Wednesday, May 30

A man and his hat

I recently had a “laughable moment.”  I withdrew $200 (ten new, unused $20 bills) from a drive-up ATM and because others were behind me in the line I tossed the cash into my big floppy summer hat laying on the seat beside me and drove away. As I got out of the car in my garage I put the hat on my head and walked to my apartment. 
The hat!

When I took the hat off, the money spilled onto the floor. I picked it up and counted it. It was only $180. I looked around and didn’t find the missing $20. I thought I must have dropped it in my garage and would find it there later. I did a couple of housekeeping chores and then laid out in my recliner to rest. I dozed for about an hour and when I awoke and rubbed my eyes I realized something was on my head. I reached up and found the missing 20 dollar bill stuck to my hairless head. 
The hairless head! 

Tuesday, May 15

'The place to be"

Two weeks ago I wrote a Letter to the Editor, The Post & Courier, Charleston, SC, to pay public homage for recent medical care.  On May 15th an abridged version of the letter (below) was published. 

April 26 and 27 I spent two of the worst days of my 86 years at Roper Hospital on Calhoun Street undergoing spinal surgery.
The service I received was caring, compassionate and thoroughly competent, starting with the nurse who prepped me for surgery and the anesthesiologist and the surgeon who came by before the procedure.
In the operating room these doctors led by Dr. James K. Aymond and their outstanding staff went to work on me for about 2 1/2 hours. Afterward I went into recovery, and about an hour later was wheeled by a volunteer to a room where I would spend the next two days. The service was for the most part outstanding, led by the wonderful, caring and patient day nurse Anne Wirth.
Two days after the surgery, I came home in the company of my oldest son, Frank. During the travail all of my five children were on hand. Every parent should be blessed with such caring children.
I learned again that when you need medical services Roper St. Francis is the place to go.

Tuesday, April 17

Salute to Matthew - Our Family Airman

I hosted a pizza party on Monday, April 16, 2018, in the common room at my apartment house in Mt.Pleasant for family and a couple of guests to honor my grandson, Airman First Class Matthew Godbold, USAF, son of my daughter Wynn and her husband Rett. Matthew is home in Myrtle Beach on leave from his service on Okinawa. This is his first home leave in about 18 months.

Matthew continues a family tradition of USAF service. I was in the Air Force (1951-1959); his grandmother (my late wife) served from 1951 to 1954 and his uncle James served four years in the 1970s. 

(Somewhere along the line my oldest son Frank, and two of my brothers went astray and were United States Marines.)

As usually happens, everyone was snapping pictures and I was no exception. Here are some snapshots from the happy event (some pictures have been removed from the original post at the request of the participants.)

 Matthew laughs at something his smiling Uncle Frank just said. 

Friday, April 13

Clean up! - The maid is coming

Clean Up! - The maid is coming

I have heard it in movies and on TV sitcoms and thought why? Yet, this very week I found myself thinking the same line; (not uttering it out loud lest I be guilty of talking to myself, a sign of  dementia,) “I have to clean up, the maid is coming.”

I emptied wastebaskets in the bathroom, bedroom, and den. I put dishes in the dishwasher and organized the napkins on top of the table. Some clean pots and pans on the stove went into a nearby cabinet. I put a three or four day trove of newspapers into a paper bag and later took the bag to the trash dumpster. I took bath and hand towels and a face cloth and put them in the clothes hamper to be washed later. I picked up slippers and shoes and organized them in a closet. I adjusted the window blinds in the open position and straightened up the bed covers. Then satisfied that all was satisfactory I left my apartment, locked the door, posted a note to the maid that the key was in the rental office and went out to face the day.

Why do people always clean up for the maid? Why did I do it? Isn’t this her job?

My first wife and I were married 56 years and we had five children. I had a government job and there was no money for a maid. After her death I re-married and my second wife didn't want a maid “because it is easier to do it myself.” When she died I hired a maid who came every two weeks.

Then I moved and rented an apartment and my cost of living went up. Initially, I cleaned the apartment myself, including vacuuming carpet and washing wood floors. Then I tired of it and hired a maid service. 

So now on the first Friday of each month, I find myself uttering, “I have to clean up the maid is coming.”

