Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Wednesday's Post

June 27, 2012

The smartest man I’ve ever known turns 100

June 27, 2012 — He didn’t go to college but he read hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books in his lifetime. He consumed two daily newspapers from cover to cover for much of his adult life.

His vocabulary was so extensive that he found no challenge in crossword puzzles and word games but he often tested his wife and kids by misusing words on purpose.

He traveled from coast to coast several times – free of charge – as a railroad hobo with a purpose – to see the world.

He told me that he once bragged to his pals as he left his small hometown that, when he returned, it would be in a car so large that it couldn’t turn around there.

And then, with a twinkle in his blue eyes, he told me that he was right because he rode home in a railroad boxcar.

He never had a course in accounting but his family and neighbors relied on him to prepare their income tax returns.

In a time long before computers and calculators, he could work math problems in his head faster than most folks could do them by hand.

He would not have been allowed to gamble in Las Vegas because he actually could count cards in a game of blackjack.

He was not a leader of men by choice but his co-workers in a railroad union insisted that he be their spokesman.

He could dress like a dandy on occasion but was more comfortable in his bib overalls, railroad cap and work shoes.

He was a patriot who would not tolerate criticism of this country. As the father of two baby sons at the time, he was not eligible for military service in World War II so he went to California and helped build Liberty ships.

His strength of character equipped him to survive horrible withdrawal symptoms as he singlehandedly detoxed himself from a lifetime of alcohol addiction just a few years before his death at age 65.

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Wednesday's Post
  • Old hospital is gone but not the memories

    Today’s concern about the fiscal health of Kentucky’s rural hospitals reminded me of one of my assignments as a reporter many years ago. I was sent by the Ashland Independent to Grayson to write a story about the closing of Stovall Memorial Hospital, the place of my birth some 24 years earlier.

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Who’s gonna fill their shoes’ a key question

    That question was the title of a great country song released in 1985 by the legendary George Jones. That scenario also applies today to the communities we call home and our local organizations that make life better for all of us.

    July 23, 2014

  • When neighbors were really neighbors…

    Lately I’ve been remembering why I’m glad I grew up in a small town where neighbors were really neighbors, not just someone who lived next door or across the road.

    July 16, 2014

  • I don’t have a pet animal but I do have pets

    After a lifetime of listening to friends and co-workers talk incessantly about their pets, I have decided to share some words about mine…my pet peeves.

    July 9, 2014

  • I make no apologies for loving my country

    Friday is the birthday of the United States of America. As an American, I’m incredibly proud of that fact.

    July 2, 2014

  • Can’t everyone grow their own vegetables?

    The sight of home vegetable gardens brings to mind a gardening adventure worth sharing. My friend and I heard someone say at church that growing your own vegetables could save money while providing your family with better, fresher food.

    June 25, 2014

  • ‘Let’s go fly a kite’ is more than a song title

    Are you concerned that too many kids today are preoccupied with handheld electronic devices and don’t know how to play outdoors? I, too, shared those feelings until a recent visit to the seashore with my grandchildren.

    June 18, 2014

  • Old ways, old days sometimes look better

    Dr. Jack Ellis, Morehead’s senior resident historian and a dear friend, sent me a copy of a clipping from the Jan. 24, 1935, issue of the Rowan County News, now called The Morehead News. “Woman fined in county court for gossiping” is the headline.

    June 11, 2014

  • Where do we find such men…and women?

    The tiny American flags fluttered in the breeze of a beautiful day. The hillside cemetery outside Grayson seemed to be covered with them like spring flowers. Again, I was awestruck by the sight of so many red, white and blue symbols of personal courage and patriotism.

    June 4, 2014

  • The ups and downs of a political journey

    In the spirit of this political season, I am recounting the tale of an affable chap who loved politics but found the winner’s circle only once.

    May 28, 2014