Boo-Hoo on the Atlanta Falcons “Dirty Birds”: Face it–Losing happens! Wednesday, Dec 29 2010 

I’m a Saints fan, unquestionably.  I have posted often about the Black and Gold since I started this blog.  In writing about my favorite team, I labor conscientiously to write passionately  but at the same time to write realistically about the game.   Since reason easily becomes passion’s slave (to roughly paraphrase a line from the Victorian novelist Thackeray), sports fans must be extra-judicious to avoid making foolish statements or advancing outlandish opinions that wither under the scrutiny of facts.  When I read other writers’ and bloggers’ less-than-circumspect gaffs of reason, I am all the more determined that my writing will never express similar foolishness.

For example, I used this blog to call a Dallas Cowboys writer to task last month after reading a post-game sob-fest that sounded ridiculous.

Jimmy Graham's 6 yd TD catch from Brees provided the margin of victory.

So here comes the 17-14 Falcons loss to the Saints Monday night in the third-highest rated TV game in MNF history.  Like all good fans, I relished the hard-fought triumph against one of the truly elite teams with the best record in the NFL this season.  I checked out the Falcons website, also, to see how they were reacting to the loss.  Kind of like the Cowboys players after the Thanksgiving Day game, the Falcons players and coaches weren’t making stupid remarks or otherwise expressing sour grapes.  Everything I heard and read sounded honest and professional.

But then I read some of the website writers’ stuff:  The piece that mystified me most was written by a fellow who argued that the Falcons pick-six of Drew Brees’ desperate and ill-advised pass late in the third quarter was the pivotal play in the game.

What?–Give me a break!   That play was the Falcons highest moment in the game, and it temporarily gave the Falcons the lead, but the score didn’t stand. How in the world was that play pivotal?????  Here are the writer’s own words:

“As far as game-changers go, there wasn’t one much bigger than Davis’ interception to end the third quarter . . .  It was pivotal in that it provided a score when scoring was nearly extinct in the game. It also gave the Falcons the lead, ending a third quarter that seesawed back and forth with zeroes on the scoreboard.”

Did this observer see the rest of the game?   Did he see the Saints drive down the field in a 90 yard drive in the fourth quarter and Brees throw the six-yard touchdown pass that provided the winning margin?  Did he notice the Falcons have to punt on their final possession,  after which the Saints  finished the last 3 minutes-plus without returning the ball to the Falcons because the Saints converted a clutch third down?  Did he notice the final score?

Maybe this writer just didn’t like facing the loss.  This guy, I suspect, let his rational guard down to the end that passion arrested reason in pitiful servitude.  Sorry, Falcons fans–Maybe we’ll do this again in mid-January and you’ll like the outcome better, or not, depending on the final score.  Meanwhile, when losing happens, . . . it does!

And guess what: It could happen again! To either team, for that matter.  So one way or the other, may we at least keep our heads screwed on straight with the stuff we publish  :).


Daddy’s Memoirs: Clarke College Christmas 2 (or 1?) Thursday, Dec 23 2010 

Daddy's latest pic: We thank him for the memoirs!

A few weeks ago I posted one of Daddy’s email stories I preserved, probably from around 10 years ago, when Daddy was still exchanging email with the family.  I don’t know if that was was the first Clarke College Christmas and this one the second, or vice versa–maybe my Sister who stars in both of these stories can recall if she was old enough.

By the way, I am copy/pasting this piece just like we received the original email message–The first person narrative voice is his.  Also, Daddy was in his upper 70’s in those days, and his hunt-and-peck keyboarding always abounded with typos and mechanical errors.    We were just glad to get the messages–We wish we still got messages from him, in fact.  But for now, we will cherish this preserved memoir from the sixty or so years ago.

Daddy Tales–Clark College Christmas

Last night I had just about finished writing another   good memory experience when I was reminded  I had an important meeting to attend at the I lost the writing.  Let me try to share it with you  again.  I think of this  many times during the Christmas season.  It was one

of those  Christmas experiences  a person would like to have repeated  many times ,but unfortunately it does not happen the same  way ever again.

