We went to London, Ontario for Margaret’s thirty-year reunion of her nursing class. I met a lot of these lifetime caregivers. You could look at their hands, eyes, and listen to them and wonder how many people these good girls had helped.
The spouses didn’t know each other.
At the motel most met for the first time. We shared the motel mostly with a traveling German band. Lots of tubas. “Oompah” practicing everywhere. In those “Sound of Music” shorts no less.
At the golf sign-in we were treated to a great breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, sau- sage, etc.
A big California spouse had only dry cereal and black coffee. “All you guys riding”, he asked. “Yep” we said. “I’m walking” off he goes.
After the golf we all had hot dogs, loaded and several of them. Beer too! Big Boy had a diet coke.
At the evening meal we had ribs. The game plan had changed. He had a cafeteria tray full of ribs. Grease everywhere, washed down with Vodka Collins. Pig and “Tater wine.” Familiar diet down South. He never slowed down. By 1 am I was afraid he might explode. I could tell he’d peed on himself and one of Margaret’s classmates convinced her husband and me to get him to his room.
Barely able to stand, babbling on incomprehensively, we loaded him on the elevator. His room was on the first floor. Half way down he let go with a gigantic fart, maybe worse. As the elevator doors opened were walked off. Two Germans with their tubas, walked in behind as the doors began to close. Their comment was “omien gaten.”

1.THONGS ( )

Early beach fashion seems to suggest thongs are to be more prevalent this season. Even with the virus rules and cool March weather a lot have been “popping out”.
However something has to be done. We go to the shore quite often. My grandson and I like to throw stale bread to the seagulls. With none is sight, a throng of fowls will somehow gather instantly.
Today the weather is really nice. A group of young girls descended locally.
Much like the seagulls, a group young men appeared almost instantly. There was blatant violation of the social distance regulations.
Plus they blocked the view.


Nolan Respess and his assistant, “Dee Dock”, coached in tiny Pantego, NC, early in their careers. The schools sports program was basketball and baseball. That’s it. Except for the principal’s news, fueled by school consolidation.
“Gentlemen we’re adding football. Not only that, you two are the coaches.”
Nolan said neither he or “Dee Dock” knew much football, but there they were on opening Friday night.
First play!
On the kickoff one of their new kids got “cold cocked!” Unconscious right at their feet. The kid finally “blind staggered” to his feet, barely awake. Coach Respess’ first substitute was instructed to “Take his place.” The kid ran over to where the other kid had been stretched out and laid down.
Hmm, we’ve got some coaching to do. Later when he tried to find the same kid, another teammate said, “Coach, he is over there, pointing to the concession stand. The “sub” was calmly eating a hot dog through his facemask.
Coach Respess: “Son, did they give you a hot dog?” “No, Coach, I bought it.”
“You had money in your uniform?”
“I hid it in my shoes, I knew I’d get hungry.”

