Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistJay Carney, the inept press secretary for President Obama, took a dig at Sarah Palin last week.
He implied that she was stupid, ill-informed, bucolic, and lacking in experience. Now one has to laugh at this because his boss, Obama, is the most inexperienced politician in the history of this country. Carney spouts the liberal lines every chance he gets. But this is to be expected. When he worked as a political reporter, he spouted the same liberal lines.
I had a very good friend of mine who was very intelligent and erudite. I once asked him why he didn’t get into politics. His answer shocked me.
“I was ruined for politics by my mom and dad.” This seemed like a strange answer, so I probed further. “My mom and dad instilled in me a code of ethics. Every time I’m tempted to do something untoward, I can hear my mom or dad explaining to me why I shouldn’t do it. They’ve been dead for many years, yet I can still hear them saying, “If you lie, you’ll eventually have to tell another lie to cover it up. If you steal, you’ll eventually get caught. If you treat people without respect, you will get disrespect in return. You can’t fool all the people all the time. Go to church and listen to what the preacher says. You will learn something every time you go.”
As he talked, I could hear my own mom and dad giving me the same sermon. I, also, remembered some times when my brother and I got into trouble.
I think my dad hated a lie the most. He spanked me four times when I was growing up, and the one I remember most is the time I lied about hoeing the watermelons.
We had a huge watermelon patch, and before dad left for work, he informed Buddy and me that he wanted the watermelons hoed. The grass was growing pretty fast, and unless we took a hoe and chopped out the grass, weeds would eventually take over the entire watermelon patch. After breakfast, Buddy and I grabbed our hoes and headed for the patch. It was warm and the birds were chirping. The air was moist and clean, and it was just wonderful to be alive.
About the time we reached the first row of melons, Buddy had a brilliant suggestion. I must admit that little brother was the clever one in the family, so I often listened to what he had to say. “Before we hoe the garden,” he began, “let’s go for a swim.”
So we dropped our hoes and headed for the pond. We jumped in and swam all the way to the opposite bank. When we climbed out of the pond, we heard voices coming from a pond about a quarter of a mile away. The voices belonged to Edward and W. A. Collins. We joined up, and spent the rest of the day swimming and in general goofing off.
Before long, the sun began to sink in the west and Buddy and I soon realized that dad would be home soon. We hurried home just in time to see his car drive up. “Boys, did you finish hoeing the watermelons?” were the first words out of his mouth.
Thinking that he would not go to the field and inspect I replied, "Yes, sir." We did.”
Bad mistake. He stopped by a willow tree and cut the switch.
As many of you know, willow limbs bend, but they don’t break. I quickly discovered that my back side could not endure what dad was dishing out, so I resolved at that moment never to tell him another lie.
When he finished, he calmly said, “Boys, I’m not whipping you because you didn’t hoe the watermelons. I’m whipping you because you lied to me.”
The Democrats and Mr. Obama have begun one of the most hideous lying campaigns in American history all to preserve their power. It isn’t working. The American people can see this administration for what it is, and I sincerely believe that the principles of ethics laid down by my mom and dad are still valid. Most people want the truth, and the truth is that the Democrats have no plan for saving our economy. Jay Carney is just the tip of the iceberg. The entire administration is ethically challenged, and in the near future, judgment will come.
November 6 is sure to arrive, and the American people may have a sack of willow switches waiting for someone. Clue: I don’t think it will be Romney and Ryan.d
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorIt was a typical morning at the Patterson home.
My husband Jason and I were carrying both our kids in our arms and balancing book bags, diaper bags, laptop computers and other things on our arms.
We danced around our dog for a few minutes who was hoping our son James would drop his Pop Tart. That same Pop Tart caused a wrestling match with the kids seconds earlier.
Throwing children’s car seats into different vehicles and grabbing tissues for that last minute face cleaning, it dawned on me that I had left our daughter Elsie’s blanket on the kitchen counter.
“Just buckle them in,” I said, handing Jason an assortment of bags. “I’ll go get the blanket.”
Running back inside, I almost fell because my foot got tangled on a fishing line that James had left in the yard.
“Why can’t we just put things up,” I asked, kicking the line off my leg.
“Watch out for that line; James was practicing his fishing techniques,” Jason yelled back.
Great timing, I thought as I rushed inside to get Elsie’s pink blanket.
Jason stood outside my truck, waiting on me to get back. Slamming the door and locking up, I made my way down the porch steps.
And then it happened.
A bee, who was sitting atop a flower, thought going up my dress would be a better place to fly.
I started screaming uncontrollably. Jason probably thought I was doing a dance because I ran over to him, kicking my legs. I was grabbing my skirt and jerking it from side to side, hoping to shake the bee loose.
