Friday, May 22, 2015

Another day in May - May 21, 2015

As published in the White River Current - Thursday May 21, 2015

“It was a dark and stormy night.”  A huge clap of thunder had awakened me.  I rolled over and sleepily glanced at the alarm clock on the bedside table.  It was blinking which indicated that the electricity had been off and every electric clock in the house (seven, counting the clock radios) would have to be reset for the zillionth time.  Well, maybe five or six times so far this year.  I’m such a perfectionist that it takes me at least fifteen or twenty minutes to perform the resetting task.  I doubt if you are interested, but here is how I do it:  I grab my battery powered atomic clock, which is accurate to one-millionth of a second, and, figuring that was close enough to the correct time, go from clock to clock until all eight clocks register the same hour and minute.  I click the clock’s minute button just as the seconds of the atomic clock jumps from 59 to 00.  It takes a little dexterity and quickness, and I maybe lose a few thousandth of a second, but I always feel personally rewarded for a job well done.  Twice a year, daylight savings time, I have to reset the clocks in the cars also, but that’s another story and they don’t keep accurate time.

Rambling along, and congratulations to the graduating CRHS seniors, a very handsome group whose pictures appeared in last week’s Current.  I well remember my senior year, 1947.  Gracious sakes alive!  That’s 68 years ago.  Seems like only yesterday that we were getting ready for our senior trip to Memphis where we stayed in the King Cotton Hotel and visited the Pink Palace and other attractions. This was B-E (before Elvis).  We had previously been honored at the Junior/Senior banquet by the class of 1948.  Now we were ready to receive our diplomas.  The baccalaureate service was held at the Methodist church at 11:00 AM on Sunday with all the churches dismissing so that everyone could attend.  The choir sang “Consider the Lilies” and Rev. Watson preached the sermon.  The following Friday, in the old gymnasium, the commencement exercises were held with my Uncle Roy Perryman addressing the class.  (If you attend the all-school reunion on June 13th, be sure to check out our class picture.)  High School graduation is the end of a long period of preparation and the beginning of the rest of your life.  Some will continue their education while others will chose different paths.  My suggestion is to get all the advice you can, from your counselor and perhaps from your pastor.  When I graduated, I had already made a decision to go to pharmacy school, enrolling at the College of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, the only pharmacy school in the state at the time. The pharmacy school moved from Clarksville to Little Rock in 1951, the year I graduated.  The transition from high school senior to college freshman is a giant step.  I was enrolled with students who were mostly older (I was 16) and from larger schools.  It took a while before I realized that I could compete, even though I was a graduate of a much smaller school.  The point of this discussion is that if you set the goal that you want to attain and keep your focus, you can succeed.  Of course, there were times that I wondered if I had made the right decision.  For instance, I had been encouraged by some to transfer to medical school.  I considered but kept my original plans.  I’m glad I did.  To further illustrate my point, I recently read an article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine that described the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Garth Brooks classic hit, “The Dance.”  Described by Garth as his favorite song and used quite often as a closer at his concerts, this ballad was composed in 1989 by Tony Arata and appeared on Garth’s first album.  By the way, I have a photo of Garth and my grandson, Ross, magnetted to my refrigerator door.  Ross learned all Garth’s songs when he was growing up (“here’s the way Garth holds his guitar, Granddad).  In the song, Garth sings “Looking back on the memory…” and “Yes, my life is better left to chance.  I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance.”  In an interview in 2013, Garth commented on this song when he said “You don’t get to pick and choose your memories on life.  You have to go with things as they play out.  You don’t get to alter them.”  Change one memory and you change them all.      

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Remembrance - May 7, 2015

As published in the White River Current - Thursday May 7, 2015

Congratulations are in order for the Batesville Daily Guard for winning the General Excellence Award in the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors Association’s 2014 contest.  Winners were announced Saturday, April 25, at the Arkansas APME annual meeting.  The Guard took home 27 awards including 11 First Places overall, competing in Division 1 dailies.  Congratulations also to Calico Rock High School graduate, Angelia Sanders Roberts, who was awarded First Place in two categories, Editorial Writing and News Feature.  She is the Executive Director of Ad/Ed for the Guard and a very talented writer.  I am going out on a limb here and predicting that Angelia will win First Place in the Human Interest category for her article, “Pulling Together,” when the 2015 awards are announced next year.  This well-written article first appeared in the February 12th edition of the Guard and spotlighted a well-known Calico Rock couple, Gene and Reva Lockie.  The Lockies moved to Calico Rock from Charles City, Iowa, in the 1980’s and quickly became actively involved in the community.  Gene had first visited our city a few years earlier when he made the trip from Iowa to see his parents who had a home here. On the next visit, he brought Reva along.  They, of course, fell in love with the area and began making plans to make this their home when Gene retired.  Both had been active in civic and church activities in Iowa, so the transition to local interests was quick and smooth.    Unfortunately, Reva began developing a debilitating form of Alzheimer’s about 10 years ago and was a resident of the local nursing home for over seven years.  The article that Angelia wrote describes the devotion and loyalty that Gene has exhibited these last few years.  The vows say, “for better, or worse” and Gene never wavered.  Reva passed away April 20th.  The funeral was a few days later at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Calico Rock and she was laid to rest in the family plot at Riverside Cemetery in Charles City, Iowa.  At the funeral service, the pastor inquired if there were any friends who would like to say a few words.  I thought about it, but declined; afraid I might get emotional or speak too long (you know, ramble).  Here’s what I might have said:  “I first met Reva at a chili supper, a fund-raiser for the local fire department.  She and Gene had closed the deal on the purchase of the bluff property and were moving to Calico Rock in a year.  Sure enough, about a year later Jim C. called to inform Anita and I that Gene and Reva were here and were asking about us.  We rushed down to welcome them and very quickly became close friends.  Reva had a very infectious laugh (her daughters inherited this trait from their mother) and you could not be around her and not be happy.  Together, our two couples spent a lot of time together, travelling to such faraway vistas as Hawaii and our Nation’s Capitol.  We represented our small city at numerous tourism and festival conferences.  At one unforgettable Governor’s conference on Tourism, we had a confrontation with the top official of our state who later became our country’s 42nd  president, but that’s another story.  Even though Gene and Reva were from “off,” they never failed to sing the praises of our small community and the beautiful Ozarks area whenever the opportunity became available.  Speaking of singing, both Gene and Reva lent their bass and alto voices to their church choir (Reva’s father was a choir member at his church in Illinois until he died at age 103).  I will always remember the good meals and fellowship that we shared together.  On one occasion, Reva prepared a dish that was new to Anita and I at the time, known as shepherd’s pie.  Funny why I remember this event.”  Anita and I will soon be celebrating our 62nd anniversary. Gene and Reva were married for almost 68 years, sharing vows at the Little Brown Church in the Vale as Angelia’s article so eloquently portrayed.  Some might say that they met by accident.  Others might say that things don’t always just “happen,” but that they happen for a reason.  You would have to be a “believer” to have this opinion.  I’m a believer.