The name Rod Stewart always brings me a smile. Why?
I remember back in my high school coaching days on a cold winter/snowy night after the kids had played a great basketball game in Covington, Indiana and won— on the bus ride back home (the coaches) let the bus radio play. A Rod Stewart song came on (“Hot Legs”) and all the players on the bus yelled “Turn it up.” (I think I might even been a part of that yell.) Great times and days. (By the way best popcorn in all of Indiana you could get at their games–smell hit you as you walked in the gym)
Oh those cold winter nights riding in one of them golden chariots. Great memories.
I don’t watch much television now days. Golf yes, “The Pickers,” maybe a magazine show or two and Sunday Morning show on CBS. But the other day I was watching a bit of a University of Tennessee football game. (That can be a bit painful at times.) Our oldest grandson is a graduate of UT and another grandson is currently a freshman there.
During a game time out they went to a commercial. The commercial was one doing public relations for the NCAA. They were pushing the idea to the viewers of the idea of the “student athlete.” Often seeing that commercial I “snicker” a bit at such.
But not too long ago I had something happen that made me think a bit. A college professor attends church where my wife and I do. Previously he had seen me at a college game where he teaches. “I’ve seen you at a lot games over the past couple years,” he said to me. (Not unusual I probably see 50 plus basketball games a year) He then called the name of one of the team’s players to me and asked, “Do you know this young man?” I told him I did and on occasion I sat with his parents at games. The family is from Indiana near where I once coached and they often drove down to see their son play.
The professor said to me, “He’s a good kid, I’ve got him in class. Good student, takes his role as a student very seriously. His schedule causes him to miss some classes but he always sees me before such and never fails to make up his work. He’s a pleasure to have in class.” By the way the prof does not teach “basket weaving.”
I have a couple that I met a few months back at my coffee shop. They have a grandson who is currently a star running back for a major college football team. Was one of the most sought after high school football players in the state three years ago. In watching a recent game in which he had scored the announcer referred to him as “a thoroughbred.” I had ask them what the recruiting of him was like. One of the things they shared with me was the academics at that school was a major factor in his going there. They shared with me his commitment to his college classes. “He will make it a point to graduate on time and he is already thinking about graduate school.”
So you know….I guess with all the chaos, hypocrisy in this world that one often sees, I need to be reminded there still are some “Abe Lincoln’s walking a mile to return a book, or a George Washington telling his parents ‘Hey I cut down that tree.” Yes. there are still such things as student athletes.
Recently I saw a young teenage boy made to feel badly when someone made some blanket statements regarding law enforcement, “My dad has been a policeman for twenty-five years and has never fired his gun.” I felt for the kid. So Larry think a bit before you want to make “blanket” statements or evaluations.
To steal a line from the old Tommy Dorsey, Piper Pipers and Frank Sinatra song:
On a recent car trip back east my wife and stopped for the night in Staunton, Virginia.
Staunton, Virginia is the home of Mary Baldwin College, the home of President Woodrow Wilson but more importantly in my book, the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame group, The Statler Brothers. Harold, Don, Phil and Jimmy (Lew).
I first heard the group in 1965. I still remember where (drive around the square in Frankfort, Indiana) when the song. “Carry Me Back” came on the car radio. The lyrics caught my attention.That would be the beginning of a love affair with the group. Over the years I would see them many times and on a few occasions have the good luck to sit and talk with them. They wrote so much of their material, especially the two brothers Don and Harold Reid. Much of their material had a strong appeal to those of us who grew up in the 1950s’. “The class of 57 had its dream, we all thought the world would change to fit our needs.”
The other night staying in Staunton, as my wife and I came in from dinner, walking into the hotel lobby I picked up a local newspaper. When I used to travel I always tried to get a local paper not just a national paper but a local one. Local papers give you a feel for the community.
Getting back to the room I sat down with a cup of coffee to look at the paper. Coming to near the back of the paper was a section entitled, “Engagements and Weddings.” As I looked at this section immediately I was taken back to one of my favorite songs of theirs that Don had written.
“I Saw Your Picture In The Paper”
I saw your picture in the paper Sunday morning
Lord, you sure looked pretty in your gown
The smile you were wearing was the one I remember
And your hair was never prettier
except when it was down
Yeah, I saw your picture in the paper Sunday morning
And to say the least it took me by surprise
I must’ve sit and looked at it for,
Lord I don’t know how long
Just thinkin’ what was goin’ on behind those eyes
I read the whole description
About the music and the bridesmaids
I’ll bet your daddy threw a fit when
he had to get dressed up in that tux
And I noticed where you sister came home from Texas
I know you were glad to see her
And known’ your mama, she probably cried
But then so did I
I saw your picture in the paper Sunday morning
By then the honeymoon was almost through
So now you’ve made your bed and I hope you lie well in it
And I hope you’ll both be happy, you see I still lie well too
I saw your picture in the paper……..
Backstage one night at a Johnny Cash concert in which, the Statler Brothers were a part of, my good friend Cohort (Mike) and I asked Harold about the lyrics of that song. “Was that song true,”? He gave us a smile and a quick answer, “Ask Don.”
