My Requiem

To the night…sleep tight, all my loved ones and friends. Tomorrow we will find us a better day and maybe a better world. If not, let’s make the best of what we’ve got. Be kind to someone. Give if you can to those who have less than you. Hug and kiss your family. Love if you want to be loved.

And in your dreams, you may find solace…and occasionally perhaps a glimpse of wisdom. You may find true love, conflict and maybe betrayal. You may dream the idea that changes the world, a new paradigm for a new age….but then awake, and forget it all. Dream well this night…

This Wonderful Day

The exhibit by Mother Nature this morning, or…by God, whichever you choose, is glorious. The pollen is not quite stirring as strongly yet so I was able to take deep breaths of wonderfully fresh and cool air into my lungs. The dogwood tree in my front yard is in full bloom and so white that it nearly mirrors the snow from this past winter, the blooms are large and almost fluorescent.

The large red headed woodpecker which lives the Oak tree in the front of the house is slamming his head into a rotten branch and enjoying his breakfast. The other birds are singing a Sunday song of happiness to go along with Mr. Woodpeckers drumming and it becomes an orchestra of nature which no human band could ever replicate.

The sunrise is pink and purple, peeking up over Taylor’s ridge into our little valley saying “Howdy, how are ya?” I can almost hear my Dad’s voice from these same spring mornings years and years ago: “Rise and shine” he would shout. “Rise and shine.”

Well I have risen this morning, and as always I am optimistic as a new day is born that it will be better than the one before it. Who knows how I will feel about it, when Mr. Sun has made is entire journey across the sky tonight? I hope I am still optimistic. I hope all of my friends will find a sense of optimism today. I hope we will all find a renewed sense of giving today, and will act upon that sense of giving and help someone who needs helping. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift to give to go along with this wonderful gift of a day we have been given? I think so.


If a person has plenty of money and other goods with which to take care of themselves and their family, should they then ideally give the remainder of what they have to those who are needy?

If everyone did that, what would the world be like?

Is it redistribution of wealth, or is it charity? What is the difference?

A. Giving of our own free will to those we choose= charity?

B. Having things taken by others and given to those who they decide need it= redistribution of wealth?

If A were closely followed, would B even be necessary?

I’ll be the very first one in line to admit that I have not always been the most charitable of people. I’m trying harder. I’m getting better.

I’ll have to say though, without reservation, that the gift of a quarter of a billion dollars which Sean Parker is donating for immunotherapy cancer research might really come close to finding a cure for cancer. I remember so many times hearing on TV, during interviews with various people about what their fondest wish would be, and a “cure for cancer” was always at or near the top of the list.

And it takes one of the young, techie billionaires to donate enough money to maybe get the job done.

Not the Koch brothers, nor even Gates or Buffet…but a billionaire millennial.

Perhaps there is hope after all. Perhaps many of us, including me, can look at this man’s gift and think: “well I can’t do that much…but I can do more than I am doing now”.

All the Masters I Have Won

All the Masters I have won.

Sitting there watching Sergio Garcia finally win the Masters on Sunday, I like to remember back to my High School years and all of the times which I won that tournament. It was many times, as I remember….

I switched from baseball to golf after I had a knee injury while playing baseball. Old Doc Clemens wanted me to walk…even while I still had a cast on my injured left knee. My Dad liked golf, so he bought me a set of “Kroyden” golf clubs from one of the supervisors he knew at the mill. It was minus a 3 iron…which had gotten wrapped around a tree. Thinking back, I guess that’s why he got them so cheaply. The guy was giving up the sport. I still have the nine iron from that set. I used it for years and years around the greens. I chipped a lot of balls in the hole with that club. I won the Masters a couple of times with it.

I had a hole in one on number four at the Trion golf course once. It was, however, a two. I was playing with old friend of mine Steve Hammonds. I lined up that five iron and took a mighty first swing…..and…whiffed the ball. Totally missed it. I tried to play it off as a practice swing, but Hammond wouldn’t let me. I changed clubs to a four iron and swung a little more gently and the ball took one hop and bounced right into the hole. “Hole in one” I yelled. “No, said Steve…it’s a two” Ah well, at least it was a birdie. The only hole in one in all my years of playing and it would have to be a two!

Being a solitary soul, I played many rounds alone. Those were the “majors” for me. I can’t tell you all the amazing shots which I made, all of the commentary from the announcers. (I didn’t know who they were back then…but they later turned into the voices of Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi) I made up all the acceptance speeches, held all of the “loving” cups with my name engraved into them. I won the “grand slam” many times over.

The golf course was my home away from home. I worked at the “pro shop” for a couple of years and learned a lot of neat new words from all of the older golfers, as the shop was just off of the first tee at Trion…with the river running right next to the fairway on the right. My friend Michael Brown and I dove into that muddy mess after a lot of tournaments and felt in the “gunk” with our hands, often coming up with dozens of balls which had found their way into the “wet” I mowed around the roughs and sloughs. (Lamar would NEVER trust me to mow the fairways or the greens) I caddied for the guys from Ware Shoals S.C., when they came down for their yearly match with the Trion supervisors. They paid better, especially as a caddy AND a player, I knew the course well.