James just watched from his window. Elsie continued to nibble on a piece of Pop Tart she stole from her brother at the last minute.
And what did my sweet, loving husband do? Did he come to my assistance? Did he try to save me from the bee who probably had his stinger ready to attack? Did he even approach me at all as I was riverdancing in front of him?
No, he did not.
“What’s wrong with you,” he asked.
I finally saw the bee escape, and I was able to catch my breath.
“I had a bee go up my dress,” I screamed.
“That wasn’t a bee,” he said. “It was a tall piece of grass, brushing past your leg.”
But the bee was sitting right there on a flower.
“There he is,” I said, pointing to the monster. “See? He’s right there.”
“Just get in the truck,” Jason said. “Screaming like that, the whole neighborhood is gonna hear you.”
I stomped to the driver’s side and slammed my door. The whole neighborhood will hear me, I thought to myself.
I can’t believe he made that statement. He’s the same guy who turns our backyard into a war zone when he is spraying wasp nests down.
Do the neighbors not hear him shouting the number of wasps he kills ?
He’s also the same guy who spends more time hammering, sawing and making all sorts of noises on the next “home project.”
Do the neighbors not hear him shouting orders to James about nails, lumber and moving toys out of the way?
And he’s the same guy who treats our road like a parade route when he gets his first buck during deer season.
Do the neighbors not hear him when he honks his horn a hundred times coming up the driveway? Do they not hear him when he shouts, “I got the big one” or when his brother barrels up the driveway next to see if it’s true? Or when they spend the rest of the day trading insults or boasting about who is the superior hunter?
But my simple whimper about a killer bee needs to be “toned down a little.”
The neighborhood will just have to put up with it. If a stinging insect gets near me, I will shout, kick and scream.
I’m sure there are other women down the road who understand what’s going on.
Because when winter comes and the sounds of guns are heard in the distance, our little neighborhood better get ready for the horn honkings, the bragging and the parade of trucks.
Or when the next saw cranks up or hammer starts pounding.
Or when all the insect nests have been destroyed and he moves on to declaring war on a visiting armadillo that’s tearing up the yard.
I’ll just have to remind the boys to “tone it down.”
Jason Patterson Editor & PublisherIt was still dark when I made that long walk down the driveway to catch the school bus for the first time.
The driver, Mrs. Johnston, lived nearby so I was one of the first ones to get on and among the last to get off the bus.
It was a little intimidating the first time those big yellow doors swung open, and I climbed the steps to take my first ride to school.
Thirty years later I can still remember it clearly.
Maybe she could see that I was a little nervous, because the sweet lady sitting a few seats back asked me if I wanted to sit next to her.
I gladly accepted her offer, and after a few minutes of conversation I felt right at home. Pretty soon more kids were getting on the bus, and I realized this little ride to school was really no big deal.
I saw her again at lunch time, and she didn’t say anything when I came back for seconds on the first day. My teacher had to explain to me later that this wasn’t like home. You weren’t supposed to go back for another helping.
But Mrs. Veazey didn’t mind, and throughout my 12 years of education at Benton Academy she’d always slip some extra French fries on my plate or give me a larger portion of something she knew I really liked.
Back in those days I could use the extra calories. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for me anymore.
For Christmas she would make little ornaments for students. I’m not sure if everyone got one or if I was just among a special group. Mrs. Veazey had a way of making you feel special every time you talked to her.
When I was a senior on my last day of high school, I was told to report to the cafeteria. I had no idea why I was being summoned, and I wondered if maybe I still owed some money or something.
When I arrived Mrs. Veazey surprised me with a gift and reminded me of that first time we sat together on the school bus. I couldn’t believe she still remembered that after so many years.
That really touched me, and although I wasn’t really in the habit of sharing my feelings, I told her so.
Jesse Veazey died Monday at age 71. There is no telling how many kids she served with a smile during her career or how many greasy beef tacos or fried chicken sandwiches were made with loving hands.
When I learned of her passing Tuesday morning, so many memories came back.
I wonder if people like Mrs. Veazey realize how much they touch the lives of others through simple acts of kindness. I wonder if they know how much better the world is because of their presence.
We should all probably do a better job of telling them.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorEverything had been properly labeled. Every box of crayons, every folder with Spiderman and Mustangs on it had his name neatly written across the top. His book bag had been cleaned out and loaded with an assortment of pencils, markers and glue sticks.
I did it about a week ahead of schedule, but our son James was ready for his first day of “big school.”
All his school supplies sat in the corner of the dining room. Everything was ready for his big day. But as the days dwindled down, I realized that it was me who wasn’t really ready.
