Saturday, December 03, 2016

Fred Cone & the Single Wing Attack

In 1946, Hazel Howard sent her brother a note about her next door neighbor.   “Brother, I have you a good football player but he’s never played football.”

Imagine that.

The potential "good football player" had just returned from the Pacific Theater in WW II where he served in the U.S. Army with the 11th Airborne Division.  Hazel's brother , by the way, was Frank Howard, the legendary Clemson University football coach.  Coach Howard knew he had 39 names on the list for the upcoming season and he needed 40 to fill up the football team barracks.  So just like that with the stroke of a pen, he added Fred Cone from Pine Apple, Alabama to the list. 

“And that’s how I got probably one of the best, if not the best, football player I ever had,” said Coach Howard.

Hazel turned out to be a pretty good judge of talent.  Her neighbor finished his college career at Clemson with eight 100-yard career rushing games, 31 touchdowns and 189 points. He was also the team kicker and did a little punting on the side.  Not bad for a guy who grew up in a town of 100 and attended a one room school from kindergarten through high school and never played a down of football in his life until he arrived at Clemson.

Incredibly, I recently had the honor to visit with Fred Cone and his lovely wife Judy in their home in Pickens, SC.  
I discovered that Fred first met Judy in Wisconsin when Fred was playing football for the Green Bay Packers. Judy was dating a high profile quarterback on the Packers by the name of Babe Parilli when she met her future husband.  It didn't work out for Judy and Babe but it worked out really well for Judy and Fred.  I can personally testify that this couple is still going strong almost 60 years later. Good looking professional football players have a way of getting the gorgeous ladies, you know.  

The boy from Pine Apple, by the way, was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the third round (27th overall) of the 1951 NFL draft.  Fred received his first contract in the mail, signed it and mailed it back before ever leaving the post office.  He didn’t even need to pray about it. 

Fred Cone scored 50 points as a rookie with the Packers and led the team in scoring in five of the next six seasons.  In 1957 he played in the inaugural game at what would become the historic Lambeau Field and scored the second touchdown ever scored there.  Two years after retiring from football, in 1960 he was recruited to come back for another season as a kicker by a brand new franchise by the name of the Dallas Cowboys. He scored the first points ever scored for that franchise.

Fred and Judy were tickled pink when their grandson was named Bart, after another famous Packer quarterback and close family friend with the last name Starr.

Hazel's neighbor has also received more than a few accolades over the years.  Among them is the fact that Fred has been inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, the Clemson Hall of Fame, the Clemson Ring of Honor and the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.

But I think the accolade he got the biggest kick out of was the one he received from country comedian Jerry Clower when he added the  story about Clemson’s Single Wing attack to his repertoire.  Sounds like, at least from Jerry Clower's perspective, Fred Cone was definitely the single in the wing.

Sometimes I am in the right place at the right time.  Being in the home of Fred & Judy Cone would be one of those times.

Listen to Jerry Clower below as he tells the story of Fred Cone and the Single Wing Attack.



Thursday, November 03, 2016

Baseball is Simply a Magical Game


Maybe it has to do with the fact that when I was a kid growing up in Reynolds Georgia, it was the only game in town.  At least it was the only organized game in town.  We played basketball in our backyards with the wood backboards and half torn nets and later played in an organized way in junior high school but it was baseball that captured our hearts and our time during those carefree dog days of the summers of our youth.  When I was 8 years old, my buddies and I were suddenly playing baseball in an organized league with kids that were as old as 12 years old and all ages in between.  To a person, that Little League Baseball program in Reynolds would produce some of our fondest memories in life.   It was in those days that we learned the fundamentals of the game - like how to throw and catch a baseball, how to make sure the ball is in front of you on a ground ball hit to you, how to get a jump on a fly ball or how to throw in front of the runner from the outfield, when to take a pitch and how to not cry when you got hit by a pitch while at the plate.  I could go on and on. 
But mostly we learned how to be a part of a team and how important each person is to a team. I think we learned how to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  Maybe that idea is the string that pulls at my baseball heart.

Maybe my love for the game came from downtown Reynolds at Windham’s Dime Store where my buddies and I would gather to buy baseball cards anytime we had an extra coin or two in our pockets - the cards with the thin sweet smelling slice of bubble gum that came in the package.  It was by collecting and trading and studying the backs of those cards that names like Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Maris, Koufax, Robinson, Drysdale and Banks became very familiar to us.
Or maybe it was the Saturday game of the week when on a clear day we could get up to three channels on our television sets.   When sweaty little boys would come in from the baseball diamond after those Saturday morning games in our dirty uniforms and sit on the floor glued to the TV - hanging on every colorful word of Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese.  It was during those Saturday afternoons when the pictures on those baseball cards came alive and the statistics on the back made sense and the players became our heroes.

