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I was driving much too fast that Friday night. I admit it and the fact that I was in a hurry is irrelevant. My husband Larry was asleep in the passenger seat, and we were headed home to Georgia for the weekend. Cruising up I-95 somewhere in middle Florida, I glanced over to my right to see t…

On September 13, 2008, we got a call while at St. Simons that our grandson, Zachary Earl Wansley, had collapsed and died during a training run while preparing for the Atlanta Marathon.  Zack was the epitome of a scholar-athlete.  In high school, he had been president of the student body, cap…

When I decided to have my surgery on November 21, I know exactly what I was thinking, or I wouldn’t have done it then. I was thinking how much my knee hurt, how I couldn’t do anything that I wanted to without intense pain, and I certainly couldn’t stand up long enough to cook a Thanksgiving …

The year was 1785. Thirteen states composed the Confederation Congress. Thomas Jefferson was appointed the U.S. Minister to France and John Adams, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.  George Washington was puttering around on his estate at Mount Vernon after having dispatched the migh…

Expectant parents usually spend a generous amount of time planning the proper name for the coming baby, and rightfully so. The wrong name can create all kinds of problems. We’re all familiar with the woes of boys named Sue and girls named Johnnie. If you’re looking for an unusual name, don’t…

Contrary to popular practice, I will not make any new, New Year’s resolutions. I am not interested in making a list of goals only to fail at achieving them simply because writing them down and claiming they’re on my to do list is enough. That is exactly what I did last year and the 2023 me i…

A brand-new year—2023—is upon us, and as responsible Southerners, I can assume that we rang it in judiciously by following all the important traditions (superstitions?). If you chose to party or stay up and watch the ball drop in New York, so be it as long as you ate a good bait of the prope…

As we approach the start of 2023, I’d like to take a few moments to offer my appreciation for your support in 2022.

The New Year is upon us. 2023.  It seems like only yesterday that we were up at midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, wringing our hands at what catastrophes might await us at the beginning of Y2K – the year 2000. It was thought there could be a problem in the coding of computerized systems that…

Take a nice clean sheet of paper and your favorite pen. Sit at your desk or your kitchen table and prepare to think hard. Bring a hot cup of coffee to help you think. Now make a list of all the people you know who are truly honor-worthy. Need some help? After all, honor is one of those hazy …

The blue, red, green, and orange lights on the tree twinkle, mesmerizing me, and carrying me back, far back to another time and place. The lights on my childhood cedar tree were large by today’s standards, but so was the perfume from the tree itself. The tangy smell of pine in my living room…

Two years this week, I told you a final goodbye. In some respects, you were not the woman I knew and loved that left me. The highly organized mind contained within an extremely kind and giving person had been drained of its memory and there were debilitating health issues those last couple o…

Since COVID-19 descended on us a couple of years ago and changed the world as we knew it, there are many activities that I just don’t recognize anymore. Shopping is one of many—shopping for about anything. I cannot imagine shopping for shoes for example online. I need to feel the leather, to…

One of the givens in occupying this space weekly is that when I talk about politics, which I do on occasion, anything I opine will be construed negatively by one side or the other. It is difficult for some to comprehend that I might be in the middle of the political road, unlike many (or mos…

Since before Halloween, stores have been putting out their Christmas merchandise. Red ribbons and silver bells along with trees of every shape, size, and color wait in the stores to decorate someone’s home. I actually saw a metallic purple tree in Savannah a few weeks ago. It was resplendent…

This is kind of a bummer way to start your day but it is worth reflection: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

The little snap of frosty weather came tripping by a couple of weeks ago and froze the rest of my flowers that we hadn’t taken inside. We stored as many as possible in the house beforehand. My son tells me that houseplants make the air healthy; if so, we are in great shape for the winter.

Preparations for Thanksgiving during the 50s started long before November. The turkeys strutted about their pens, gobbling, and pecking the ground and each other for juicy tidbits. In Mama’s garden, the mustard greens grew taller every day. Corn frozen from summer’s bounty waited in the free…

Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord in Deuteronomy 32:35. Brian Kemp is too nice a guy to say something like that publicly, plus he has been a bit too busy recently to be poking around in Deuteronomy. So, I will say it for him. Vengeance is his.