This was our first Christmas  at Clark Memoral Jr. College.  Janice was just over three years old and Buster  was barely dry from birth.

WE hav a very active BSU  at Clarke.  Mr Farmer was really into it and gave great leadership and challenge to the  students.

In the days right after  Thanksgiving,  the BSU council  challenged the student body to  set a very high goal for our  part in the Lottie Moon

Christmas Offering for Foreign  Missions.  To reach that goal we were asked to make some sacrifices.  We were assked to say to our families at home  to

send us the money they would  spend on our  Christmas  gift  in place of thegift  and this money would be given  to the  Mission Offering.   We did that

and gave  the money  tothe offering,even the money were to use for gifts for Janice and Buster.  Their gifts were not going to be that  great  because we

did not have much to get gifts with. $ 125 a month does not allow for manyextras.

We did not plan to go home for  Christmas  because we did not have the money for the trip  and we also had to go  up to Mt.Pisgas church on the

weekend.  During the days off of school I along with some of the other students,had an opportunity to do some work  around campus to earn a little extra

change.  In the midst of all that was going on, there was an unusally  high

sense of Christmas and the birth of our Savior.  There was a quiet peace, and hap;piness among the students  and  their families  on campus.  There was a

lot of sharing what you might have with one of the other fmilies that did not have much.

In the midst of all that was going on  a person could feel Christmas, it was  a feeling   such as I have never had since.

The event that really put the icing on the cake for me  was  the actions of our next -door -neighbors.  They were a couple just a little older

than Mama and me.  They had  been married for quite a few years but had no children of their own and theymore or less adopted Janice and Buster.  Well

,Christmas morning  there was a knock on our door.  When we answered it was our neighbors  coming to bring gifts to Janice and Buster.  ,Through the

years I have many times  in my own mind relived that  Christmas morning and remembering the gift this couple had for Janice,but cannot for the life of me

,remember what they had for  Buster.  Ofcourse,he was a little baby ,so naturally  his gift was something suitable . But Janice’s gift was ababy doll

about twelve inches tall and when those people came in with those gifts  , as I have said , a feeling came over me that I had never exoperienced before

,nor since.  It was what Christmas was all about,love and people thinking  of others and sharing .  I cannot remember the names of that couple, but the

memory of the gifts that couple  brought to my children will never be forgotten.

And that ‘s the end of the story

Sadie the Dog’s Field Day Tuesday, Dec 21 2010 

Sadie pauses to survey the distance.

This is the best time of year for taking Sadie the Dog to the wide open spaces on the outskirts of town right off campus not far from home.  The cold weather earlier in the week has driven the snakes into hiding, the muddy ground is firm enough to keep my shoes relatively dry, and all that’s left in the  field after harvest is rice stubble.

As soon as we cross the levee to enter the field, her gait visibly escalates to a high gear–She bounds about, cutting frisky circles and figure eights, her nose pressed to the ground sniffing for mice, crawfish, and varmint scents.

For a dog confined most of the time to a 65 X 40 subdivision back yard, these outings are good for Sadie.  Thankfully, she’s the kind of dog I can let off the leash without worrying that she’ll bolt or wander off.  She’s very good about following my lead, and she takes full advantage of the occasion to be the instinctive creature that she is.

Checking out the varmint scent.

Weather Forever: So long, Nash Roberts Tuesday, Dec 21 2010 

I heard the news today on WWL radio that 92 year old trail-blazing TV meteorologist Nash Roberts passed away.  Part of my childhood will be buried with the

An image of the Nash I recall from childhood

legendary Nash.

In the late 50’s/early 60’s, long before the Weather Channel created weather-as-entertainment, Nash Roberts did the nightly weather on WDSU TV in New Orleans.  I think my Daddy esteemed Nash more than he did President Kennedy in those days, deferring to Nash’s informed forecast in planning the workload from day to day.

In that era before computer graphics and satellite overlays, Nash “drew” the weather on an erasable map with a felt-tipped marker.  As youngsters, we’d play “weatherman,” emulating Nash,  drawing the familiar weather symbols for cold front or warm front or stationary front with crayons on sheets of paper.