Or maybe it was walking out of the school building when I was 8 years old and realizing my Grandfather was in his Buick “funeral home car” waiting on my brother and me to take us to see the minor league Macon Peaches and a young player on that team by the name of Pete Rose.
Or maybe it was when the World Series was the major sporting event of the year and the games were played in the afternoon and the teachers would bring a TV on a rolling stand in the classroom so we could all watch the game.

Or maybe it was when the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta and I found myself sitting in the stands watching my baseball card heroes play right in front of me. Or maybe it was a little later, when my mom would put us out at Atlanta Stadium a couple of hours before a Double Header and leave us – and we would spend all day running all over that stadium taking in every sound and sight while spending our last dollar on peanuts and Cracker Jacks and really not caring if we ever got back.
Or maybe it was those untold numbers of nights lying in the bed listening to Milo and Ernie on a radio that would be clear one minute and then full of static the next - but being captivated by the words they painted clearly seen with my mind's eye.  Or maybe it was hearing my mother jump up and down and scream when the Braves won their division for the first time – and getting in the car with her as she drove up and down the streets late at night honking the horn.

Or maybe it was Ted Turner and his Superstation when the Braves were all of a sudden on TV every night and old people and young alike across the country became Braves fans and lived and died on every fly ball and every Texas leaguer that found a place to fall.  Or maybe it was the WGN Superstation and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” at every 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field with those ivy covered walls  or his big glasses and his “Holy Cow” as the hapless Cubs found another way to lose as they tried to free themselves from the Billy Goat Curse.
Or maybe it was later when I was in college and a few of my buddies and I would drive over to Atlanta from Athens to have an intimate look at a game when the Braves were not good and it would not be unusual for the attendance to be a thousand - or less - and you could hear every word the players said on the field. Or maybe it was the Braves home opener on a cool night in 1974 against the Dodgers, when I was standing on my seat in the outfield after Hammerin’ Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 and broke Babe Ruth’s record.  Or maybe it was when I was sitting on the edge of my seat on the second row on the first base side at the first game of the 1991 World Series in Atlanta pinching myself to make sure it was real. Or maybe it was when I was sitting in the stands in 1992 when Syd Bream slid into home on a walk off hit by Francisco Cabrera in the National League Championship Series to take the Braves to its second consecutive World Series.

Or maybe it was those late night calls after I was married with kids and was a practicing undertaker in full swing.  Each time I was awakened suddenly after being dead to the world, thinking another poor soul had met their Maker - only to find it was my Mama excitingly asking if I saw how that game ended. Those West Coast games really wore me out.

Or maybe it was a few years ago when I took my youngest son away from his own family to Cooperstown for a few days and told him stories about some of the old timers we met who were signing autographs on the streets.  Or the walk through that incredible museum where I pointed out to him memorabilia on display there of the heroes of my childhood.  Or maybe it was sitting on those lawn chairs that Sunday afternoon as our Braves' Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddox were inducted into the shrine of all shrines of all sports. Or maybe it was the realization that week that my son moved from being an Atlanta Braves fan to a baseball fan.
Oh yes.  There is a difference.

Or maybe it was in the early morning hours of this morning when I think I felt Harry Caray move in his grave and I had to wipe tears from my eyes as the 108 year old World Series drought for the Chicago Cubs ended in Cleveland Ohio as the Cubs defeated the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings…. and the Curse of the Billy Goat was forever removed.
For me, the game of baseball has been and will forever be my favorite sport.

Baseball is simply a magical game.  If you are a baseball fan, the 2016 World Series was a magical series. And last night was a magical night.
I think we need a little magic in our great country these days. The kind of magic that promotes teamwork, friendships, high fives and neck hugs - and the kind that reminds us we all have a real  opportunity to be a positive  part of something bigger than ourselves.