Saturday, March 10

The Bixby Letter and Saving Private Ryan

I find it thoroughly enjoyable and highly interesting when separate pleasant events come together by accident, and certainly without planning on my part. I recently had just such an experience. 

I watched a movie on TV and a day later read a review of four new books on the life of John Hay, President Lincoln’s presidential secretary and later ambassador to European courts and Secretary of State.

I viewed “Saving Private Ryan” on one of those TV channels which show movies without commercial interruptions. A pleasurable experience despite having seen the movie years ago in a theatre. 

The early part of the movie is getting the Rangers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) off Omaha Beach on D-Day. The story moves on to the catastrophic news that a mother in Idaho is about to be notified three of her four sons have been killed in combat. A fourth is somewhere in Normandy. 

General George C.Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army, orders a search for the fourth son and to “get him to hell out of there.” In explaining his order to staffers who brought him the news of the Ryan family, General Marshall quotes from a letter President Lincoln sent to a Mrs. Bixby of Boston who was thought to have lost five sons (it later turned out to be two) during the Civil War. 

The Bixby letter was an expression by the President of how inadequate words and feelings are to console the mother in such an overwhelming loss. It is the type of letter history and our imaginations let us accept Lincoln would have written. 

It now turns out that Lincoln was not the author of the letter; it was written by John Hay, considered to be “the stylish” writer on Lincoln’s staff, with the “pen of a poet.” 

Four new books on the life of this literary scholar, lawyer, presidential ghostwriter, and longtime cabinet member, are reviewed in depth by Christopher Benfey, Mellon Professor in English at Mount Holyoke College, in The New York Review of Books (March 8, 2018).

I am indebted to Professor Benfey and the authors of the reviewed books for this fascinating background which played an important part in the development of the storyline of Stephen Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” and for the pleasant surprise of watching a movie and shortly thereafter learning a bit of the history of what makes the movie work.

Monday, March 5


Last night I went to see Lewis Black at the Gaillard Center in Charleston. Disappointed all around. The show as billed as “The Joke Is On US tour,” and it turned out it was. 

The warm-up man before Black was in some ways a copycat. He was also on too long and had only one or two good jokes.

He and Black looked like they were the last two men dressed at the Salvation Army that day and just came off the bus from a job site. I consider this disrespectful to the audience who paid anywhere from $50 to a $100 for a seat. (Gaillard’s website listed lower prices but charged more when I bought.)

Most of Black’s material was thoroughly generic. He could have used it in any city in America. There was none of the biting satire and social critic I (and thousands of others, I am sure) have come to expect from him. I have seen several of his televised shows and bought his DVDs. 

Lewis's comments about his parents' age did get a lot of applause. His father, he said, is 100 this year and his mother 99. They live in an assisted living facility in Maryland. In some of the earlier shows I have seen they have been in the audience and were shown on camera. 

During one rant about not having guns in church, a man in the audience “booed” and Black spent several minutes hectoring this man on guns, the 2nd amendment, and mental stability. I thought this excessive and certainly, no one who has paid his money to sit in the audience needs to be criticized in this manner

Wednesday, February 21

A stupid idea from POTUS

Another stupid idea from POTUS - "ENDORSED ARMING SCHOOL TEACHERS." (Announced Wednesday (2/21/2018) night. 
This is the absolute dumbest idea I have ever heard. A teacher is an instructor, a mentor, a friend, a caring, loving person in the lives of hundreds of children every school day of every year, and this idiot (yes, Mr. Trump, I am referring to you) in the White House endorsed arming them with guns so they can stop a shooter before he starts shooting up a classroom, school hall or playground. (Such ideas I believe are evidence of mental instability.) I will wager that more than 98% of teachers will think this a terrible idea, and would no more strap on a gun all day in the classroom than drink hemlock at breakfast. (Many detectives put their weapons in their desk drawer when they are in the station handling paperwork and such.) Why should teachers have to go around strapped all day?
STOP SELLING AUTOMATIC WEAPONS is a better idea. And don't tell me about the 2nd amendment which was designed to provide for an armed militia if one is needed. We have armed police, local, state and federal. We have National Guard troops in every state. We do not need a citizenry mobilizing in the town square to fight.