Doctor, Doctor give me the news

Doctor, doctor give me the news

I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you….

I understand that the practice of medicine has changed. Its changed greatly especially over the past 25 years. There is SO much specialization now. If you have a problem with your fingers…you can’t see a Dr. who specializes in shoulders. If you have a hip problem, like my wife has…you can’t see a Doctor who only sees people for knees. (we found that out this past week) There are so very few physicians who have “private practices” anymore. Most of them are “captives” of huge medical groups. They work for these groups just like a regular person works for a “boss” in the mill. The difference is the pay I suppose. Things change.

Back when I was a kid there were three Doctor’s practicing medicine in Trion. They all had offices at the old hospital. The one I went to was “Ol’ Doc Clemens” I remember him as a larger than life figure. A “big” man in the sense of size…more large in the middle than he was tall and big boned. He was a chain smoker and more than likely had a cigarette in his mouth when you walked in his office. The Doctor that was portrayed in the movie Forrest Gump was almost an exact double for Dr. Clemens as I remember him. A little gruff and grumpy at times, but he knew your name and was true to the title “General Practitioner” He treated anybody for anything. It would have to have been an extreme problem that would have sent you to a “specialist” in those days. They were few and far between, and if the Doctor sent you to one of them, your relatives might have been wise to start consulting the funeral home. Ol’ Doc Clemens didn’t believe too much in “specialists”

I went to him for everything from the mumps, to stitches, to infections, to severe colds, to severe knee problems.

I ruptured a ligament in my right knee when I was 14, swinging too hard at a baseball. Doc Clemens treated me for that. I ended up in the hospital for close to a week with my knee in traction. After that, it was a huge and heavy cast for 6 weeks. Doc Clemens recommended after I got my cast off, that I start walking to exercise it and that was when I started playing golf.

I remember we always loved to go by his house for Halloween every year. He didn’t give us kids that he knew a piece of candy. We got ice cream cones one year, candied apples another year. He lived there on the end of Sunset Lane by himself. I think his wife had passed away some years earlier…but I’m not sure. My memory is a little fuzzy in that area. All I know is that he was an unusual man. A very compassionate man.

The other two Doctors who were there in the 50’s were Dr. Little, and Dr. Hyden. They were both good men also. Dr. Hyden was the doctor who “birthed” me, and also the doctor who saved my brother’s life with an unusual blood transfusion treatment for a blood infection back when he was a little kid. Those Doctors were icons of the community. When the little hospital closed and these three Doctors stopped practicing, the old hospital sat there for quite a few years empty until Dr. Gary Smith had the front part renovated and he had his private practice there for many years. Dr. Smith was another Dr. who worked hard, for many long hours to benefit this community.

Now, I’m not commenting on what should be done about the state of medicine in this country today. I really am not writing this in order to get any political opinions about what should or should not happen to improve things. I just think back, and kind of long for the days when your Doctor knew your name, your family, and actually cared about getting you well more than he or she cared about how much money they were going to get for seeing you. They cared about all the parts of your body, and they knew what I know about the human body:

The foot bone connected to the leg bone,

The leg bone connected to the knee bone,

The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,

The thigh bone connected to the back bone,

The back bone connected to the neck bone,

The neck bone connected to the head bone,

Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

“If I could turn back time”

I think a lot about that old song by Cher, if I COULD turn back time, what would I do?

I think of the week of September 2nd……..September 4th, 1970

I remember sitting down in the edge of the grass, with my feet out on the chert rock lined road at the old Trion cemetery. I think somewhere there’s a picture….I don’t know where. There are so, so very few from that week.

Looking back now forty nine years later, I don’t see anything different that could have been done. I believe things happen as they happen, and even if human technology were to develop a time machine so that a person could go back in time, one has to wonder if tampering with what has already come and gone would even be remotely a good idea.

If you change one heartbeat, if you save one heartbeat….would it be in exchange for another?

When you come back from your time travel, all of your photo albums would have different scenes….different people would be in them. Unfamiliar scenes, unknown things!

Familiar and deep love might be gone… and be replaced by a different version of love.

So even with the sorrow which runs through this coming week every year now…

knowing what I know, and having what I have, I could not and would not go back and take a chance on rearranging history.