Baseball is Simply a Magical Game


Maybe it has to do with the fact that when I was a kid growing up in Reynolds Georgia, it was the only game in town.  At least it was the only organized game in town.  We played basketball in our backyards with the wood backboards and half torn nets and later played in an organized way in junior high school but it was baseball that captured our hearts and our time during those carefree dog days of the summers of our youth.  When I was 8 years old, my buddies and I were playing baseball in an organized league with kids that were as old as 12 years old and all ages in between.  To a person, that Little League Baseball program in Reynolds would produce some of our fondest memories in life.   It was in those days that we learned the fundamentals of the game - like how to throw and catch a baseball, how to make sure the ball is in front of you on a ground ball hit to you, how to get a jump on a fly ball or how to throw in front of the runner from the outfield, when to take a pitch and how to not cry when you got hit by a pitch while at the plate.  I could go on and on. 
But mostly we learned how to be a part of a team and how important each person is to a team. I think we learned how to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  Maybe that idea is the string that pulls at my baseball heart.

Maybe my love for the game came from downtown Reynolds at Windham’s Dime Store where my buddies and I would gather to buy baseball cards anytime we had an extra coin or two in our pockets - the cards with the thin sweet smelling slice of bubble gum that came in the package.  It was by collecting and trading and studying the backs of those cards that names like Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Maris, Koufax, Robinson, Drysdale and Banks became very familiar to us.
Or maybe it was the Saturday game of the week when on a clear day we could get up to three channels on our television sets.   When sweaty little boys would come in from the baseball diamond after those Saturday morning games in our dirty uniforms and sit on the floor glued to the TV hanging on every colorful word of Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese.  It was during those Saturday afternoons when the pictures on those baseball cards came alive and the statistics on the back made sense and the players became our heroes.

Or maybe it was walking out of the school building when I was 8 years old and realizing my Grandfather was in his Buick “funeral home car” waiting on my brother and me to take us to see the minor league Macon Peaches and a young player on that team by the name of Pete Rose.
Or maybe it was when the World Series was the major sporting event of the year and the games were played in the afternoon and the teachers would bring a TV on a rolling stand in the classroom so we could all watch the game.

Or maybe it was when the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta and I found myself sitting in the stands watching my baseball card heroes play right in front of me. Or maybe it was a little later, when my mom would put us out at Atlanta Stadium a couple of hours before a Double Header and leave us – and we would spend all day running all over that stadium taking in every sound and sight while spending our last dollar on peanuts and Cracker Jacks and really not caring if we ever got back.
Or maybe it was those untold numbers of nights lying in the bed listening to Milo and Ernie on a radio that would be clear one minute and then full of static the next - but being captivated by the words they painted clearly seen with my mind’s eye.  Or maybe it was hearing my mother jump up and down and scream when the Braves won their division for the first time – and getting in the car with her as she drove up and down the streets late at night honking the horn.

Or maybe it was Ted Turner and his Superstation when the Braves were all of a sudden on TV every night and old people and young alike across the country became Braves fans and lived and died on every fly ball and every Texas leaguer that found a place to fall.  Or maybe it was the WGN Superstation and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” at every 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field with those ivy covered walls  or his big glasses and his “Holy Cow” as the hapless Cubs found another way to lose as they tried to free themselves from the Billy Goat Curse.
Or maybe it was later when I was in college and a few of my buddies and I would drive over to Atlanta from Athens to have an intimate look at a game when the Braves were not good and it would not be unusual for the attendance to be a thousand - or less - and you could hear every word the players said on the field. Or maybe it was the Braves home opener on a cool night in 1974 against the Dodgers, when I was standing on my seat in the outfield after Hammerin’ Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 and broke Babe Ruth’s record.  Or maybe it was when I was sitting on the second row on the first base side at the first game of the 1991 World Series in Atlanta pinching myself to make sure it was real. Or maybe it was when I was sitting in the stands in 1992 when Syd Bream slid into home on a walk off hit by Francisco Cabrera in the National League Championship Series to take the Braves to its second consecutive World Series.

Or maybe it was those late night calls after I was married with kids and was a practicing undertaker in full swing.  Each time I was awakened suddenly after being dead to the world, thinking another poor soul had met their Maker - only to find it was my Mama excitingly asking if I saw how that game ended. Those West Coast games really wore me out.

Or maybe it was a few years ago when I took my youngest son away from his own family to Cooperstown for a few days and told him stories about some of the old timers we met who were signing autographs on the streets.  Or the walk through that incredible museum where I pointed out to him memorabilia on display there of the heroes of my childhood.  Or maybe it was sitting on those lawn chairs that Sunday afternoon as our Braves' Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddox were inducted into the shrine of all shrines of all sports. Or maybe it was the realization that week that my son moved from being an Atlanta Braves fan to a baseball fan.
Oh yes.  There is a difference.