Today my front yard looks like an autumn landscape …. not on a postcard but on a sale paper for leaf blowers and rakes. I prefer to think of it as an advertisement for autumn, my favorite season. Yellow leaves still cling to the silver maple, but the red maple’s leaves are mostly on the grou…

There is no need for a recitation here of Vince Dooley’s myriad and well-deserved accomplishments on and off the football field. You have seen and heard them numerous times since his passing on October 28th at the age of 90. However, there is a side to this great man you might not know about…

A couple of days ago, I was out of town and needed some shampoo and wanted some potato chips. I stopped by a chain pharmacy (I’m showing my age. I almost said drug store.) to make a quick purchase. When I went in, the young man at the counter yelled, “Welcome to RiteAid!”

If awards were given for housekeeping, I’d never be in the running. I’d take my book and go read in the dusty corner until the kudos were all handed out. Clean, forever neat and organized houses must be wonderful things. I wouldn’t know. Nonetheless, even those of us who postpone housecleani…

If you had the opportunity to speak with a typical Russian family about how the current war with Ukraine has impacted their lives, what would you want to ask them? I may very well have that opportunity in the near future with a family that lives near the Ukrainian border. If you would like t…

If I sent out a survey to determine how many local folks have had a close encounter with the infamous Surrency ghost of South Georgia or any other ghost for that matter, I’d bet that the results would be quite interesting. I’ve never gone looking for this vaporous being myself, nor do I inte…

It seems like a lifetime ago and in some ways it was. It has been 17 years this week since I was in Iraq with the men and women of Georgia’s 48th Brigade Combat Team. Even today, it is an experience seared in my brain.

Mama cried for a week when she moved away from the Gill Street house. She’d been happy there. Her chickens and turkeys strutted about in their pens in the back yard, clucking and scratching for juicy worms in those pens that Daddy had built for them in his spare time. The huge pecan trees no…

I just learned that I have been passed over for the Nobel Prize for Literature once again. Bummer. And that crowd over in Stockholm didn’t even have the courtesy to pick up the phone and call me with the bad news. I had to read about it in the paper. A person of my literary stature deserves better.

Years ago, when the first day of school rolled around as it invariably does, a brand-new group of bright-eyed students sat in their seats waiting for me to start the day. As we filled out the million forms required each year, I strolled about the room answering questions when I could. One yo…

National Pet Peeve Week is observed the first full week in October and especially on the culminating Sunday, October 9th, this year. Pet peeves are things that drive you crazy year-round. My hackles literally stand up when someone calls me Mary, but my name is Mary Ann. Or . . . I answer the…

I have met a number of folks recently who migrated from across the Mason-You-Know-What-Line and have settled in the Great State of Georgia. We enjoy each other’s company but there is a bit of a language barrier. We all speak the same one –  English – but we speak it differently. They talk fa…

The phosphorescent glow of the bridge in my headlights appeared simultaneously with the first fat rain drops on the windshield. No moonlight shone on the river far below. No other cars traveled Highway 221 that Friday night, not in my line of vision anyway. No companion sat in the passenger …

I recall a BellSouth officers conference years ago where we spent several days wrestling with the problems we were facing in the marketplace. At one point, one of my colleagues said with exasperation, “This is a tough business!” to which our CEO John Clendenin shot back, “Name me one that isn’t!”

Editor’s Note: No adult has the right to tell another adult what to read or not to read. Parents should oversee the reading material for their children, but please read the book before you condemn it.

I suggest you read this in a hurry because I am writing it in a hurry and hoping you and I can get to the finish at the same time before one of us kicks the bucket. It seems life is short and getting shorter.

As a student in Mrs. McEachin’s 10th grade English class, I learned to diagram sentences with the best.  Using a yardstick, I deliberately drew my lines black and straight, then carefully identified and labeled each participial phrase, every complete subject and predicate, and all auxiliary …

According to Mr. Webster, fanatics are marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion. I know a man who can talk no more than five minutes about anything other than music. Sports fanatics and political fanatics abound. I had a group of students who were fanatics about J…

The new three R’s of School Days: Rancor. Rants. Retaliation. And forget the hickory stick. We’re not singing that tune anymore. In Clayton County alone, the school system reports that fights are up some 200% over the same period last year and we are only one month into the new school year. …

Editor’s note: As most of you know, I do not teach any more—not high school anyway. I still teach Sunday School. I wrote this piece several years ago when I was still teaching. Funny but the various years don’t seem to change much. The students still march through my mind in a steady stream …

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