My best tournament I ever played (with the exceptions of those imaginary ones) was in my Senior year at Trion High. There was a Fall tournament…a “Jaycees” tournament for the youth of the community. It was divided by age and I was in the “fourteen and over” group. I played excellent and consistent during this 27 hole day long affair. I had three 37’s for 111. Three over par. Some of the best golf I have ever played. The air was crisp and leaves were already starting to turn. The sun was gorgeous and temperature just loomed in the 70’s. The golf course was in immaculate condition. As I walked up onto the old clubhouse steps after my last round I just knew that I was going to finally get that trophy I wanted do badly. It would make up for losing the Region tournament low medalist by hitting my ball inside a 55 gallon trash can. I knew I could beat all the kids around town with my score. I hadn’t counted on an outsider from Savannah coming up and playing and shooting a final round 33 to post a 108 and win our age group. His Daddy Tommy had been pro at the Trion golf course some years back. Kid’s name was Andy Bean. He did go on to win a lot of money on the PGA tour…but that wasn’t any consolation to me at the time.

I haven’t played a round of golf since about 2004 or 2005. I think about playing from time to time but just don’t get out there and do it. Perhaps I’ll go play a round by myself someday soon just to get back into the “swing” of it. I can hear Pat Summerall’s voice now….”and Bowers chips the ball into the hole on the 18th, winning the 1975 Masters” Ahh the memories..both real and imagined.

The Big Friendly- from 2014

I remember when the “Doughboy” stood in the center of the “square” out in front of the “Big Friendly” Trion Department Store. I was always in awe of that statue. I remember reading the names on it over and over…some of them familiar names of families who lived in Trion.

The Department store itself was a wonder! There was no other place like it in the world. You could get anything, and I mean anything in that store. I loved going in there as a child. The toy aisle looked like it went on forever! There were Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, and Matchbox cars. There were cap pistols, and a rack next to them with a “bluejillion” packs of caps on it. There were porcelain dolls for the little girls. There were bicycles and stuffed animals. I can remember how wonderful this area looked when it was decorated for Christmas. Big, giant, bright Christmas balls. Rows of tinsel. Lots of the big old huge lights that screwed in and out of the sockets.

One of the most vivid memories of Christmas, was when I was four years old and I got the “Hopalong” Cassidy outfit and guns. I don’t think I took that outfit off for a week. I didn’t find out until years later that Dad had put that outfit and those guns on “layaway” almost 6 months before Christmas and had paid a little a week on them until he had them paid for. I don’t know what happened to them. My Mom was NOT a person to let something lay around in the house and take up useful space if it was not being used. I surmise that I probably wore them out using them the first year or so I had them, and they got tossed out in the move we made to Simmons Street. One of those guns go for about 120 dollars now on Ebay.

Mom got me even worse when I went off to college my freshman year. I had MY closet in my room filled with all of the Marvel comics that I had bought over the years. I had the first issues of a lot of them, plus the subsequent early issues. I had my old baseball cards which I had taken good care of, in a couple of shoeboxes. Mantle, Maris, Aaron. They were all there. We were not allowed to come home from school for the first month, if I remember correctly…it was one of the rules. The first time I came back home, I opened my closet and my stuff was gone! I know everybody says it, but in my case it was true….my Mom had thrown my comics and cards out. I cried then…but I cry harder now when I see how much some of those collectibles are worth.

Back to the Big Friendly though, there was a fabric department, a hardware store, a grocery store, a drugstore, a funeral parlor…? Yes, there was…a funeral parlor upstairs in the Big Friendly. The way the store was laid out, you could drive around the back and be at “ground” level. And so…the departed could go in and out the “back door” without creating an issue throughout the rest of the store.

Across the street from the Big Friendly you had the Post Office on the corner. Next to the Post office was the Barber shop.

We had one of the most modern and wonderful places called the “Y” The mill had first built a swimming pool sometime around 1934, and then built the “Y” up around it. It had an inside heated pool, a gym, a pool and ping pong room, a weight room, a theatre on one end, a snack bar….this place was WAY ahead of its time. In 1973, our class of 1968 had our five year reunion there….not long before they tore it down. I loved that place and often wished there had been some way to save it. It would have really been a historical landmark if it could have been saved.

If we wanted to, we were allowed to leave school for lunch back in those days. A lot of us opted to do so…lunchroom food being what it was. A lot of times we went up to a little place over near the mill which served burgers, fries, and dogs. I think Mr. Colbert owned the place. We thought the food was decent, and he also had a jukebox which was somehow filled with the most current songs. That was the first place I ever heard a Beatles song, the Rolling Stones, many of the iconic groups of those days first came to me over the jukebox in that dive.

We had to cross over a little bridge leading out to the burger joint. There was a creek which ran out from under the mill which flowed into the river at that point. It started into the mill as normal colored water…but being as there was a dye house at the mill back then, it would come OUT of the mill almost any color you could imagine. I used to like to guess what color the water was going to be every time I crossed over that bridge. I had no idea the colored “water” going into the river was polluting it.

The river is cleaned up now and it’s one of the cleanest in the State. There are kayakers going up and down it every day, and I believe that there are some great game fish in the river now.

As much as I long for those “bygone” days every now and then, I realize that memories are sometimes much sweeter than the actual living. So, I try to live everyday now hoping to give the people who are around me…especially the little ones, something sweet to remember.