Mark Ballard

Mark Ballard

Taking measure without measuring up

There’s a large drawer in the antique wooden desk that’s in our office. For many years it has held various notepads, other miscellaneous office-related materials and two nice metal rulers that are tucked in the very front. I purchased these rulers many years ago and used them relentlessly during my art school days. Throughout the years, they have accurately measured just about anything you could possibly imagine.

Mark Ballard

Lessons in positivity and perseverance

“Fantastic” was what my mother would reply when asked how she was doing. With her enthusiastic comment came a flash of her one-of-a- kind smile punctuated with a sparkle in her eyes. Just hearing her say that word made me and anyone around her feel better.

Mark Ballard

Life’s got me all tangled up

Looking out the window, I can almost see autumn driving into town like a friend I haven’t seen in a while. The year seems to be flying by, and the end of it is quickly coming into view. I get overwhelmed at this time of year because there is so much to be done and so little time to do it.

Mark Ballard

In the kitchen with Granny

My grandmother’s kitchen was filled with all kinds of pots and pans. None of them came as a set or even matched. They were marred with scratches and dings from many years of constant use. They wore their war wounds like badges of honor for all the delicious things they had yielded.

Mark Ballard

Time changes everything

My mind, which never stops, often wanders back down long and twisting roads I’ve already traveled. Not with regret or wishing to change things, but to simply visit the parts of my life’s experiences that formed the person I am today.

Mark Ballard

Driving through life — hurricanes included

When you’re a teenager, you are not yet fully aware of the responsibilities and dangers of driving. It makes you feel like you are grown and invincible and you don’t give it a second thought. But in my early 20s, I certainly found out how dangerous driving really is.

Mark Ballard

Summer and ice cream

Standing in line at Dairy Queen, I watched the machine closely as if I had never seen it before. It had always amazed me as a child and now apparently as an adult. With just the turn of a lever, the smooth, vanilla-flavored ice cream escaped the freezing machine and flowed effortlessly into a container forming a cool and refreshing mountain of goodness. As the lever was turned off, the server gave a gentle twist of the wrist and pulled the cup of ice cream away. A perfect curl was left on top as if to punctuate its flavor. Like a pristine sculpture, there it stood larger than life as an edible and refreshing monument to summer!

Mark Ballard

Fitting together life’s puzzle pieces

As a young boy, I remember our family putting together puzzles from time to time. Their subject matter and complexity depended on my sister’s and my age at the time they were purchased. I can’t recall any of their images in particular, but I do remember sitting at a table with my family trying to make the puzzle come together one piece at a time.

Mark Ballard

Summer meant running free and shelling peas

Growing up “flat dab” in the middle of Georgia, summer sizzled under a blazing hot sun that parched the grass and the parts of our skin that weren’t properly covered. The break from school seemed to last much longer than the summers of today. It felt so long that many times I wondered if I would even recognize fellow classmates when I returned to school in the fall.

Mark Ballard

Memories of cow-licks and towheads

I never gave much thought to my hair when I was a small boy. The only documentations of my locks are from perfectly staged Olan Mills studio shots or blurry black and white photos taken by Mother or other family members.

Mark Ballard

I continue to be a son proud of my father

My daddy was a good man — inside and out. He radiated strength and values. He was a peacemaker who avoided conflict whenever possible. I was blessed beyond measure to have him as a father. Everyone whose path crossed with Daddy’s was blessed as well. He lived a life anyone could be proud of.

Mark Ballard

Creative talents a result of a lifetime of learning

I love the process of learning new things. I’ve always yearned to expand my horizons in any way possible. During my lifetime, I have taken many courses in subjects that sparked my interest. Sometimes I exceled at what was taught and other times, well, not so much. There is no doubt that we always learn the most when we are interested in the subject matter.

Mark Ballard

The color of the sea

One doesn’t have to look very far to see a masterpiece whether you are at the beach or not. However, the beach does have a wonderful way of enticing your eyes to take notice.

Mark Ballard

A day at the lake

We never took many vacations as I was growing up. Lack of enough money was the reason. As a child, I always thought Daddy preferred to work his vacation time instead of using it. But as I grew up I realized that he was unselfishly trying to make extra money for us. We never really missed going on elaborate out-of-town trips because we didn’t know what we were missing.

Videos

Brother of Macon man slain in 2011 Fort Hill shooting describes learning of his brother's death

Darien Culver testified Tuesday in the murder trial for Deonte Kitchens, a Macon man charged with killing Culver's brother, Al Culver, Oct. 29, 2011. Culver said his brother left behind a young daughter. Video by Amy Leigh Womack
awomack@macon.com
Brother of Macon man slain in 2011 Fort Hill shooting describes learning of his brother's death 1:04

Brother of Macon man slain in 2011 Fort Hill shooting describes learning of his brother's death

Sideline Superstar: Aaliyah Redding brings cheers to games in a wheelchair 2:29

Sideline Superstar: Aaliyah Redding brings cheers to games in a wheelchair

Cop Shop Podcast: The Butterfinger bandit, the lost Nissan and a suspect known as 'Crazy' 3:26

Cop Shop Podcast: The Butterfinger bandit, the lost Nissan and a suspect known as 'Crazy'

Bears feeling good after bye week 1:48

Bears feeling good after bye week