Things happen as they happen and there is a reason for everything. Randomness, or planned to the infinitesimal, it doesn’t make any difference, it’s in the books. It is in changeable.

Somewhere, out there in the Universe, or here in the Universe I believe her spirit waits for me. That’s enough to know, and to hold onto. At least on most days.

What we Believe

Some days you go with the old ways, sometimes with the new.

I am reminded today that I do not know the real truth of anything. We as humans believe what we believe based on the use of our senses, which are sadly lacking even compared to lesser species of the animal world. We take pride in our knowledge, which is derived from what we can perceive from our tiny dust speck of a planet in our tiny section of the Universe.

I of all people do not stand in any particular position of knowledge, as it relates to anything any other human wishes to comfort themselves in believing. For all I know, we may each have different outcomes awaiting us, based on what we sincerely believe is going to happen. I have to therefore caution any and all to not cast dispersion on the true beliefs of others, even if they are far different from your own. My Daddy used to say in his wisdom, “as long as it’s not hurtin’ nobody, let ’em believe what they want…” Thanks for that one Dad.


There isn’t any internal textual basis to believe that Paul is the next great prophet after Jesus who came to fix and extend what was missing in the Gospel message. The idea that Paul’s writings are the prophetic “Word of God” is a sham that only congeals around the council of Nicea choosing his writings as canon in order to establish the official state religion under Constantine. Paul’s failures as a recovering moralist were the doorway to provide the authoritarian structure that became the Christian religion in spite of Jesus’ warnings against it. The letter to the Romans is interesting only as a historical reference–it indicates what Paul as a learned man, interested in how to apply Jesus’ teachings to a broader community,. understood about the Gospel through the stories he heard from others. It is a commentary subject to his biases and cultural context. Jesus himself did not add any new rules and regulations but rather pointed to the relational intent of the Law–to love one another. So looking to Paul to add more rules only shows ignorance of the Gospel and promotes the idea that Paul’s teachings supplant Jesus’ in creating a new rule book for living.


I had a neighbor back in the 70’s in Athens, Georgia. He was a Marine sniper. He had photos taken of him with almost every kill he made (which were mostly non combat situations) while he was in Viet Nam. He also had photos of him posing with a white tiger he had killed, and several regular Bengal tigers. Also, several Elephants. He ranged from Vietnam into Thailand. He had no remorse about killing anyone, man, woman or child. Later on, in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I had a man working for me at the mattress factory in Rome who served as an officer in the Army in Vietnam. His photo album was even more horrific. It showed him and his company with huge piles of bodies of Vietcong (supposedly) men, women, children….they were all posing with the bodies and smiling. They were shown sitting on mounds of bodies eating their meals. He had photos of his men desecrating several bodies. These photos were souvenirs of his service. I know that every soldier who serves in war, who served in war was not like these two men, but in my experience many were. When I hear some veterans from that war speak of how they were treated when they returned to American…spit on? Cursed? I would like to defend them and tell them I appreciate their service. Then, I think back to the real photos that these two men showed me. If I came in contact with two men who did these types of things in my everyday life, how many more were out there who did these types of things…..or worse. It makes it hard for me to defend war of any kind when I consider the things these men did.


I have done so many things wrong in my life. I have made so many mistakes. I’ve had my share of luck though, and I’ve made some good choices.

Fifty years ago, I had the best luck of my life when as an 18 year old boy I got married to a young girl named Paula Kay Neurauter. We were kids. Two naive people who had met scarcely six months earlier in college and fell in love. Two people who needed each other…much more than we ever knew at the time. Two people who didn’t know what marriage really meant but who went boldly into it full speed ahead.

Two people who didn’t know that we’d be parents who knew very little about parenting, with kids who practically grew up with us.

Two people who didn’t know we’d be grandparents very early in life, that we’d be fellow employees at the same company for a decade.

Two people who are friends.

Two people who didn’t know fifty years would pass by like a blur  That time would relentlessly carry us past the wonderful, happy times, and the sad mournful times at the same speed.  Time which makes long days, and short years  From 18 to 68 in a hurry!

I want my wife to know there’s never been anyone for me but her.  Through all she’s had to put up with, through everything we’ve shared both good and bad, she’s always stood by me.

