Good news for all of us. I have the distinct honor and privilege to attend (once a week) a club meeting wherein men and women from all walks of life (homemaker, entrepreneurs, professionals, professors and students) learn the fundamentals of leadership and public speaking. We are all ages as well (from 18 to 90).
From an obvious novice to a polished speaker, our friends and neighbors learn the lessons of leadership and public speaking in a warm educational and friendly learning environment. We learn to speak in front of groups small and large, how to never leave the lectern until it’s surrendered to another and to quit saying “um,” “you know” and other mental pauses that can drive a listener crazy.
For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about, it’s our local Toastmasters (Middle Georgia State) Club. Whether you speak professionally or for fun, come join us.
-- Bob Berlin
‘Thin Red Line’
This is an open letter to the men and women of The Macon-Bibb County Fire Department. As a retired member of that department, let me tell each of you how proud I am of you. Not just for the compassion shown to Randy Parker’s immediate family but also to his “Thin Red Line” brothers and sisters. I saw countless embraces of grieving brothers at the hospital the day following the tragedy. I saw older firefighters reach out to the younger guys with the same love that you have for a son. I saw an outpouring of love from across the country from other departments. Someone from outside the fire service doesn’t quite understand, but we do. We have a bond that no matter our background, our rank, or whether we are career or volunteer, we are brothers.
A special thank you to the honor guard. The image of Randy’s helmet being carried will be etched in my mind forever. To the ones on the 49 Mack, I know it was hard, but you did well. Lastly to the entire department, I pray for healing. From the youngest member to the office workers, the command staff and my brothers of the “Thin Red Line,” know that you are all loved.
-- David Bronson
After hearing the president compare “The Crusades” to what is going on today in the world, there are some facts he left out on purpose or just doesn’t know or care:
The first Crusade began in 1095, which was:
460 years after the first Christian city was overrun by Muslim armies;
457 years after Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies;
453 years after Egypt was taken by Muslim armies;
443 years after Muslims first plundered Italy;
427 years after Muslim armies first laid siege to the Christian capital of Constantinople;
380 years after Spain was conquered by Muslim armies;
363 years after France was first attacked by Muslim armies;
249 years after the capital of the Christian world, Rome itself, was sacked by a Muslim army.
All this was only after centuries of church burnings, killings, enslavement and forced conversion of Christians. By the time the Crusades finally began, Muslim armies had conquered two thirds of the Christian world. This doesn’t sound like Islam being a religion of peace.
-- Tommy Grantham
Larry Walker’s Feb. 8 column in The Telegraph (Creeks were better than go-carts and ponies) was so refreshing. It brings back memories of my boyhood experiences 70 years ago while growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. I didn’t have a pony either, but we did have a horse named Fanny.
Fanny was not necessarily for joy riding, but primarily for pulling a plow in our cornfields and garden. I too enjoyed playing in creeks that had plenty of crawdads, small fish, frogs and non-poisonous snakes. Just below our log home on Cold Stone Hollow Fork, several of us boys had a dammed-up swimming hole with a rope hanging from a tall butternut tree. There were always boys my age hanging out at the swimming hole.
I had four uncles living within a few miles of us, and like my family of 10, they too had large families, and I had lots of first cousins plus friends from other families who lived in the area. Cold Stone Fork ran into Grapevine Creek, which ran into Beech Creek, and Beech Creek, which was perhaps 15 miles or so long, emptied into Tug Fork River, which was 70 miles from my home. Probably, a dozen or more small creeks emptied into Beech Creek. People lived on all these creeks. Some other interesting creeks in that part of the state are Pigeon Creek, Pond Creek, Camp Creek, Dry Creek, Ben Creek, Mate Creek and Peter Creek. Tug Fork River meandered along the N&W Railroad, separating West Virginia and Kentucky in the part of West Virginia where I grew up. These creeks and the entire area are where a large part of the Hatfield and McCoy feud took place.
Toys I had when growing up were home-made: slingshot, bow and arrows, sleighs and toy pistols and rifles whittled out of wood. The vegetables and fruit, other than a few staples, were grown in our garden. Most of our meat was wild from the mountains.
World War II ended when I was 14, and in spite of that terrible war, life then for a 14-year-old boy was simple and full of fun. Now fun for me and my greatest joy is living and serving my Lord and being surrounded by my precious family.
And Larry, you should have tried the crawdad tails. As I recall, they were fair to middlin’ eatin’.
-- Al Cisco
Law of the land
I believe marriage is between one man and one women. A marriage can be legalized by either a religious or civil ceremony. States have the authority to formalize requirements such as blood tests, waiting period, who can perform the ceremony and the age of consent.
The Supreme Court’s prime responsibility is to ensure that state constitutions and laws are in compliance with the federal Constitution. In recent years the Supreme Court has overturned state laws that either discriminate against an individual or do not provide equal rights and protection to all. Some examples are separate-but-equal education, anti-interracial marriage laws, separate facilities for different races, and unequal facilities and funding for female athletes. Most citizens agree with the court’s decisions even though these specific issues are not addressed in the federal Constitution.
I disagree with John Haugabrook: Courts do not make laws. If a state enacts a law that does not provide equal protection for all, the courts have no option but to overturn the law.
If several states enact a law pertaining to marriage and the laws are overturned repeatedly by appeal courts, the Supreme Court has the authority and responsibility to rule on the constitutionality of the laws and to ensure that all of the states are in compliance with the federal Constitution. I may not agree with the court’s finding, but I must comply with it because it is the law of the land.
I am waiting for the cases pertaining to disputes between a gay and his transgender partner, and a lesbian and her bisexual partner.
-- Jim Costello