Nash will historically be remembered for (1) pioneering local television meteorology and (2) his sagacious acumen for tracking hurricanes.  He is particularly renowned for uncanny accuracy in predicting the paths of Betsy and Camille, often at odds with the Hurricane Center’s predictions.  He really knew what he was doing.

So farewell to Nash Roberts: May winds of peace prevail upon his memory.


The FFA Parliamentary Law Demo: A Trip Down Memory’s Lane Wednesday, Dec 15 2010 


The FFA team from Beau Chene receives instructions from the judge at the beginning of their competition.

Every year this time our campus hosts a regional FFA forensic events competition–a variety of public speaking contests, the FFA Creed recitation, and the slickest of ’em all, the Parliamentary Law competition.  I always volunteer to judge the public speaking, so I usually miss the “P-law” contest going on at the same time.

Today I was fortunate to finish judging while Parliamentary Law was in progress, so I slipped into a seat far back in the auditorium as the youngsters from Beau Chene High School received  instructions for their mock meeting.  Mock meeting or not, the competition is very serious and requires the team members to not only apply Roberts Rules of Order to the proceedings, but also to think nimbly on their feet as they extemporaneously manufacture a debate on the pro’s and cons of the  issue they’re  handed at the beginning of the demonstration.

Watching their performance brought back memories of my own days as an FFA Parliamentarian: 1969-70, Covington High School, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.  We were so good we made it to the State  championship.  We went up against a team from Erath High School in Vermilion Parish.  Sadly to report, we came out second that day.  Finishing second was an honor, certainly, but I’ll never forget our sponsor grumbling all the way back to Covington about how those “little Coonies” from Erath with their strong Cajun accents “couldn’t  speak English right.”

I really don’t think their accents was the issue.  After all, our  team had pretty flavorful  accents, too–a characteristic Southeast Louisiana melange of red neck and New Orleans twangs and tones.  Our sponsor just couldn’t take losing, I”m afraid.

Nonetheless, watching the kids from Beau Chene demonstrate this afternoon brought back rich memories.  What most impressed me was how little the procedures and rituals of the competition have changed.  After all these years, I also found that Robert’s Rules of Order is still embedded in my memory.   I enjoyed anticipating their strategies to apply the rules as they maneuvered their make-believe deliberations through the maze of motions and amendments specified by the judges in the initial instructions.

Something else that hasn’t changed over the years is the steady character-building nature of FFA.  As in my high school days, the same today, these FFA students are largely blue-collar learners.  Agriscience continues to dwell across the vocational tracks of campuses in the low-rent district of shop and greenhouse, so the FFA chapters frequently don’t attract the school’s brainest scholars.  That’s one reason I find such reward in watching those earnest lads and lasses in the competitions.  The FFA kids now, as in my day, don’t achieve the celebrity of  athletic champions or  glitzy Honors/AP scholastic competitors, but they pour their hearts into their work, and character grows.

They rarely get the recognition they deserve, so here I raise my salute to Future Farmers of America!

Daddy’s Mississippi Christmas Many Years Ago Sunday, Dec 12 2010 

Daddy's latest pic: We thank him for the memoirs!

Several years ago, God gave me the vision to save some of the memoirs Daddy posted when he was still sending family email.  This reflection (Daddy’s) recalls a stomach virus at Christmas that ravaged the family before I was a member of it way back in Mississippi (late 40’s, early 50’s).  Daddy’s writing is original and unedited–pristine expression!

Daddy’s Mississippi Country Christmas

Last night I shared with you  one of the best Christmas experiences.

As I thought about that this morning I was also reminded of  one of the worst

Christmas experiences.   This one took place  the first Christmas we  were

living  next to Mt.Pisgah Baptist church in that little four room tenant

farmer’s house  with four rooms and a fire place for heat.

The house had been  vacanrt for several years when I asked the owner

if we might be  able to use it  when we moved  away from Clarke.    I was to

graduate from clark  in  the middle of January and I did not want to

continue  in school . Again we did not go home for Christmas because of

shortage of travel money,ut we did spend a few days at the church  and had a

couple of work days on the house.

