EVERYONE SUCKS 2016

My brother put a campaign poster in his front yard, EVERYBODY SUCKS 2016. According to him, and I believe him, a Trump supporter left a letter suggesting that since he was so disgruntled he might consider “moving to Uganda.” I am unsure of why Uganda? If life gets so bad in these United States I am probably not going to pick a corrupt, violent and land locked country in Africa. I would just take my chances and stay put in my little piece of heaven that is landlocked in the corrupt and violent nation of the United States or move to a country with a lot of coastline, sea breezes, dark rum AND scantily clad beach bunnies.

I find my brother interesting. More than I would ever admit to him personally so don’t dare let him know I said such a thing. He tends to be irreverent, infuriating and refuses to admit that he is probably as much a SOCIAL liberal as his older brother. Well, nearly. I am probably closer to some of his conservative ideas than I would EVER admit to. Despite this fact, there is STILL plenty for us to disagree upon. This is not one of THOSE disagreements however…yet. It may become one.

“If you are unhappy with the US just leave” seems to be the patriotic “cover all” when someone uses their First Amendment rights to suggest that there might be a “fly in the soup” that is the United States. I’ve seen it directed toward Colin Kaepernick and any other athlete who dared to kneel during the National Anthem, toward BLM protesters in general, Muslims citizens or refugees, gay and lesbians, transgender, anyone who mentions gun control, even entertainers, etc. AND NOW MY BROTHER. It is beginning to look like a very crowded pool…and I don’t mean gene pool.

For some reason “If you are unhappy with the US just leave” reminded me of another “patriotic” quote I heard a lot during my childhood and teen years in the Fifties and Sixties. “My Country Right or Wrong.” Anyone of my age remember that? I have an idea I learned of it during a civics class or as I like to think of it “Cold War Propaganda 101.” It became the mantra of our jingoism or extreme patriotism and is originally attributed to Steven Decater of USS Philadelphia fame during the First Barbary War. Carl Schurz (a German revolutionary, American statesman and reformer, U.S. Minister to Spain, Union Army General in the American Civil War, Secretary of the Interior, accomplished journalist, newspaper editor and orator, who in 1869 became the first German-born American elected to the United States Senate) is responsible for another similar quote that I am much more comfortable with. “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

I would guess my brother’s anonymous letter leaver probably prefers the Steven Decater version. I find saying that My Country, right or wrong,” is somewhat like saying “My Mother, drunk or sober” and I just can’t see my mother drunk. I would think a sober country would be in all our best interest, setting wrongs right rather than suggesting dissenting folk just leave. What would happen if our potential Albert Einsteins, Enrico Fermis or Joseph Conrads decided to take us up on our suggestion, much like the real ones did when faced with the Nazi takeover of Germany. Do we want some of our best just to leave? Remember the only difference between our nuclear program and the Soviet nuclear program were our German scientist. (By the way, you should not take that as a reference to Godwin’s Law)

When I viewed my country during my youth I saw us “wearing white hats,” the cavalry coming to the rescue in the nick of time. As I have gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I have found that not to be true. I still love my country and believe it has done great things despite some bad intentions. I still hold out hope we can unite to do GREATER things for the BEST of intentions…yet.

For more subtle humor by Don Miller visit his author’s page at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

VOICES

If I go missing interrogate the squirrels, they are gathering nuts for the winter

Allow me the illusion that I am not crazy…rephrase…allow me the illusion I am not insane. I am crazy but not to the point of tearing wings off of flies, wearing tin foil hats or using those last words “Hey y’all watch this.” I’m more like Jimmy Buffett’s “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, if we weren’t all crazy we’d all go insane” crazy. However, I do hear voices and am crazy enough to believe they are attempting to tell me something…possibly something important. It has grown quite crowded in my head lately as a chorus of voices attempt to lead me down a path that is on the straight and narrow…or not.

The voices I hear are usually having some type of debate…or an argument may be a better description. I am reminded of the angel and devil from Animal House or maybe the food fight. Yes, more like dozens of angels and devils throwing food at each other while they debate the eternal damnation of my soul. A chorus of former acquaintances metaphorically yelling “F@#$ her, F@#$ her brains out,” followed by the chorus of former dead church members, led by the angelic voice of my mother, countering with “Fore shame Donald, I am surprised at you!” All the while, creamed potatoes are flying through the air. Maybe I should rethink that statement about insanity.
For the last few days my voices have sounded like shrill blue jays having such a particularly raucous squabble, my ear buds and running can’t seem to drown them out. Usually running will drown out everything except the pain of my running.

