something else in which to place the rest of this pot roast, and its not like I could call the Tupperware ...

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To Bean Or Not To Bean

Gourmet coffee is now outselling real coffee.

In English, this means that what I call “Foo Foo” coffee is outselling Folgers and other normal coffee brands.

This is a travesty that begs the question – As a country, how did we let this happen?

According to a March 28 article in The Washington Post, a lot of the reason for the shift from Folgers to Foo Foo has to do with young people buying their coffee on the go, while us older folks ...

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The Little Table

I don’t exactly recall when I moved from the little table to the big table during the holidays. But I thought I had arrived.

Maybe you started out at the big table, but I didn’t. In my family, it was a right of passage. Usually, your promotion from a table full of kids to the place where the grownups ate occurred when you graduated high school, went to college, got married or all of the above.

Our family’s big table was wooden ...

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I never expected to do most of the things I’ve done in my life. Radio announcer, public relations, healthcare, law enforcement, and working for charities.

You’re supposed to tell The Lord that if he’ll open a door for you, you’ll walk through it. He leads, you follow.

But I haven’t always done that. Most of the jobs I mentioned were ones I sought out.

When you’re young, you think you’re in control. Of everything.

By the time you figure out that you were never ...

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Pickup Lines

He almost didn’t get it. It took him three years to wear the man down, but my dad finally talked him into selling the truck.

It wasn’t a common pickup. It was long and boxy. That likely made it even more desirable to my dad.

The truck was a small Toyota long bed with a four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. Many of those models had a stick shift and a six-cylinder.

Think Marty McFly’s tricked out truck in “Back To The Future.”

The ...

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What’s In A Number?

My mom turned off her landline.

For 50 years, my parents had the same number.


Now, it’s gone.

“Mom, did you get rid of the landline?” I asked.

“Yes, they wanted an extra $38 a month to keep it. I don’t need it since I have a cell phone,” she answered.

It was a business decision. A simple, not much thought, easy to make, logical business decision.

For me, it was a feeling of loss.

I would never again call the number that thousands of times I ...

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