I was reminded of something Tom T. Hall had once said to me when I ask him about a girl named Barbara Walker in a song he had written. I had asked him “was that line true.” He paused a moment and then said to me, I’ve never forgotten, “Every song is true……..to someone.”
Yes the song “I Saw Your Picture In The Paper”, yes it was true. True to probably more than just “someone.” Many someone’s. I even knew one or two.
Lebron James—Nike, the shoe industry–Check out and see where they sell millions of shoes—China….You think there might be a bit of money thoughts behind Lebron’s recent words in defense of China and his words regarding the movement against policies of China.. The NBA looking for new markets for their product. Come on folks think about this….its $$$$$$
As the old saying goes—“When they say ‘it’s not about the money….its about the money.”
“The application of contemporary perspectives in explaining past events rather than placing these events in their historical context.”
Today 2019 we are on the edge of the third decade of the 21st century and with the knowledge of today it is pretty easy to look back over the past and I think in some cases be too harsh. Too harsh on people and events of long ago. I really wonder had we lived during past times would we really have been more “enlightened.” Would we really have done a “better job” of life as it unfolded.
Today we see many people and institutions of the past attacked and discredited. True we as a country had and still have our faults. But in my travels I have yet to find a place where I would want to trade for what has been given to me. I find the United States the only country where on a mass basis people are trying to “get in rather than out.” I don’t see people trying to move to any socialist or communist country as I do with the United States. A few months back as I stood at what once was the Berlin Wall I remembered seeing film of people trying to go over the wall or the fence from East Berlin to West. Never the opposite.
Trying to make full judgement on the past is like reporting the score of an athletic contest the following morning but trying to make folks think it just happened. Giving ball scores a day later saying what should have been done is pretty easy.
Earlier this week my wife and I were in New Jersey.
We had gone there to attend and be a part of a good friends retirement activities. We had be on staff with him during our time with the United States Golf Association.. He was retiring after thirty-nine years on staff with the USGA. Can you imagine thirty-nine U.S.Opens? Congratulations Mike Butz.
(This is picture of the old mill in Clinton,NJ just a couple blocks
from where we lived)
While there we went to the little town where we had lived during our twenty-four years in New Jersey. The town of Clinton, which is located about thirty miles or so west of New York City. While there we drove around and looked at the places where we had once lived, kids schools, just some of the old haunts. On one of the streets we drove by a very old church. Next to that church was a cemetery, a very old cemetery. While living there I had often walked in that cemetery.
Something over the years I have often done when having the time is to walk old cemeteries. Walked them in numerous states and locations. Would walk and read old headstones. Interesting what has often been left as a reminder of the deceased. I think the best reading I once read on an old headstone in a location I cannot remember were these words:
“He made a difference.”
May we be so fortunate to leave such a legacy that our family and friends would think that much of us to have those fours words inscribed on our headstone.
“I used to think, as others may think, that the Middle West is supremely ignorant. I was wrong. The Middle West is supremely wise. It goes it own way, hating no man and fearing no-man.”
Quote from A Visit to America–1933 by
“The Midwest had a beauty that was un-startling, a way of going about its daily chores that was unspectacular. Yet everything about the place was reassuring: the sense of community, the closing of deals on a handshake, the unabashed expressions of hats-off patriotism (people glared at you in the Midwest League if you talked during the singing of the national anthem), the belief that a day’s labor was an honorable pursuit. Being “average” is seldom a complimentary label, but that, in the kindest sense, is what the Midwest is.”
Stolen Season–A Journey Through American & Baseball’s Minor Leagues
Mr. Macdonell this was something we Midwesterners had always known.
This morning I had just left my coffee place headed south on Franklin Road. I had slipped in a cd and it was perfect timing. Just like I had planned it. As one of my favorite songs came on I was right in front of what had once been the home of the person who had written and recorded that very song.
Songwriter and singer Bobby Russell had once lived in that very pretty antebellum home that I was now in front of and on my car cd player came the song “Little Green Apples.” Russell, a member of the Nashville Song Writer’s Hall of Fame, over the years had written a number of hit songs. “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Honey,” or the Elvis hit, “Do You Know Who I Am.” He also was once married to a star of the Carol Brunette show, Vicki Lawrence.
As I drove on it caused me in a more serious way to think about the matter of timing.
I kinda shuttered as I recalled the time I crawled out from under my ’64 Mustang to answer a phone that would not quit ringing. I was disgusted with what I thought was a bother. As I walked a few feet from the car it fell off its jacks. Had I not had that phone call whose knows what might have been my fate laying under that car.
Or the night I was coaching a high school basketball game, earlier in the week I had been named the golf coach. That night one of the referees, five years later, would think of me, call and offer me a position on staff with the United States Golf Association. A job that would see my family and I spending nearly twenty-five years. (Living about thirty miles west of the Big Apple.) What might be the odds of me meeting someone who would be in such a position to one remember me and secondly think enough of me to offer me such a position years later?
Then all I’ve got to say God didn’t make little green apples
And it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime
Do you ever think about the matter of timing in your life?
How and why certain things just happened when they did? Suggestion, sometime you might take a minute and do such. Did that just happened or might there be more behind that happening?