These are depressing voices…trying to pull me down by taking advantage of my predisposition toward depression. Voices heralding the end of the world, protest, death… disrespect. For some reason Stephen Stills voice reverberates with the words from “For What It’s Worth,” …” Paranoia strikes deep, Into your life it will creep, It starts when you’re always afraid, You step out of line, the man come and take you away.” A voice I can’t recognize points out, “Maybe the world hasn’t changed that much, maybe we are still protesting the same things. Maybe this is a never ending film loop. Maybe….” Other voices try and shout him down point out how fine things were until President Obama opened up a Pandora’s Box full of racism and somehow created ISIS.

I wonder about the order of issues bellowed out by my voices; end of the world, protest, death…disrespect. Another voice is now asking if a lack of respect for ourselves is the underlying culprit. Yet another is shouting “No it is the devaluation of life…if there is a lack of respect it is for the sanctity of life…my life and the lives of those I love.” More cacophony of dissonance…or is it? My angel and devil have now some taken on the persona of our presidential candidates…except I don’t know which is which, angel or devil.

It is a beautiful Sunday morning for a walk and run but I worry my voices will ruin it for me. Despite my trepidation I push on. My exertions seem to have quieted the voices. They became quieter and quieter as I ran along. While not in unison, as the quiet themselves they all began to ask the same question, a simple one-word question…” Why?” Their silence now worries me more than their question. Could it be their silence is an admission that there is no answer to the question?

For more unique life stories by Don Miller visit his author’s page at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

WITH APPOLOGIES TO AN EX

To quote coaching chum Duke Fisher, “Well Miller, you have stepped on your d@#$ again.” Yep, I fully admit to it and I am sorry.

I have a bad habit of trying to be funny. The bad habit is, despite my attempts, sometimes I am not at all funny…and sometimes I may hurt people’s feelings along the way. I don’t always feel regret when I hurt people’s feelings, those who I THINK deserve it, but I feel great regret when I say things without thinking them through and hurting people who don’t deserve it.

I wrote a teaser to advertise one of my books and included a “whimsical shot” at my ex. It was nothing more than an attempt to sell a book or fifteen and to be humorous. It would appear that I have failed on both counts. “Which ex do you ask?” For those of you who don’t know, I am not proud to announce, “I have two ex-wives.” I am also not proud to announce, “It was probably, mostly, my fault that I have two ex-wives.” I can give all types of excuses but in all honesty the bottom line is, “I was an immature jerk.” I also believe there is a “universal” plan in effect and that, for at least one of us, having exes was a good, if selfish, thing. I have managed to find the third time charm. I just celebrated my thirtieth anniversary with Linda Gail. This one might work out but I am taking no chances.

Both of my exes are fine people who have gone on with their lives…amazingly without me. The mother of my child did a wonderful job of raising our daughter into a woman and mother in her own right, that we both can be proud of, and with very little input from me. She did it while pursuing a career and maintaining her own household.

My teaser informed my possible readers that “If I ever need a heart transplant, I’d want my ex’s. It’s never been used.” It is just a teaser. Both of my exes are retired educators. That should tell you all you need to know about their hearts. Again, so sorry for my faux pas. You should realize how sorry I am since I used the little puppy dog meme. I promise never to attempt to use humor at your expense again.

I do have one request Facebook friends. Can we keep this between the thousand or so of you and me. Linda Gail already knows how stupid I can be.

However, if you wish to read more of my unique humor try clicking on http://goo.gl/lomuQf

COMEDIC COACH

I never thought well in the heat of the moment. I can’t tell you how many times over my forty-three years of coaching I have thought hours later, “I wish I had said that instead of standing like an idiot.” The following are funny and sometimes irreverent comebacks or statements about football situations that I wish I had used had I been bright enough or quick enough. I would guess I should say that some of these are R rated.

