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Columns

  • A View From Lick Skillet: On friends and neighbors past and present

    By Gerald Largen

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Facing winter with a warm glow -- for now

    Last Sunday evening, in the warm company of friends, I realized what I like best about winter.

    Friends Steve and Helen, who live on the edge of Catoosa Ridge, had cooked up a big pot of Mexican hominy stew and issued an all-call to their friends.

    Later, on their deck, the group of us admired the bare and twisted chestnut oak that dominates their viewshed and then turned a telescope up to the heavens to marvel at the moons of Jupiter.

  • IMPRESSIONS: Having 30 years of marriage to be thankful for

    I read recently that a national poll revealed a disturbing trend — at least to me. Apparently, nearly 40 percent of Americans say marriage is “obsolete.”
    Say what?
    For decades nearly half of all marriages have ended in divorce.
    But for an almost equal number of respondents to say the state of holy matri-mony is dead on arrival.
    I can’t imagine ever not being married.
    I met the love of my life when I was 19. I’m 51 now.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Funny what you see on a long, dark highway

    I’ve been on the road a bit lately — trips that involve night driving on miles of two-lane highways. I couldn’t help but notice the light glowing from the windows of houses scattered along the way.

    And in noticing, landscape features faded and years slipped away.

    I was a kid again, riding in a car down U.S. 41 to see my father’s people.

  • Here’s your opportunity to REACH out and help

    In one of his many post-game interviews Saturday afternoon Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley summed things up: “We made some special plays.”
    Indeed, something special happened at Neyland Stadium on homecoming week-end.
    The Vols literally came out of nowhere, put together their best effort of the year and waxed the University of Mississippi, 52-14.
    The 6,000 or so no-shows missed a huge opportunity to be present and hear “Rocky Top” played more than it has all season.

  • A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    Gentle reader, in recent days we have encountered several of our friends who have borne upon their countenance a cast of gloom, a depressed and downcast expression prompted by the outcome of the recent election.
    We have told them, and we now tell you, that this is not the proper set of mind; no, we say that this is a time of celebration for all good patriots, for the day of our national redemption is surely at hand.
    Why say you this, you may ask. Well it is simple really.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: It's tough saying goodbye to the neighborhood dog

    If you are a softie, like I am, don’t read this.

    OK, you’ve been warned.

    For the past four years or so, I have been lucky to have custody of my ridgetop community’s neighborhood dog.

    Jasmine, so I’m told, was dumped here  about 16 years ago as a puppy.

    I smile to imagine what that roly-poly golden ball of fur must have looked like then. She was lucky enough to find a home with a family that had children.

  • Impressions: Next time he feels roly-poly, it won’t involve layers

    The heat is on.
    Literally.
    Last weekend’s frosts convinced me to switch the HVAC system at the office over from “cool” to “heat.”
    I’m betting you did likewise at your home.
    Of course, I judiciously nudged the thermostats down a gnat’s eyelash under 65 Sunday morning — no need in running the heat when I was the only soul on my side of the building.
    While I’m a cool weather fan, many of my colleagues are not.

  • A View from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    Last week we told you of the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court opinion which upheld the theory that spending money is the equivalent of speech, and that corporations have the same rights as real live human beings insofar as the First Amendment is concerned.
    We demonstrated that both concepts are foolish and without foundation in history, language, or law.
    We concluded with the promise to conclude on this topic this week, so there follows part two of our consideration of this matter:

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: I realized something on the long drive home

    Last weekend, I traveled to Bowling Green, Ky., to receive the Herald Award for Outstanding Contributions in Journalism.

    For me, it was a big day.

    I had not been back to the campus of Western Kentucky University, which now simply goes by WKU, in decades.

    My head and heart were aswirl with memories and emotions. I was remembering the people I had known there; my mistakes and my successes.