I was thinking back just the other day about 1969….

A lot of things happened that year. The country was still in turmoil from what was probably one of the most historic years in its History in 1968. MLK and Robert Kennedy had died from assassins bullets that year. The war in Vietnam continued to escalate….1969 was much the same.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married on May 31, and then a few weeks later recorded “Give Peace a Chance” Teddy Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island…and his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died.
Charles Manson and his gang went on their “Helter-Skelter” killing spree. Manson’s followers thought him to be Jesus Christ.
Nixon was sworn in as President of the Unites States back in January…and continued to carpet bomb the Vietnamese. The Berkely riots took place in California….and in November a quarter of a million people staged a peaceful protest of the war in Washington D.C.
There was that little concert in New York that grew and grew, and became an iconic symbol of a generation. I think they called it Woodstock.
Mankind landed on the moon, and Neal Armstrong became the first human to set foot there…quite an accomplishment.
It was quite a year for me personally too. I continued to attend West Georgia College and just before the holiday break for Christmas I met a girl.
We dated the rest of the year. Went to the student center and played a lot cards together. Went to see some movies. We rode around with our friends Don Hunter and Karen Seay in Don’s old Dodge. We walked, we talked…and we fell in love.
When Paula told me sometime that spring that her parents were going to move to California, we decided that Paula would stay here in Georgia with me….permanently.
My little Yankee girl became my wife on June 14 of that year and 50 years later…she’s still here, putting up with me! (which takes an enormous amount of patience) She’s become a Southerner now after all those years. We’ve had four children and a passle of grandchildren. We’ve lived through a lot of things. Good things and some bad things. Ups and downs. We were kid’s back then in 1969. We really probably had no business getting married. We sure didn’t know anything! We’ve learned a lot in the last 50 years. I hope we have many more in which to learn.
I love you Sweetie! Happy Anniversary tomorrow!

Our Lives

A friend posted wondering how we had gone from a society where you could go from being so trusting as to leave home without locking your doors, to having bars on your doors and windows. I commented that I thought it was partially due to the huge change in our technology -vs- our cultural inability to deal with these changes.

We have gone from simplicity to complexity so quickly, from the need for fewer possessions, to the want for many possessions so rapidly, that our society isn’t able to deal with it. And if you can’t earn it, or don’t have the money, then just steal what you need.

Our grandparents used to work in the fields from dawn til dusk, then eat supper, read the bible and go to bed at dark. They had just a few pieces of furniture, a few garments, and grew or raised their own food. They didn’t know they needed much else. Grandpa loved his radio…that is until he got a television.

We are now convinced that unless we have the latest and greatest gadgets, we are not being served. We are falling behind everyone else. Oh….the pressure to keep up. The money it takes to keep up. The anxiety which is felt trying to keep up. The need to fill every waking second with some type of action or activity.…doing.

As I said, I remember when a laptop was the place where your baby laid their head. Where do we go from here??

Fall is on the way

Fall is coming.

The days of Summer are numbered. The only thing left in the garden is Okra and a few scraggly tomatoes growing up too high for the bugs to get. The mosquitoes are so bad that they looked like a veritable cloud around my poor little dog when she went outside this evening. You can’t walk around town without slathering yourself in a ton of “off” So…I’ll trade the last of the fresh Okra to get rid of the mosquitoes.

Perhaps an early frost this year? An early end to the “dog days” of the Summer of 2014. Usually the first frost is very close to my birthday…which is October 21, but I definitely would not mind a good hard, white hoar frost much sooner. I love them. I love the crisp, snapping, hot Apple cider, make a pot of chili days, which start out in the mornings with a white icy ground and ease up into the mid 60’s by afternoon, with a bright warming Autumn sun in the sky.

I love those days. The ones where you wear a sweatshirt but not a coat, and you see the kids out tossing around a football. The ones where the wind kicks up little whirlwinds of red, orange, brown and yellow leaves. The smell of somebody off somewhere in the distance burning a pile of those same dry leaves. The sunsets which are bright and clear with a few streaks of purple… oh how sweet and precious are those days. More valuable to me than piles of gold or diamonds.