• Heard during a tackling drill: “Son that hit sounded like a mouse pissing on a cotton ball.”
• Said to one of our honor student football players: “You are the stupidest smart kid I have ever coached!”
• Getting ready for a certain team drill: “Half you guys over here, half you guys over there, the rest of you behind me.”
• Describing the blocking ability of our offensive line: “They couldn’t knock a sick squirrel off a commode.”
• A favorite of a former assistant: “If ifs and butts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas!”
• Lou Holtz during a film session to an offensive lineman: “I know you just got married but all holes don’t have to have hair around them.”
• During a scrimmage: “You are playing like old people screw. It’s slow, it’s disgusting and somebody is going to get hurt.”
• To an offensive tackle after missing a block: “Give me your helmet! I’m going to roll it out there and hope someone trips over it.”
• Along the same lines: “We’d do better with a cardboard cutout playing corner back.”
• To a running back: “Son you couldn’t escape from a wet paper bag.”
• Overheard after the HC said, “Men, the team with the biggest d@#$s will win this game!” A smart aleck from the back row said, “Coach, were in trouble. I’ve seen us all in the shower!”
• NC State defensive end Ronnie Banther when asked by Coach Lew Holtz if he could whip an Ohio State All-American offensive tackle. “NO SIR! BUT I’LL FIGHT HIM TILL I DIE!”
• From another assistant “He was so confused he didn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass.”
• An opposing coach: “You are so stupid you could fall in a barrel of titties and come out sucking your thumb.”
• From a friend talking about our passing game: “It’s like Halloween. Looks scary but it ain’t real.”
• Finally, my favorite, after blowing the same three assignments in a row, “It’s hard to believe you were the fastest sperm.”

Hope you enjoyed. For more unique humor you might wish to purchase one of Don Miller’s books at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

LOVE IN A PLASTIC CONTAINER

Blame it on my Grandmother! I associate love with food. “You have been such a good boy…here have a peanut butter cookie” …or another helping or five of chicken pot pie. My wife, Linda Gail, doesn’t associate love with food which would explain why she has never weighed in at more than a buck twenty and doesn’t eat left overs. I on the other hand have battled my weight since having my tonsils removed in 1956. Sixty years of war on my weight…after yesterday my war effort may have suffered a major setback but that is a story for a bit later. I once heard Linda Gail exclaim, “I forgot to eat lunch.” Forgot to eat? How do you forget to eat? I’m planning my next meal while I am eating THIS meal.

Linda Gail rarely eats left overs unless we do something creative with them…which, those of you who read me regularly realize, I DON’T HAVE A CREATIVE BONE IN MY BODY! BUT, for some reason my lack of creativity doesn’t stop us from collecting all of these plastic containers just perfect to put leftovers in…for me to eat. Also blaming my Grandmother, I have a hard time throwing away food. Open container, deep breath, okay that doesn’t smell too bad…I don’t see any green…yeah put a little catsup on it and it will be okay.

On the other side of the coin, Linda Gail can’t seem to throw away the containers. Oh we may need that to put food in. Okay, I’ll just put it over here with the other food containers. Linda Gail, you do realize we have enough food containers to send a regiment of soldiers out with left overs. JUST DON’T MICROWAVE THEM in the container, we don’t need soldiers coming down with some incurable disease. There are just two of us…if we had to store left overs for a week how many containers would we need? Seven to fourteen maybe? Oh and that doesn’t include the niffy Tupperware that we don’t use. Boy did that bring back a loving memory…Nannie’s peanut butter cookies in a Tupperware container. I can even hear the air rush in when it’s opened and the scent of “love” rushing out. Interesting, a Pavlovian response. Hold on while I swallow.

Side note: Tupperware, and its patented “burping seal, was developed seventy years ago by Earl Tupper. Let me say thank you sir!

Yesterday I got the phone call. Linda Gail’s ID came up so I answered. “What do we need when I stop at Wally World?” I ticked off a list and heard, “Can I get a smaller jar of mayo, we don’t have a lot of room in the fridge. I’m stopping at the Fresh Market.” Oh my, she is going to throw out my leftovers. To me leftovers are like “stealing a nap” in the middle of the day. What am I going to do? EAT THEM SILLY! Pork tenderloin, three days old, cantaloupe, four days old. Oh yeah, can’t let those peaches go to waste…these beans…I wonder what that fuzz is…nope. I’m not sure what this was but there is no fuzz or odd green colors…hummmm smells okay, still not sure what that WAS.

