My wife and I welcomed a new member to our family Dec. 13 when our middle son married his college sweetheart, whom he dated for the previous nine years.
These words are dedicated to the memory of my friend, the late Otis Brumby Jr., publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal, who encouraged me to run this column each Christmas. It is also dedicated to those who believe.
It's Christmas again, which means we were granted another year. Ben Franklin was right: "Time is the stuff life is made of." It behooves us to ponder its swift passage.
It was late in the summer of my parents' lives that I was born into a family with three children well on their way to being grown and done with home.
On Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, my world came crashing down around me. It was the day I learned my mother has stage 3 lung cancer. My mom and my sister, who live in Missouri, broke the news to me during a FaceTime video chat, and I felt everything and nothing at the same time.
Well, here we are at the most wonderful time of the year. I would try to stretch out Christmas as long as possible, if I could. Instead of the "Twelve Days of Christmas," I would propose the "Twelve Months of Christmas." I love everything about Christmas!
'Tis the holiday season, and Christmas is rushing across the calendar like a runaway freight train. It is a time when families and cherished friends gather around the hearth to drink in all the good cheer. It's a time of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. And yet, Christmas has a sinister side - one we often exile to the extreme depths of our consciousness. I'm referring, of course, to home break-ins, thefts and frauds.
Editor, We left Florida for our trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania on Nov. 15. We stopped at the Denny's restaurant in Richmond Hill for breakfast, as we usually do. The restaurant was crowded, so we had to wait to be seated.
Maybe it's the fact that I have more days in the rearview mirror than I have ahead of me, but at this special time of year I am more aware than ever of the gift of friendships. Friendships are always the correct size, the right color and don't require a set of instructions on how to operate them. They are truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Georgia has one of the more popular K-12 tuition tax-credit programs in America, which is funded by the private contributions of approximately 18,000 individual taxpayers and 200 corporate taxpayers, who receive a state income-tax credit for their contributions.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about moonshine runner turned stock-car champion, Lloyd Seay, who was murdered in a dispute over sugar purchased to make illegal whiskey.
Editor, Common Core has curriculum mandates plus tests. The reason that this educational system is designed this way is so that special-interest groups can mine data from Common Core. Common Core is, in reality, a system of data classification. The tests enable our children's data be turned over to private organizations. No one oversees these companies nor does anyone - especially the government - know how this information will be used. Actually, this information will be accessible to the federal government. Now, Big Brother will be watching our children's progress throughout his or her school years.
You may recall that I vigorously opposed passage of a constitutional amendment in 2012 creating the State Charter School Commission that would allow an alternative method for authorizing charter schools in Georgia. You may recall, also, that the amendment passed handily. So much for my vigor.
We at Unity in the Community have been paying attention to the current news about the young black men being killed by police.
In a recent speech at the National Press Club, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, explained that improving economic opportunities for middle-class Americans is the key issue on which Democrats and Republicans should be focusing leading up to the 2016 presidential election and beyond.
In politics, you must take advantage of windows of opportunity. Sometimes good ideas are sidetracked by unfortunate events, a bad economy or even personality conflicts among political leaders. Given the risk of delaying decisions, Georgia needs to address its transportation shortfall quickly and practically.
My fellow Georgians: In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is required that I submit to you at the first of every year my State of the Column message. (Yay! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I do that gladly today. For one thing, this will be a lot shorter and less boring than the State of the Union address (Boooo!) and, also, we don't have to endure a bunch of fawning politicians trying to be seen on national television. (Yay! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
Editor, Since Georgia's own Sen. Johnny Isakson voted for discriminating against pre-9/11 veterans and later against ending this discrimination, I've penned and sent the following to then-Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who introduced the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013:
It happened the other day. It's funny how things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful, of those sweets that are tucked inside our hearts and unknowingly treasured.
Two weeks ago, my husband, daughter and I struggled to come up with a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law had just been staying with us, and she left that morning to head back to Florida. Since I'd given our house a good, thorough "pre-mother-in-law-visit" cleaning before she arrived, I was completely caught up on chores and housework.
With major policy decisions on transportation, education, health care and tax reform on the legislative agenda, Georgia should think beyond the traditional approach of spending more money as the solution for every problem. Focusing on ways to enhance economic opportunity and empower individuals beats doubling down on the status quo.
Editor, On behalf of Bryan County Children's Fund, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone who helped to support the program this year. We were able to provide Christmas gifts to over 400 disadvantaged children in our county. This would not have been possible without collaboration and assistance from local churches, businesses, schools, social-service agencies and many others. The communitywide response was overwhelming. We are exceptionally thankful to The Good Ol' Boys, who raised funds through the annual Santa Scramble Golf Tournament and to Pembroke Advanced Communication for use of their space ...
Editor, I read Mr. Bruce McCartney's letter to the editor regarding the Wounded Warrior Project. He is totally correct. The project is top-heavy with a greedy group of executives. The top 10 officers have a compensation package from $150,000 to $333,000 a year. The remaining funds are disbursed to over 40 distribution organizations with similar management configurations.
Allen Peake is a man on a mission. The five-term Republican state representative from Macon is the driving force behind proposed legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia. He may succeed this year after suffering a setback in 2014 when the House and Senate got into a bit of political brinksmanship at the last minute and failed to pass his bill, which had sailed through the House with only four negative votes.
My parents, according to the world's definition of "cool," were not. Neither drank, nor did either ever possess a credit card. Groceries and clothing were paid for in cash, utilities paid by check, and the only monthly payments they ever allowed themselves were a mortgage for a house, a short-term loan for another farm, and a couple of cars bought, over time, and paid for quickly.
When thinking about the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last month, one might ask, "What does Congress have against conservation?"
Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough: For the past 15 years, I have taken the opportunity at the beginning of the New Year to share some advice - first with your dad and his cousins and now with you, my great-grandson. I hope you don't mind and will bear with me. You probably would rather be playing with your Legos and I understand that but maybe something in this letter might make a difference in your life in years to come. I pray that will be so.
Editor, I've been seeing a lot more commercials for the Wounded Warrior Project on television recently, requesting that I send in my $19 per month.
A few years ago, the magazine I have long loved - Southern Living - changed. Like most Southerners, I have an aversion to change, which is why our traditions have such stranglehold. We never let go.
There's nothing like a good, old-fashioned road trip to ensure that good parenting habits and ground rules are not only broken, but stomped to smithereens and tossed out of a (moving car) window.
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