I grew up in a rural Tennessee farming community where everybody I knew was a Democrat. Anybody other than a Democrat would have been considered an outsider. Herbert Hoover was president when I was born in 1929. I do not remember him, as I was three when his term ended. I learned later that he was a Republican businessman who became known for distributing food to starving residents of Belgium and northern France during WWI. He was blamed, perhaps unfairly, for causing the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The stock market crashed and the depression began the day I was born, October 28, 1929. Men were jumping out of high rise windows after losing all their wealth. Continue reading



A historical marker denoting FAIRBANK’S HOME stands in front of a seven-bedroom house at 227 South Seventh Street in Fernandina Beach, Florida. If you count the cupola, the house has four stories. George Rainsford Fairbanks had the house built in 1885 as a surprise for his wife and it did not go over well, resulting in the structure’s alliterative nickname, Fairbanks Folly. An earlier marker said as much, and the newer marker is not nearly as entertaining. George Fairbanks was an educator, a Major in the Confederate Army, a Florida state senator, Clerk of the Circuit Court, editor of The Florida Mirror, a lawyer, President of the Florida Fruit Growers Association and the Florida Fruit Exchange. He authored books on Florida history and was founder and president of the Florida Historical Society. Along with others, he is credited with establishing the University of the South in Suwannee, Tennessee, and was instrumental in establishing Florida’s citrus industry. Continue reading


Vicky Sexton Martin was my grandmother. You can see her in the picture on the left holding baby Stanley, my father, born January 22, 1894. In the group photo she is standing at the upper left. We called her Mammie. Long before I was born, and after her first husband died, Vicky Martin ran the general store and post office on Wynn’s Ferry Road, at Wynn, TN. That store and post office once stood in the yard of the two-story farm house on Standing Rock Creek, where I was born and raised. Continue reading


I am Pattie’s PikStik®. I entered her life about a year ago when she decided she was creating a spectacle in her driveway each morning trying to pick up the newspaper. By placing her feet far apart, her upper body was lowered closer to the ground and thus, nearer to the newspaper. If part of the plastic sleeve around the newspaper happened to point upward she might be able to reach that, but if the plastic was wet and stuck flat to the ground she had to bend her knees into an even more painful squat. This was not a pretty sight and it hurt like the dickens in her knees. Pattie likes her comforts and is not dumb, so after a few painful and embarrassing weeks of this she drove to a nearby medical supply store and indicated with her arthritic fingers that she needed a grabber. She was introduced to me, “the most popular one”, paid the seventeen bucks and brought me home with her. Pattie will do whatever it takes to get at that Gainesville Sun crossword puzzle first thing in the morning! Continue reading


I was about to be eighty-seven years old and I knew exactly how to get what I wanted for my birthday. On the afternoon before the big day, I called my eighty-eight year old gentleman friend, told him the next day was my birthday and gave him his choice of taking me to watch a sunset or writing me a birthday Haiku. Richard can talk your ear off about city water systems, back-flow prevention, or what’s going on at the nearest construction site, but he is not poetically inclined. So, as I expected, he agreed to drive me to some west facing high place, park the car, and let me watch the sun go down. Continue reading