Burping contentedly and trying to “steal a nap” my reverie was interrupted by the return of my beloved. “Look what I got…seafood salad and croissants for it to go on. I knew seafood salad was one of your favorites. I got these mini chocolate croissants for dessert.” Who knew today would be croissant Thursday? “Let’s eat!” Oh man I’m as full as a tick on a fat dog. What am I going to do? Get fuller and enjoy love in a plastic container tomorrow. Bon appetite y’all!

DISSENT AND WHY?

In a previous blog I presented the post REPUGNANT. I am not going to repost it but it’s still there if you would like to read it. I did write the following and I quote…should one quote themselves? Anyway…

“The United States has a long tradition of protest. It actually dates back to before the United States was the United States. Anyone remember the Boston Massacre? It began as a protest by a group of people who believed an unjust government and its “minions” was marginalizing them. Granted the protest probably began with one or five too many drinks at a local tavern but it escalated to the hurling of insults and snowballs (maybe rocks too) at British Redcoats guarding the Customs House on Kings Street in Boston. It ended with five dead colonists and was heavily used as propaganda by the likes of Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. In a “no matter how much things change, they remain the same” moment, six of the soldiers were acquitted of their “crimes” and two others were given light sentences. Five dead colonist along with six wounded didn’t seem to amount to much.”

I now ask the question why did we protest? The answer is easy because we all have 20/20 hindsight and the benefit of great teachers and texts…well hopefully. Since we all know why I won’t waste time repeating it and simply go on to the point of this essay, DISSENT AND WHY?

Much has been written, posted, telegraphed or smoke signaled about Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful dissent along with certain allies’ such as Megan Rapinoe and a lot of it ain’t been good…and I guess that would depend on which side of the argument you are on. I don’t have an opinion; I just want to find answers to questions like why do Colin and Megan feel the need to dissent, would our Founding Father’s not also be proud of their protest since our Founding Fathers are responsible for our having the old First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech placed in the constitution, and why whenever a person of color, Muslim, transgender, lesbian, gay or three-eyed green alien with antenna dissents, the overwhelming suggestion is “If you ain’t happy here why don’t you leave?”

Dissent involving patriotism or the flag has never been popular, just ask John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Muhammad Ali…or the thousands of Viet Nam War protesters. But they had real reasons to protest, right? Old Number Seven makes millions, has adopted white parents, blah, blah, blah. I posed the question to a friend of color and he answered my question with a question and this is his quote not mine. “Do you know the difference between a rich n!@@#$ and a n!@@#$?” After pondering what I thought was a trick question I answered, “Money?” He was quick to respond “No, there is no difference. A rich n!@@#$ is just a n!@@#$ to some folk.” I will just throw out a question for you to ponder, “Why is that?”

The second question is a slam dunk. Our Founding Fathers are spinning with glee in their graves…well maybe. If I remember my history courses focusing on the period before our biggest example of dissent, The Civil War, The War Between the States, The War of Northern Aggression or The War of Southern Independence…see we still can’t agree and neither could our Founding Fathers, but they knew how to compromise…well except for the Burr-Hamilton duel. Again dissent used to be a good thing…well except for Alexander Hamilton.

The third question deals with the pitfalls of social media I hope. There seems to be a small, what I hope is small, group who wants the fabric of the United States to be the same…as in white. Diversity be damned. My question is why are we not calling them out. What happened to the so-called “Moral Majority” because I believe such suggestions to be immoral! We should be able to disagree without the suggestion that we should just leave. During my first year of teaching in 1973 our black assistant principal was disciplining one of our white students. This period was just three years after forced desegregation and people were still…a…bit…irritated. When the discipline was administered, the young man expressed his displeasure with her by stating, “I wish you’d go back to ‘whare’ you ‘come’ from!” She replied, “Why do you want me to go back to Greenwood?” The young man was silent…and I just don’t think he meant anywhere in the United States.

Dissent creates conversation…and hopefully THOUGHT! It should create an open dialogue for most of us. It should provide an opportunity to study and learn. None of us are perfect nor is the United States. Instead of “Making the United States Great Again” maybe we should have a little dialogue on how to correct our ills to simply make the United States great period.

No I am not moving back to Indian Land because you disagree with me. Again don’t just disagree, ponder why we disagree.