The ladies worked insid the house with Mama.  When some of them say the

wide gaping holes in the outside walls they suggestthat they get some of that

extra heavy wall paper to be  hide the cracks  as well as give the inside of

the house a better appearance.

The men work on the outside with me. There was lots of trash  to be

moved and weeds to be cut.  also since the only heat foir the house ws the

fireplace they  also cut down some trees  for firewood.

This was the huse that had no well  for water  nor toilet  for taking

care of those other needs.  There was no outhouse but plenty of hiding places

on the edge of the yard.  After we moved in I built my first outhouse, it was

a one e=seater.

I received my diploma from Clarke  about ten oclock that morning and

two men from  Blythe Creek church came down to move us in their large truck.

That was a ninety-five mile trip each way.  By lunch time we were on the road

. By night fall our furnituer was unloaded and we spent our first night  in

the country.

With that  background now I move on to  the  next Christmas.  This was

a big deal for  Janice and Buster.  Janice was old eto really be interested

in Christmas  and Buster  was over two years old  and he,too was interestred

.  The three of us went out into the woods  to cut our first  Christmas tree.

When we got it home we began trying to decorate the thing,but how do you

decorate a Christmas tree when you have nothing  with which to decorate it.?

Well, I don’t remember what we did for decorations but at lest we did have a

Christmas tree over there in one corner of the bedroom and  a couple of times

the mailman droped  large packages off  and the smaller packages within the

larger packages were spread out around that trree and we had a real Christmas

tree.   Talk about suspense!  This thing Buster is holding over our heads  is

nothing  compared to the suspense and anxiety  in the hearts and lives of two

small children.

The weather was about what you would expect  at that time of the

year.  It was cold and the fire in that fire place  was all we had for the

cold.  But we did have a feather bed  for our two little ones to sleep in.  I

would  heat two large stones in the fireplace  and a few minutes before we

put Janice and Buster into the bed I would put those hot stones in the bed to

warm it for them . The feathers were so deep in this thing  that when  Janice

and Buster were lying in the bed all you could see was the covers ,smoothly

spread over the two occupants.  They were actually buried in those warmed


Christmas morning  was somewhat  disappointing.  Something was

wrong. The excitement that had been building up for the last couple of weeks

and had about climaxed the night before  was gone.  Mama and I were sluggish.

Janice and Buster were the same.  The Christmas tree and all of its packages

did not seem to really exist.

Finally ,as though you were pulling teeth,packages were  being

opened.  I don’t re,e,ber what SantaClause had left for Janice but Bustr’s

Mawmaw  had not forgotten  her two year old grandson nd sent him a real

electric train.  I put the thing together but there was no enthusiasm.

Actually it was just as if there were no  electric train there. I put it all

up.    Later in the day I again tried to get some interest in the train and

other things that had been hiding in those packages under the tree but to no

avail.  It was a tough Christmas Day  the four  people,two adults and two

small children, had picked up the bug and it turned what was supposed to be

and exciting happy day,into a day of gloom.

Undoubtedly that was about one of the most disappointing

Christmas’sI hav e ever had.

The moralk of this story is ”  Stay away from anyone who has the bug

from now until  after January 1.



For Rex Ryan in memorium of Dandy Don Meredith: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over” Monday, Dec 6 2010 

Football is good this time of year.  Tonight’s Monday night football coup in New England provides a good time to blog about New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, an un-favorite (of mine) who has always come across to me as an obnoxious blowhard.  So he was in these days preceding his team’s ignominous, embarrassing loss at the hands of the Patriots, 45-3.  I couldn’t be happier at the outcome!

While most coaches in the NFL speak with deference toward their competition, Ryan typically gloats about his Jets.  He was particularly obnoxious earlier today in his pre-game remarks about the Patriots.  His statements amounted to haughty bravado.

So now that the Patriots kicked his team’s behind, I wonder how he feels?  I wonder what he’ll say to cover the noisy innuendo of his pre-game rhetoric?

On this day  we remember MNF’s legendary Don Meredith, who used to comically warble Willie Nelson’s lyrics, “Turn out the lights.”  The lights went out early this evening for the Jets.  Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jerk than Rex Ryan.

Monday Night Football's Don Meredith: "The Party's Over," he would sing.