10.Quotes, Comments, Observations

Quotes, Comments, Observations
W.C Fields, an avowed atheist, was asked why, on his deathbed, he was reading the Bible. “I’m looking for loopholes.”
“The size of your funeral is often dictated by the weather.” “He’s a lost ball in high weeds.”
To Satchel Page: “Why do you call it your ‘B’ ball?” Satchel: “Because it always be where I want it to be.”
“It’s better to have love and lust, then to let your apparatus rust.” Kurl Vonnegut E.L. Doctorow called it “…hierarchal warrior nonsense” in The March.
“Looked like a goat rodeo.”
Husband: “Would you have believed, in your wildest dreams, we’d be here?” Wife: “You weren’t in my wildest dreams.”
Advice from the track coach: “Stay left and get back as quick as you can.” “The key to being a good rain dancer is timing.” Willie Nelson
”Once the shit is out of the bull….” Willie again.
“Noah built the ark before the flood.” Spy Games, Robert Redford. Inquisitive child: “ Was Jesus Jewish?”
Baptist teacher: “Only on his mother’s side.”
“If I don’t see you in the future, I’ll see you in the pasture.” T. Bone Burnett
A fan shot a soccer referee twice, once for each goal.
“I don’t have a drinking problem. I prefer to call it a drinking opportunity.” Ed Perkins
“The higher up the ladder you climb, the brighter your ass shines.”
On Age:
“When the Dead Sea was just sick.”
“Since Christ was a corporal.” Richard Russo
On Procrastination:
“The wind is blowing but the trees ain’t moving.”
Coach Billy Tubb’s wife: “You love basketball more than me.” Billy: “I love you more than track!”
A trainer, on his girls team’s physical condition: “We’ve got tons of girls, just not many of them.
“Genital Equity will never work.” Tony Tilley
“Life’s a shit sandwich, and you have to take a bite everyday.” Unnamed coaching friend
A magazine article in Sports Illustrated, “’Big Daddy’ Libscomb said he’d screwed so many hotel maids, he had an erection every time he heard a vacuum cleaner.”
On Golf:
“If we hadn’t had four players they’d have thought we were the ‘Three Stooges’.”
Bipli: “Ball in pocket, lost interest.” Fido: “Frig it, drive on.”
Loft: “Lack of friggin’ talent.”
Dave Feherty, coming in late from golf: “Is my dinner still warm?” Wife: “Should be, it’s in the dog.”
Some “Hall of Fame” Moments:
One of our neighborhood children, Grant Miles, was left as he ran to get on the bus. It was his first day of school. Grant cut across the woods and “mooned” the bus as it rode by. He reported to the principal’s office before he went to school.
One of Margaret’s sister’s kids, Ben Osier, told the nun barking at school bus mates to “fuck off Old Lady.” The buzz oddly quiet just as Ben spoke.
A young man in my home town asked an older man about a problem. “My girl’s pregnant and I don’t have any insurance.”
Tell me the details the old man suggested.
Young man: “Well it happened two months ago in the back seat of my car.” Old man: “You got car insurance?”
Young man: “Well, yes.”
Old man: “Hell, you’re covered.”
True story. The young man took his hospital delivery bills to his car insurance
office. Both the old man and the Agency secretary are still laughing.
One of my players had an expensive pet cockatoo. It got loose. The bird catcher caught and delivered a cockatoo to the player’s home. $200.00 bill.
The player came home and reported it was the wrong bird.
The second time they got the right bird. $200.00 more.
While the family celebrated in the living room, a niece of age six asked to hold
the precious bird.
The child lost concentration and the bird got away. Straight up into the ceiling
fan, where a blade broke the bird’s neck. Pet cemetery?
George Bancroft attempted 192 hours at Atlantic Christian College, a record by far (124 hours are required for graduation). George began a painting business while still a student. About to complete the first coat of paint on his first job, George was approached by a man who’d come home from work. The man asked “What are you doing painting my house?” Double-check those addresses, Picasso.
One AC student opened his apartment door and found everything gone including his newly wed wife.
The girl in the next apartment volunteered, “She’s gone.” “Did you talk to her?” the groom asked.
“What did she say?”
“Well, she asked me, ‘How many times have you been to bed with my hus- band?’ I said just once, and she packed up.”
At age 66:
“..it is not he or she, or them or it that you belong to It’s all right, Ma (Bob Dylan)
I’ve likened life to a chocolate milk shake. We all wind up sucking on the straw at the end. Here are a few suggestions before it gets too late.
1. I “coached” all students to: Advance your family one-generation. You can’t buy your way out of bad kids. No matter how much money you have or make, sorry kids can dissipate it all.
2. Do good deeds with out anyone knowing.

Most women are inherently better than most men. Learn the names of important people’s spouses, particularly wives.
Dr. Leroy Walker spoke at Elon. Two pieces of his advice:
“God gave you two ends. Whether you are to be successful or not depends on which one you use.”
Live everyday like it is your last. One day you’ll be right.
When Dan (my son) and I began to disagree during tennis discus- sions, I stopped bringing up the topic. I wrote letters of advice, telling him he could take it or leave it. He read the letters. Once I realized this worked, I wrote on other subjects.See Parham Letter page 120) Recently I wrote my memories of them. I enjoyed writing those.
Two things I feel good about as a parent:
a. I read to them a lot. And they love to read.
b. I tossed them a thousand balls. Start with balloons. Then a little
more active ball. On and on. Some experts say real young kids can’t “track the ball” but they’re wrong. They can track a balloon early.
Tom Parham
P.S. You
pick them up. Tee always helped.
7. Join a library. Check out a lot of books. Have them around the house.
8. Once a month our family rotated one seat from their traditional din- ning room seat. During that meal you assumed the persona of the normal occupant. Lots of revealing moments.
9. If I have a grandchild who is gay, wouldn’t I want that child to have equal rights? Sure. Any other position is indefensible. Why are we arguing about this in these troubled times?
10. Keep a “book list” of what you’ve read. Ask others who read, “What’s good?”
pick up the balls. You’ll know when its time to require them to help you


When they presented me with the 1990 National “Coach of the Year” for NAIA Tennis, I tried to give it to Coach Fred Kniffen of the University of Texas at Tyler. Fred had a firm rule in 1990 that no one rode in the van without their seat belts. No exceptions. En route from Tyler to Kansas City one of two team vans ran off a 35-foot bank. All belted, there was one minor injury.