For more unique outlooks on life by Don Miller visit his author’s page at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

DREAM GHOST

Sitting in the dark in front of my computer…a bad habit sitting in the dark but one that seems to suit me. Most nights she comes to me in the dark. Tonight it was easy for me to visualize her leaning against the door jamb while gazing out across the pasture and lake that sat below it. Staring out at a ghost that only she saw? I often caught her in this pose but she never told me what she saw…I was afraid to ask. I was not sure I really wanted to know. Her back was against the jamb with one foot on the floor, the other against the jamb, her hands clutched together between her thighs or wrapped under her breast. Could she be looking back at the past as I often do?

She was a fine figure of a woman and there was still be enough dim light from the outside to outline her curves. I could not stifle the rising heat I felt. A simple white cotton dress…the thought made me ache. I missed how the simple cotton dress slid off her smooth skin and smiled at the memory of being able to produce goosebumps on her arms, the tops of her breast, the…my smile turning downward with sorrow as I remembered…she is gone…gone forever and only alive in my memories and dreams. I had lost her once and then regained her…there would be no reclaiming her again.

It is not healthy but I let my memories take over…like so many nights. The nights were the worst…and the best. She came to me during the night and left me as dawn broke. Tonight she led me to the old car…my…our forty-year-old MGB. It was a fine night to put the top down and ride to…anywhere…or nowhere. She sat with her long legs tucked under her, the hem of her dress tantalizingly riding up her dark thighs. Her smile told me she knew what I might be thinking. As I ran through the gears a full moon followed us making the need for headlamps unnecessary on the old river road. Shadows danced around us as we fled through the night…to our spot overlooking the river with the lights of Trinity highlighting the horizon. As I parked and turned to her she came into my arms smelling like the gardenias growing outside of our front porch. I imagined her soft skin prickling slightly as I touched her.

A banshee screamed in the distance. It seemed to be getting closer. The closer it sounded the farther she seemed to be. “No don’t leave…Please…Not yet.” It was no use. She left me again as I staggered to my feet still trying to hang on to any part of the dream despite knowing it was futile. I was stiff and foggy from sleeping in my chair. The inside of mouth was foul from the last cigar of the night…and the fifth bourbon of the evening. Staggering I found the alarm clock and shut down the shrieking. After washing my face, I was not happy with what greeted me in the mirror. Puffy gray skin only accented the red rimmed eyes reflected back at me in the dim early light. Death eating a shit sandwich. I could not go on living like this…nor did I want to.

For more unique life stories by Don Miller visit his author’s page at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

RIVER WALK-IN HONOR OF OLIN GRIFFIN WHO PASSED EARLIER THIS WEEK

The un-named river road by my home, one of several river roads in the area which bore no sign, was a twisting affair that eventually ended up on the banks of the Catawba. To a four or five-year-old the road seemed longer than the Great Wall of China; however, in reality, the path was probably no more than three miles, if that. The Catawba was wide, wild and strewn with boulders. Hundreds of ducks crowded a feeder branch and would rest on the banks or float lazily on the water. My guess is today it would look pretty much the same…except maybe not as wild as I thought, rather slow moving. Back then the city of Rock Hill could be seen on the distant bank across the water. Now the city seems to have crept across the water, invading our side and displacing the ducks.

The river road began at my home and meandered through fields and pasture land, gradually rising, until it reached the hill where the old Collin’s house and barn sat. Then it would rapidly fall through a mixed forest down to the banks of the Catawba. There were many other dirt paths off the river road and my four-year-old self was concerned that we might become lost.

At some forgotten moment in the mid-50’s much of this land would become the possession of H. L. Bowers who began his working career as a carpenter’s helper for my Uncle Hugh Wilson. Later Mr. Bowers invented a process that would reclaim cotton from cotton waste. This process made him a millionaire several times over. He would purchase more than seven hundred acres of land from my grands and my uncles, Banks Griffin and Hugh Wilson, along with several other land owners. Despite his wealth, he was still a country man. I remember many times seeing him bouncing along his pastures in his always brand new Cadillac. With that abuse, those Caddies didn’t stay new very long which is why he purchased the latest model every year. I would guess you would need to purchase often if you treated your Coupe Deville like a GMC quarter ton.
The day was bright and glorious like all days when you are four. The river road still split my grandparent’s land and Mr. Bower’s overseer, Roddy McCorkle and his family, had not yet moved into the old Collin’s place that sat on the highest hill overlooking what would later become a twenty-five acre lake. PawPaw’s corn field and cotton patch were still on the south side of the road and the pasture, watermelon and tomato patches were up hill to the north. Many of my days were spent carrying water to those tomato and watermelons using a pail dipped in the small stream that “sometimes” ran through the property. Later in the fall, watermelons would be placed in the stream to cool and provide a sweet snack late in the day. Farther on down the road sitting off in the woods to the north was a sawmill that PawPaw and his brother Banks ran in the winter to supplement the household income.