Or maybe it was in the early morning hours of this morning when I think I felt Harry Caray move in his grave and I had to wipe tears from my eyes as the 108 year old World Series drought for the Chicago Cubs ended in Cleveland Ohio as the Cubs defeated the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings…. and the Curse of the Billy Goat was forever removed.
For me, the game of baseball has been and will forever be my favorite sport.

Baseball is simply a magical game.  If you are a baseball fan, the 2016 World Series was a magical series. And last night was a magical night.
I think we need a little magic in our great country these days. The kind of magic that promotes teamwork, friendships, high fives and neck hugs - and the kind that reminds us we all have a real  opportunity to be a positive  part of something bigger than ourselves.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How I Got So Tall


This morning I told some of my grandchildren how I got so tall.  Although I made it up as I went along, my story had their undivided attention.  So here is my story.

I had a mama named Naia.  When I was a very young boy, she would wake me up for school.  I would always jump right out of bed with a smile on my face and say “I wish you had awakened me earlier” -because I am so excited about getting to school.”

I noticed I started to get taller.

When she served breakfast every morning, I would always eat everything on my plate and tell her the meal was perfect and I would thank her for cooking my breakfast.

I noticed I was getting taller.

As I got older, she told me to be in before the street lights came on.  I would always get home earlier than that and she never had to worry about where I was.

I kept getting taller.

I was always extremely thankful for everything my Mama did for me and told her every single day how grateful I was for all she did for me.

And I kept getting taller.

I made my bed every morning and always enjoyed doing it – even before my mama asked me to do it.  And I always kept my room very clean and never left clothes lying around.

I kept getting taller.

I was always perfectly obedient.  Whatever my mama asked me to do, it did it with a smile on my face.

And I kept getting taller.  In fact, one day I looked in the mirror and noticed I was looking at my chest.  I had outgrown my mirror.

I finally graduated from high school and went to college.  I no longer had my mama with me all the time to do things for me.  I no longer had my mama to thank every day for all she did.

All of a sudden, I noticed I had stopped getting taller.  I never grew any taller after that. 

The moral of the story is - you will only grow taller when you are living with your mama and being obedient. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ft Myers Sesquicentennial Weekend


We did it for our mama.  And we did it for us.
The four children of Edward McCoy and Naia Gonzalez Goddard just returned from a long weekend in Fort Myers, Florida to join the festivities organized by a very talented cousin we had never met, Jason Gonzalez, and a local Ft Myers cousin by the name of Woody Hanson we have known all our lives.For posterity’s sake, the “four” of us consisted of Mac & Annis Goddard, Kikky Goddard Williams, George and Jaye Goddard and Bruce and Kathy Goddard.
We learned some things about our ancestors and we learned some things about ourselves.  We chased wonderful memories of our childhood and memories of the folks who helped form whoever in the heck we have become.   We also discovered we have incredible cousins for some crazy reason we had never met.
We have now.
In 1866, the same year that our paternal great grandfather, E.A. Goddard, founded Goddard Funeral Home in Reynolds, GA, Manuel A. Gonzalez and his four year old son, Manuel S. Gonzalez, came ashore in southwest Florida and founded Fort Myers Florida. Manuel S. Gonzalez would be our maternal great grandfather.
We figured out this weekend that the most plausible reason we had never met most of these 40 or so Gonzalez cousins was because our grandfather, Clyde Gonzalez, died in 1930 at the very young age of 38.   Although Clyde’s wife (and our grandmother Mabel Armstrong Gonzalez) never remarried, we spent several weeks every summer in our formative years visiting the Armstrong side of the family in Ft. Myers.

We obviously missed out on the Gonzalez side.


There was an exception to that.  My grandmother’s sister married one of Clyde’s brothers.  Their grandson, Woody Hanson, who you will see many times in the video linked here, is kin to us on both sides.   


Maybe even more grandeur than chasing memories and our heritage, was the fact that Naia’s children spent a long weekend together.


That means we laughed.  We laughed a lot.   And we ate.  We ate a lot.


I can tell you this.  It was one great weekend.


Somehow we all believe our mama was smiling at it all  from her heavenly resting place.

