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Columns

  • Lesson about the power and importance of a hug

    She sits among several of her fellow residents at the long-term care facility I visit, ensconced in her whee chair, sometimes napping, sometimes staring. I suppose I’ve walked past her dozens of times, greeting her with a casual “Hello” or “How are you?” I can’t say I’ve taken the time to wait for a response. I’ve felt her tired eyes following me as I’ve quickly disappeared around the corner and down the hallway.

    But this day, she stopped me cold in my tracks.

  • Sorting out what’s important on the porch out back

    At my house, there’s a back porch.

    Actually, you probably would call it a covered patio. Because I like to think of myself as a Southerner, it’s a porch to me.

    The neat slabs of concrete made from creek rocks have been behind the house since well before we moved in about eight years ago. It’s nothing new but I “discovered” it again last Wednesday night.

    Sometime around 10, the Schnauzer that shares our home wanted to visit the backyard. For some reason, I decided to walk out as well.

  • What our country needs from the news media

    These days, the scandal involving long wait times at VA hospitals can feel like some made-in-Washington spectacle generated by politicians looking for headlines. But it isn’t.

  • Encountering nice people along the road

    Granddad Whitlock, whom we affectionately called Pappy, liked to say the people in Texas were among the friendliest folks on earth. Pappy was born in Texas, in the tiny town of Osage. Although he spent most of his adult years in Oklahoma, he always was proud to be a native Texan.

  • New roads provide new perspective about our travel

    In the 12 years since my mother’s death, I’ve probably driven by the old home place less than a dozen times.

    For a while, it seemed necessary to avoid that stretch of Ky. 1500 between Vine Grove and Fort Knox. But time eases the pain and warm memories eventually won out over grief and loneliness.

    On Memorial Day, a trip along the route felt appropriate. It also would provide a look at the new access road leading to Bullion Boulevard at Fort Knox.

    So turning off Joe Prather Highway, I headed to see what had changed.

  • Victory can be found by just sticking it out

    We had just finished supper when the phone rang. Only a few hours before, I had been playing football on the sandlot team that my brother Mark had formed after I had hounded him to do so.

    That team was my only hope of playing in 1965, since I was still too young for Washington Elementary School’s football team. Eric was even younger than I was.

    Mark was the perfect coach for our team. After all, he played football for the mighty Bulldogs of Altus High. He coached us up and even scheduled a game with another team that one of his football buddies had formed.

  • Auction discovery possesses rare value

    On a cold Friday night before spring arrived, my sister attended an indoor auction — more for entertainment than acquisition.

    Attending auctions can be fun. A good auctioneer puts on a great show from the melodic chant of the sale to the comedic banter between offerings.

  • Money-raising tools require your attention

    You can raise money for just about anything nowadays. Using crowdfunding sites, anyone can ask for donations to pay for medical costs, trips and tuition, to name a few. But if you’re looking to give to a worthy cause, how can you be sure these causes are legitimate?

  • Are your credit cards ready for vacation?

    f your summer plans include traveling out of state or overseas, avoid stress and money problems by preparing ahead of time.

    In an effort to reduce credit card fraud, many companies will lock an account if it’s being used in an unfamiliar spending pattern. This includes being used in a different state or country and charges that are not the normal spending amount.

  • Check scam targets direct-sales agents

    Representatives for direct sales companies such as Avon, Mary Kay and Thirty-One Gifts are being targeted in a fake check scam. Scammers pose as new customers and try to con consultants out of hundreds of dollars.

    If typically begins when a consultant for a direct sales company receives an email or text message from what appears to be a potential customer.