I was close to my father-in-law, and rarely a day goes by without him crossing my mind.

A Pike County native, Bruce flew bombers during World War II and came home to Kentucky where he spent most of his working life in the coal business. From his earliest days through the war years and well beyond, he was a music lover.

Perhaps more than any other artist, he appreciated Glenn Miller. In his final years, he often spoke of a great desire to ride the underground beneath the English Channel (Where Miller’s plane went down), just to have a chance to pass near the band leader’s final resting place.

I recently spent an entire morning listening to vinyl albums Bruce collected. It was almost like having a little bit of him right there in the room with me.

There is an unquestionable age gap in our musical tastes. Many of his old albums were recorded by people with orchestras - “ … and His Orchestra” is a frequent phrase on the covers. Many of the albums I sampled bored me beyond belief. The good stuff, however, is the good stuff.

I had never heard of Erroll Garner, for example. My late father-in-law schooled me from the great beyond by having the pianist’s debut album in his collection. Highly improvisational, his style has influenced many of the musicians I admire, yet I was not familiar with his works. I’ve now listened to both sides of that album all the way through twice.

It was the music of Glenn Miller, of course, which seemed to be extra special to my ears, heart and mind that morning. I imagined a young redheaded Bruce Clevinger in a US Army Air Corps bomber jacket with fur collar, working at the airfield with his crew preparing to “fly the hump” through the Himalayan mountains in a B25, as Miller’s music played through loudspeakers overhead.

As Miller’s music shifted, I also envisioned Bruce and my late mother-in-law, Joyce, decked out in their finest clothes to go dancing or attend a United Coal Company Christmas party.

It was a wonderful morning reminiscing and enjoying the memory of two people who brought my beautiful wife into this world.

Thank you for taking care of those albums Bruce. From here on out, I’ll listen to them with you every chance I get.

You are invited

If you have something to say to the local Commission on Aging and Special Needs Citizens, mark your calendar for November 27.

Grayson’s Commission on Aging and Special Needs Citizens will meet at 6 p.m., Nov, 27 at the city building.

“It’ll be our second ever meeting,” commission member Shadow Skaggs said, adding “Open to all!”

Thankful? Yes

While I won’t begin to pretend 2018 has been the most wonderful year ever, I will swear, affirm and attest I am a truly thankful person as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving.

At the least, I can say I’m well aware of how much worse things could be. My wife has faced the greatest challenges of her life during the past 11 months. She has been an absolute inspiration to myself and others throughout this situation. Her speech, balance and physical limitations are still severe, but she is doing better.

I am just thankful she is still here with us, and hope for continued progress as we embrace the Christmas season. Please enjoy your family and loved ones this Thanksgiving. Life truly can change in the blink of an eye.

Goodbye to Kmart

Any day now, local employees will lock the doors at Grayson’s Big K Kmart for the last time.

If you want to learn more about what happened, there are plenty of business stories online offering educated insights.

The bottom line, by my measure, is that the people who ran Sears and Kmart into the ground got greedy. They absolutely lost touch with their most loyal customers while also failing to connect with new markets and robbing their own shops of quality and value.

The people working at those stores could only watch and obey as their corporate masters dictated their demise. We offer a salute to the local employees will undoubtedly do a great job as the local store counts down the final days, and hope each of them is able to find new employment quickly.

Biz Wiz in Olive Hill

Olive Hill will be a great spot to visit this weekend as you get your Christmas spirits and shopping in gear.

The Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce “Biz Wiz” will be at the parking lot next to James Do-It-Best Hardware from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, with free hot chocolate, spiced apple cider, cookies, candies and Christmas cheer.

I know I will be taking photos at The Drive-In for a story planned for publication next week, but otherwise remain open to suggestions. If you can help point me toward others who meet the description “hard working people working hard,” please shoot me a note.

Tim Preston can be reached at tpreston@journal-times.com, or by telephone at (606) 4745101.

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