For weeks, my husband Jason and I talked to James about kindergarten. We covered everything from making new friends to taking his nap to paying attention to his lessons.
We even prepared him for the earth-shattering idea of his baby sister Elsie going to daycare without him.
We thought we had all our bases covered.
But it was the evening before his first day of school when I lost it. I was an emotional wreck.
Grabbing his book bag, I wanted to try it on James to make sure everything was fit and snug.
“Let’s see how you will look for your first day of big school,” I said, slipping his Cars book bag over his shoulders.
As if he were a catalog model, he showed off his ticket to “big boyhood.” And then he looked up at me and grinned.
I immediately dashed into the living room. The tears began to roll down my cheek. I didn’t want my little boy to head off to big school, even if it’s just 4K. I wanted him to stay a little boy.
“Are you serious,” Jason asked, looking at me from the couch.
“It’s sad,” I blubbered. “He’s growing up, and I don’t like it.”
Poor James just stood there in silence with his book bag still on. He wasn’t sure what kind of emotional rollercoaster Momma was about to embark on.
But I wiped my tears and got back to my senses. I even started to brag about how handsome he looked in his new gear.
Later that evening, we started our new routine. We all sat down to supper, got James in the tub, brushed his teeth, read a bedtime story and tucked him into bed. Turning on nightlights and giving final hugs and kisses, the Patterson home rested.
But at 5 a.m., the alarm clock started blaring. I normally would sleep a little later, but preparing breakfast and getting a kid ready for school called for extra measures.
I somehow managed to get myself ready rather quickly. I put James’ breakfast on the table for him. I made sure his book bag was nice and neat. I got his clothes out for the day.
While he ate, I even had time to get Elsie ready for her solo appearance at daycare.
We were so ready for school that we were ready about half an hour before it was time to leave.
“We are getting ready too early,” Jason said, with his eyelids halfway down his face. “I’m sleeping an extra hour from now on.”
James has been at big school for about a week now. And we are starting to adjust to the new routine.
But that same feeling hits me every morning when I drop him off.
My stomach falls to my feet. My eyes water up just for a second. I want to grab him back into the car and take off for a day at the zoo or snuggle time at home.
But with a quick hop and a tug at his bag, James looks back at me and smiles.
I watch him walk into the building, down his own little path.
As I drive off toward work, I anxiously await that afternoon pickup. I’ll even start counting down the minutes to get Elsie shortly afterwards.
Watching them go doesn’t seem as hard if you know they will always come back.
Jason Patterson Editor & Publisher“Daddy, that’s the funniest looking phone I’ve ever seen.”
That was the reaction of my 4-year-old son James to the telephone in the beach house we rented for our vacation last week.
It was a much more modern version than the yellow rotary model that was on the wall of our kitchen for most of my life. But it had a cord, and it was plugged in to the wall. It occurred to me for the first time that these are things that James had never seen before.
Mom and Dad’s phones fit in their pockets and have Internet access and email. Most of our friends have phones that are much more advanced than our outdated Blackberries. James probably knows more about touch screen phones than I do.
It took a while to convince James that the phone in the beach house wasn’t a toy. That was an amusing reminder of how much things have changed in the last decade.
It was about 10 years ago that I reluctantly purchased my first cell phone. For about a year I left it at home just like it was a regular phone because I just couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to be out of touch for a little while.
Eventually my job as a newspaper reporter demanded that I be accessible at all times. It took a while for me to get used to the idea, but now it has just become a part of everyday life. Now people get bent out shape if they can’t reach someone immediately. With the addition of email capability, it’s even worse. It’s like being expected to check your mailbox around the clock.
All of these things offer some great advantages. I would have loved to have had a cell phone on the many occasions when my vehicles broke down in my younger days. It’s going to be great as a parent to be able to reach my kids at any time when they’re teenagers.
But it’s easy to go overboard with the new technology. It’s strange to see two people in a restaurant totally ignoring each other while they play with their phones. Their conversations have been replaced by posting photos of the meal to Facebook and texting others about what they’re doing. Perhaps some of them are texting each other instead of talking.
But last week our beach house was in an area that got no cell phone service. A week with no phone calls, Internet or social media might seem unimaginable for some people today, but it sure was a nice change of pace for a little while.
I didn’t miss any earth-shattering news, and all of the emails that piled up in my inbox did just fine waiting for my return. Perhaps we’ll intentionally schedule future vacations in areas with no cell phone service.
Phones that plug in to the wall won’t exist anymore when my son is my age.
So he probably won’t understand what I mean when I tell him to “take it off the hook” while we’re on vacation. At least he can look it up on his smart phone.