We won't be around for the Bicentennial but maybe some of my grandchildren will read this blog and watch the video one day and be inspired to show up for that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Didn't Even Get Her Name


Since my wife and I are spending most weekends relaxing at the lake these days in our “old age” (and not apologizing for it), we miss many Sundays at our home church.  This past weekend we were home.  I continue to be amazed at how many people gather on Sundays at Southside Church in Warner Robins, GA.  Without knowing the number exactly, I would say it is less that 5,000 but I think way more than 3,000.
Anyway I was glad I was there Sunday.  Not only did I get to see some folks I haven’t seen lately, I heard a sermon that I was still thinking about this afternoon in a cab in Knoxville TN.
Cab rides and Uber rides are sort of normal for me.  I travel for a living and many times find myself in a car with a stranger driving me.
Today was no different.
I walked out of McGhee Tyson Airport late this afternoon and got in the first cab available.  I couldn’t help but notice the young female driving this cab was not your typical cab driver. She seemed a little nervous and I suspected a little new on the job.
Turns out she was a transplant from Hamilton, Ohio.  Since I used to go to Hamilton fairly often on business and know a funeral home there,  it was easy to strike up a conversation.  Before I knew it, I learned she had recently broken up with her long-time boyfriend, she missed her parents in Ohio, at one time she went 2 ½ years without seeing them, she has a sister in Ohio and she decided to go see them at Christmas even though she really couldn’t afford it.
I also found out her friend owns the cab we were riding in and the owner treats her really well as a part-time driver.  She gets half the fares and the owner reimburses her for gas she puts in the car.  Some days she can take in as much as $200 but other days it may be only $20.  I learned that holidays are not the best time for cab drivers and she picked the worse time three months ago to go into the cab business. Many people travel during the holidays but their families or loved ones pick most of them up when they come for a visit.
I also learned that she was going to hang it up for the day after she dropped me off because she was attending a study group tonight.  She had graduated from Massage Therapy School but had not taken the boards yet because of the $500 cost and she wants to make sure she passes it the first time.
Not bad conversation for a 15 minute cab ride.
But what I haven’t mentioned yet is what she told me when I first got in the cab when I asked her that simple, mundane question: “How has your day been?”
Her response caused that sermon that I have been mulling over since Sunday come to the front of my mind again.
She told me it was not a good day because earlier she had a passenger who didn’t pay.  And it was a large fare - $63 she painfully explained.   It was obvious the $63 dollars was eating at her.  I strongly suspect it was eating at her a lot.
So I thought about the sermon on “Generosity” I heard a few days earlier and as I asked her a “million” questions during our 15 minutes together, I began to realize that this cab ride was not an accident nor was the sermon I heard on Sunday from my Pastor and friend, Jerry Walls.
 This young lady needed me and I needed her.
As she pulled the cab in front of the hotel, I asked her what I owed her.  “Thirty dollars and eighty cents,” she quickly said.   I gave her my credit card and tipped her well.
Then I gave her my card again.
  I asked her to run the card again for $63.  She was obviously stunned and quickly said I cannot let you do that.  I said I wanted to do it and to please run the card and she very reluctantly did so. I also tipped her well for the jerk who had stolen the $63 dollar ride from her.   I heard her say very softly and almost under her breath as she was running the second card,   “I will never forget this.”
I was thinking, neither will I……and I will write about it to make sure I never forget it.
When I got out of the car and made my way around to the back, I saw her tears.  I’m sure she saw mine.
I’m not sure what the Bellhops thought when they saw us do a little quick awkward hug.  Nor do I care, by the way.
After dinner tonight, I discovered the young lady lied to me about the $63 dollar ride.  The charge on my card before the tip was actually $62.60. 
That just validated for me that God orchestrated our fifteen minutes together. No way was this young lady going to steal even 40 cents from me.
I will admit – of all the cab rides I’ve taken in my life, today was the first time I have ever hugged the driver.
And I didn’t even get her name.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Older I Get the Better I See

I took a couple days off from work this week to help my wife babysit a couple of our beautiful grand baby girls in Atlanta so their parents could go on a trip.  We just got home after a busy few days for old folks but we had a blast.

My biggest challenge in chasing our little girls was every time I bent over my glasses would fall off my face.  This morning I decided I would take a short break and go to a nearby Target to their optical store to see if they could tighten my glasses.

When  I walked in the optical shop there was a nice middle aged lady sitting at one of the desks seemingly waiting on me to get there.  I asked her if she could possibly tighten my glasses and I would be more than happy to pay her whatever the going rate is for such procedures.  She said she would be very glad to do so and there would be no charge.

So I sat at the little desk (pretty much in a fog without my glasses) while the very nice lady took my only glasses in the back room to work on them.

It was a little disconcerting to me a few moments later when I heard her make a gasping noise coupled with a fairly loud “oh no!”  She came back to my little desk to tell me she had broken my glasses.  I’m sure she had a look of horror on her face but I could not see enough to tell whether she did or not.

