Wednesday, June 30, 2010



We have a saying up here in the mountains: every story ends in death.

It comes from the fact that if you're talking to an old-timer, inevitably, no matter what you're talking about, the conversation will end with talking about somebody dying.

I was up here on vacation from Florida one time when a man who lived nearby strolled over to where my sons and I were fishing in the Chestatee River. When he found out my family was from here, and realized we were related, he visited for a while. Then he became silent, pointed up at the mountain across the river, and said, "Ye know, that's whar Beulah Gaddis got kilt." Every story ends in death.

Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcett. Michael Jackson. All dead, all last week.

But wait, there's more.



When I told my sweetheart about a new show coming on called "Pitchmen", starring BILLY MAYS and Anthony Sullivan, she said, "Now don't think I'm stupid, but didn't BILLY MAYS play baseball?" When I told my mama last night about his death she asked the same question.

I don't think they're stupid. They're not expected to know about a guy who started pitching items at county fairs and on the boardwalk at Atlantic City. But to a guy who sells for a living, BILLY MAYS was an icon.

He didn't play second fiddle to a talk-show host, or have a poster ogled by teenagers, or ogle teenagers. He just sold stuff.

Orange Glo, OxyClean, Mighty Putty, Kaboom, even ESPN. He knew how to sell, and he loved what he did.

He once said he could never sell a product he couldn't believe in. I can identify with that.

His wife said when she went to wake him early Sunday morning he was unresponsive.

Of course he was. He was already at the Gate, saying in that booming voice, "HI, I'M BILLY MAYS."


just like all those in lower case remember mj a year later.  too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Worthless, Interesting Information You Can't Live Without

A friend sent me an email containing the following information:

Pearls melt in vinegar.  Who found that out?

The three most valuable brand names on earth:  Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.  The three most worthless brand names on earth:  General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota, personal opinion.

It's possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs.  What's a cow doing in your house anyway?

Humans are the only primates that don't have pigment in the palms of their hands.  But in the South, humans always have a little pig in the palms of their hands.  Along with barbecue sauce.  And some chicken wings.

Ten percent of the Russian government's income is from the sale of vodka.  The other ninety percent is from tax on the sale of vodka, comrade.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.  Not true.  The names L'month, J'orange, L'silver, and J'purple do.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.  I bet Elmer Fudd knows.

The longest recorded flight of a chicken was thirteen seconds.  Waiting at second fourteen was Colonel Sanders.

Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.  And it doesn't taste good on deviled eggs, either.  Trust me.  Use paprika.

James Doohan, "Scotty" on Star Trek, was missing the middle finger of his right hand.  I bet Captain Kirk had something to do with that.

The list goes on:  never follow a possum across the road, any conversation beginning with the word "Look" is going to end badly--very badly, when you answer the phone and the caller asks for you by your complete legal name--hang up, etc. 

All things we need to know.  And use.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

The most confusing day in Lumpkin County is upon us:  Father's Day.

But seriously, I love any day that Hallmark decides needs another card.  Primarily because I really enjoy Hoops and Yo-Yo cards.

I am blessed to have had a wonderful father and to have had three wonderful children.

I just wish Daddy would have been around to see his grandkids.  They wonder what he would have been like around them;  I know.

He would have loved them unconditionally, like he loved me.  Daddy was a great judge of character;  soon after he died I looked in his Bible and found a note from the last time he was in Sunday School.  Apparently the teacher had asked what kind of person you liked.  Daddy wrote on a small slip of paper "I like somebody who's the same every time I see them."  Me too, Daddy.

He would have told them stories, mostly true, sometimes embellished, often funny, but always with a point.

Daddy and Uncle Johnny (his brother, whom my children also missed the blessing of knowing) were going from Dahlonega to Gainesville in a '32 Ford Coupe when they were teenagers.  Daddy fell asleep, and at some point Uncle Johnny lost control of the car, flipped it several times into an open field where it landed upright on all four tires.  Uncle Johnny said that after they came to a stop, Daddy looked up and asked "Why did we stop here?"

He would have made sure they knew to put their hand over their heart when the American flag went by in a parade.  I was standing next to him at a parade in Barnesville one time, and when the flag went past I noticed he had his hand over his heart, but I didn't.  I never made that mistake again.  It cost him and his generation too much for me not to show respect.

It was in that same parade that Daddy noticed the man leading the parade, our Fire Chief.  Now I didn't hear Daddy say much bad about anyone, but he had the gift (and curse) of timely sarcasm.  As the Chief rode by on his black stallion, he and the horse each decked out in black attire with silver studs and such, Daddy said "Look, son, you don't see that very often."

"What's that, Daddy?"

"Two assholes on one horse."

He would have withered a lot of people I've met since that day.

Daddy would have held my babies, spoiled them and left their Mama and me to clean up the mess, taken them fishing and to parades and movies and who knows what else.  And I would have let him.

Not because I loved him so, but because he loved them so.

I miss them not knowing him.  I miss him not knowing them.

But mostly I just miss him.

I love you, Daddy. Still.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reflections On Faith

In these trying times, it's good to be clear about faith:

--Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's Chosen People.

--Jews do not recognize Jesus as Messiah.

--Protestants do not recognize the Pope as Leader of the Christian Church.

--Baptists do not recognize each other at Hooters.  Or at the liquor store.