I want to be even more aware of the wonderful days of Fall this year. I want to notice how blazing Orange the pumpkins are at Halloween, and how wonderful my wife’s Thanksgiving dressing smells and tastes. And then I want to see the little one’s eyes light up at Christmas when they tear into their gifts. I want to hold my new granddaughter, and smell the fresh newness of her life.

I never took the days of Autumn for granted. Even as a child I knew they were something special. The first poem I ever wrote was about the beauty of a special Fall day. The first song I played on my guitar and sang to was “Autumn Leaves” ” ….the falling leaves, drift by my window, the autumn leaves of red and gold…”

And so I hope for an early fall, an idyllic fall, a peaceful fall, a loving fall, a prosperous fall and a memorable fall. Not just for myself, but for all of us who need one right now so very badly. For those of us who have already seen more of them than we will ever see in the years ahead.

A taste of simplicity, a smell of memory, a sight of loveliness, a sound of familiarity and the feel of hope…for the future of all mankind. An Autumn of change..and not just in the weather.

Growing Up in Pictures

Growing Up in Pictures-from 2014

Infants grow so quickly. I see it happening every day on your pages my friends. Your children and grandchildren are shooting up so quickly through the ever upwards scrolling of my invasion into your voluntary living history.

It’s such a unique experience. A mostly joyful, but occasionally sad and sometimes embarrassing trip.

Some of you have taken that same trip through my eyes since I decided several years ago to share it.

Never before in history have we been able to see children grow, see people’s meals, discuss their politics, their religion, their gout, their cancer, their drinking habits, their decor, their craft projects, their favorite teams, their most hated teams, their current books, their divorces, their marriages, see their vacations, their vocations, their pets, their recipes, pictures of their bare feet, their bald heads, new tattoos or old kazoos, pray for them or curse them.

All from the comfort of our beds, car seats, office chairs, armchairs or rocking chairs.

It’s all very humbling to be privy to the lives of so many people, so many friends. At times in the past few years it’s been stressful, but…I have decided that it’s a good thing when taken as information and not criticism. After all, it’s a totally different paradigm, and for us to maneuver through it will take time to invent the rules and reinvent them…until finally there will be very few.

Besides, in the process of sharing the joy of my feelings for my “real” family I have become attached to many of YOUR real families. This means of communication has allowed me to love more people than I would have otherwise been able to do without it, so therefore by involvement with it, I am the better for it.

If this all sounds confusing to you, imagine how confused I was when writing it.

Keep posting the pictures of your babies and Grand babies please. I look forward to seeing them grow.

The Mattress Delivery Men

I was talking to the two Hispanic men who delivered my mattress today about working. I was their last stop at 4:45 pm and they were headed all the way back to Suwanee. I didn’t understand all they were saying but the tired “whews” of straining to set things up, and carrying in a heavy couch to the living room, caused me to note they were quite tired. I offered them a cold coke to take with them, and my sincere thanks for their professional attitude and care in handling my things. They left me the cloth furniture wraps, noting they make good rugs for the little dogs to use for beds. I thanked them again. And they were off on a three hour drive home.

I didn’t ask them their immigration status, or if they had an anchor baby. I didn’t think about if they were talking a job some regular American would want. They told me they started at 6 am this morning. Fourteen hour days delivering furniture. Do you want to do it? I don’t. Didn’t appear to me they were on welfare. I don’t think many of them actually are. As a supervisor in carpet mills the last ten years I worked, I had many of them working for me. Working, and paying FICA, and income tax. I live in a town full of Hispanic people. I watch them get in their cars at 6 o’ clock in the morning for a hours ride to work. I see them walking to the mill here in town. I see them start many churches in our county. I see them taking their children to school, wanting better education for their kids than they have. I see them playing with, and loving their families.

For several years back in the late seventies into the mid eighties I made mattresses…hourly pay plus a bonus for everything over production. Ten hour days and back breaking work. I surpassed production every day, because we needed the money. I had three kids and bills to pay. Sometimes we didn’t work full weeks. Times were hard for us. I went on to do better, but I haven’t forgotten the weight of a deluxe king size mattress on the shoulder.

It’s a good thing to remember from time to time when you are contemplating disrupting another human beings wellbeing and the care of their family.