I have no idea what possessed my Uncle Olin and Cousin Hall to take me along on a hike to the river. I was a little thing, no more than four. For all I know my grandmother may have paid them to take me just to get me out of her hair. Olin, my mother’s brother, was a tall lanky kid with bushy curly hair–tall as in six-foot-forever to a four-year-old. Hall was the son of Aunt Bess, my grandmother’s sister who lived just up the road from us and whose family ran the general store and cotton gin. Hall Junior was much shorter and sturdier-looking than Olin. Hall, known as Junior during this early life, sported a GI crew cut that he wore until he died. Olin would go off to Clemson College taking advantage of the school’s ROTC program in the hopes of becoming a Navy pilot. His dream would be thwarted by color blindness, consequently, he was forced to serve as an officer in the “blue water” Navy. Hall would join the Army and earn paratrooper wings so one of them got to fly…sort of, I guess. Somewhere in my mind is a snapshot of Olin in dress Navy whites along with a very attractive young nurse also in dress whites. They sure were young…and in love. That young nurse, Gayle Miller, in a fit of insanity, agreed to marry him and fifty years or so later they must still be in love as Gayle somehow has tolerated “Big O.”

They were no more than seniors in high school themselves; well, Olin might have been a freshman at Clemson at the time. Anyway, to me they seemed like Greek gods who had come down from Olympus to put me on their shoulders and carry me to the river, at least on the trip back. Mainly I would ride on Hall’s shoulders because Olin’s shoulders were way too far off of the ground for me to be comfortable. I am sure that I wore out poor Hall but no way was I going to climb Mt. Olin and ride him home. Even today I still get a nosebleed standing on a short ladder.

Hall and Olin were a happy pair, full of LOUD AND EAR-PIERCING laughter that accompanied every story they told and they told a lot of stories. I don’t remember much but do remember stories of catfishing, frog gigging and buzzards. No…no one ate a buzzard but someone, whose initials were Olin Griffin, got a nickname for illegally shooting some, I do declare. On a low bluff we paused to rest before making the trip back home. Both guys became a little more serious as they talked about Indian graves and battles that occurred between the Catawbas and the Cherokee. They told stories that included ghosts and long-dead Indian warriors, stories that might have been intended to scare a four-year-old. That bluff was quiet and a bit eerie. Years later when friends and I would go camping and would tell our own ghost stories, the bluff was still kind of creepy. But…I am sure there are no such things as ghosts.

When I was nine, my grandfather died. It was a gray, cool and misty day, both outdoors and inside of my head. I was sick and can remember my father joining me on the couch to tell me the bad news. My grandfather’s memory would haunt me for the next several months. In fact, that next fall, before school began, I slowly peddled my Schwinn Phantom toward the now named “Bower’s place”, past the cornfield of my grandfathers. It seemed to be a lonely field because it had been left unplanted. I felt a bit of despair and started to shed a tear or five until I looked up and saw a figure in the middle of the field waving at me! He looked a lot like my dead grandfather! For some strange reason, at that moment, my mood lightened. Then the figure dimmed and disappeared. Even though he seemed to just vanish into thin air…I am still not sure there are no such things as ghosts.

When I was older I would end up working those same river bottoms for my Uncle James and then later for Mr. Bowers. Whether I was baling hay or hoeing and pulling corn, there was never a time that I didn’t think about that “River Walk” with my uncle and cousin when I found myself on the banks of the Catawba. Sadly, Hall has passed on and left us now. I called Olin and Gayle last week. They are happy as clams and both much stronger than their age. Their kids and grandkids are close by in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I want take a trip to visit soon, to see them in person. Olin still has that loud and piercing laugh which I was so glad to hear again. As I listened to the familiar laugh which took me back in time, I realized that I need to remind Olin of the River Walk. Also, I feel an especially strong urge to tell him the story about his dad. I wonder if Olin believes in ghosts.