I chose to keep my cool as I began to wonder what I would do without my glasses. The fact that I am leaving on a week long business trip on Sunday was on my mind when she told me it takes a minimum of five business days to get new glasses.   I was thinking my prescription sunglasses might work for a week.

As my mind was spinning, I remember her saying the odds of finding frames in the store to match my lenses was about 1 to 100.   I was not very optimistic in this particular optical shop but I was committed to watching it (no pun intended) play out. She finally found a frame that she thought might work.  She told me I may not like the fact they were green but I was fine with green if I could see again. After some maneuvering and measuring, the nice but obviously upset lady decided they would not work.

Back to square one.

I’m not sure how many frames she picked up and measured before she found another frame that she thought might work.  Thankfully I was the only “customer” in the shop so my little problem had her undivided attention.  In a few quick moments, I heard the sound of excitement in her voice when she yelled to me that these frames did indeed work.

I was still seated at the little desk when she brought the new frames with my lenses to me to make sure they fit.  I told her they were perfect.  Actually, any variation  of “I can see” would have been perfect. 

She told me these were Ray Ban frames and they were expensive but she would not charge me for the frames because she broke my glasses.

I quickly told her that I was going to pay her for the new frames - whatever they cost.  I further explained that I heard her clearly when she told me when I walked in the store that she would tighten my glasses at no charge.  No way, I said, that I will leave without paying for the new frames.

Now I had my new glasses on and I could see.

She was crying.  

I’m not sure if the cost of the new frames would have come out of her check if I had not paid or she was emotional because a customer was being nice when maybe the customer had other options.

When I left,  there was one thing I could see very clearly.

That was the best money I have ever spent.

The older I get the better I see.


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Things I've Learned as I've Gotten Older by Larry Walker

by Larry Walker


I’ve learned that you can leave your problems at work and pick ‘em up the next morning. Seldom do I take problems home with me.

I’ve leaned that family is the most important thing in my world. Daddy told me. Daddy was right.

I’ve learned that next to family, friends are most important. I’m blessed to have lots of friends.

I’ve learned that from the most powerful to the meekest, all people want to be recognized and appreciated.

I’ve learned that if you’ll let the other fellow do all the talking, you’ll be surprised at how smart he will think you are.

I’ve learned that the four most important words in dealing with people are: “What do you think?” Then, listen. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find out, and you’ll be pleased at how much they will like you.

I’ve learned that as to lots of things I really wanted, when I got ‘em, they don’t give me nearly the pleasure I thought they would.

I’ve learned that my work experiences as a youngster have meant much more to me than my play experiences.

I’ve learned that I’ve learned much more from my failures than I have from my successes.

I’ve learned that much of my success is because I have surrounded myself with folks that are smarter than I am.

I’ve learned that life is fast. Daddy liked to say that “the days get longer and the years get shorter.” Again, Daddy was right.

I’ve learned that the church or mosque or synagogue or whatever you call yours is what helps to hold society together and keeps us from having anarchy.


I’ve learned to slow down as life has speeded up. You can get to Atlanta almost as fast at 70 as you can at 79 - and, you stand a better chance at getting there safer.

I’ve learned that dogs are a lot smarter than I thought they were, and that our national leaders are not nearly as smart as they need to be.

I’ve learned that wisdom and common sense are rare commodities in today’s leadership market.

I’ve learned that too many folks are against more than they are for, and that it’s easier to tear down a house than it is to build one.

I’ve learned that athletes are bigger, stronger and faster, today, but not necessarily tougher, smarter or have more heart.

I’ve learned that technological advancements don’t necessarily make things faster or easier or make their users happier.

I’ve learned that everyone wants peace of mind and that so many don’t have it and never will.

I’ve learned that the most powerful thing in the world are the words “I love you” from someone who means them.

I’ve learned that most of us want mercy and not justice and, fortunately, that’s what most of us get.

I’ve learned that I will never understand why I was born of good parents in the most affluent country in the world, when so many were not.

I’ve learned that there is lots of style but much less class, and that class has nothing to do with money, position, intelligence or style.

I’ve learned that a smile and words like “please”, “thank-you”, “please forgive me”, and “I forgive you” will take you a long way in life.

I’ve learned that the busier I am, the more things I get done.

And lastly, I’ve learned that “the sun don’t shine on the same dog all the time”! 

That’s about the way it goes, isn’t it?