• HBO recently ran an excellent documentary on Sports in America. There were lots of celebrities, sports heroes, historical events and such. Jesse Owens and Hitler and the 1938 Olympics, that sort of thing. I watched it faithfully remembering the Yankees vs Dodgers and others “classics”. I was puzzled for a while during one interview. Who is this rather nondescript, older guy? I listened quizzically as he dryly unfolded the tale. Much like me, the man as a youngster was from an extremely religious family. Stern father, to the point that none of the four brothers even voiced complaint when multiple “dress up” weekly trips to church were required. Not only did the family know discipline, the minister admonished the entire congregation about the real possibility of hell’s fire for eternity. Later I appreciated the artistic touch of the film makers, who super- imposed Elmer Gantry like evangelists, screaming the Devil’s powers, with flames leaping all around.
There was common ground between Father and sons: BASEBALL. Not only that, they lived in the California home town of one Eddie Matthews, he of future Hall of Fame credentials. Eddie was currently joining teammate Hank Aaron in knocking shit out of baseballs for the then Milwaukee Braves.
It was 1957. And there was a new “player”: TELEVISION! Not only television, but baseball on the television. Imagine the joy the boys felt when Dad brought home a new set! Not only that, the Braves had made the World Series. Eddie Matthews in their living room.
Alas, all was not joy. As fate would have it and because of the West Coast Time Zone, the pivotal game was to be played on Sunday, during church time.
Gloom itself. Still there was nothing said on Sunday morning. All six piled in the car, not a peep the entire trip to the church. They knew better. And again, a thunderbolt would surely accompany some of the unspoken wishes had they been even meekly uttered.
Sunday school was hard to bear. GAME TIME WAS NOT FAR OFF. And then something very unusual happened. As the boys, gathered to enter their usual pews, the parents met them at the entrance. An odd kind of “ushering” today, as Mom and Dad nestled the startled brood toward the family car.
The only emotion the narrator had expressed occurred here. A slight smile as he claimed to be the first to realize: We are going home to watch Eddie Matthews in the World Series!
Even then there was dead silence. Would a train smash their family? A fire due to “faulty wiring” usurps local family”? A dichotomy of emotions? You bet. Even as a great game unfolded, random unspoken concerns radiated like static within the home.
But the drama of the game finally imposed itself over the fears. You couldn’t make it any better or tense than this. Bottom of the ninth, one on, Braves are down one. Hometown and home family hero, Eddie Matthews at bat.
At this point the stoic narrator seemingly became even blander. As he concluded the final touches to this childhood highlight he spoke two brief sentences;
“‘Eddie Matthews hit a home run.”
“We never went to Church again.”

12 Ivory League ( )

• One local grandparent was gaining rambunctious grandchildren at a rapid pace. He countered the consternation by buying a dog. The largest, laziest big basset hound he could find. Trained
the ally to locate between Grandpa’s recliner and the TV set. Named the dog SPEED BUMP. • On a lark a recent graduate with a meager 2.6 grade point average applied to the Harvard
MBA program. He, for some reason, was granted an interview. The committee member who chaired the interview opened the process by asking: Do you have any idea why we granted you this interview? NO, the obvious answer. “Well, frankly, the old professor explained, “…we’ve never heard of Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, North Carolina!” The applicant swore his
answer got him in. He countered, “…that’s all right, Sir. There are a lot of people at Pfeiffer that ain’t ever heard of Harvard.

UCLA–The University of Campbell between Lillington and Angier.
The Harvard of Harnett (county).

ACC- “Another chance at college, or LSU (Lee Street University).


•Malavai Washington was inducted in the college tennis hall of fame. Long time curator, Dan McGILL ramrodded the press introductions and explained each inductee would have his picture displayed. Then the
grand old patriarch of college tennis couldn’t help jokingly add, “…of
course, Malavai already has his picture in here.” Oh no, was all Malavai could say. Reason: When Malavai played Richard Krajicek in the Wimbledon singles final there was the formal introduction ceremony at the match’s beginning. Full house and all the proper British royalty.
A beautiful, quite blonde young woman “streaked” the group in only a sheer top. As she passed the ensemble, Malavai of course included, she lifted her top exposing her total front to the group, and her total rear to the photographer. Coach McGill couldn’t resist. He asked Malavai why, when all of the other group’s eyes focused on the streaker’s upper half, Malavai was clearly focused lower. “… I was trying to make sure she was a TRUE BLOND.”

14. “CRASH” LENDL ( )

• Tennis great, Ivan Lendl, quickly adopted golf as a retirement obsession. Lendl, the father of five daughters, passed that love to the girls. Except the youngest one. This one was tough, to the point of being identified as “Crash”. As a preteen youngster, Crash approached her father with the admonition that she did not want to play golf. Her sports minded father said that was fine, but she had to do something, and what would it be? Women’s hockey. No question.
Okay, said the Dad, there is a women’s college hockey game on tonight and we’ll stay up and
watch it. Hunkered in front of the TV, Father and young Crash, watched the game begin. Almost immediately a play near the boards caused Crash to pose this question of her Father and the game itself: “Why didn’t that girl body check her opponent when she had her right there at the board?”
Her father explained that in women’s college hockey there is no legal body checking. He was then surprised as this obviously disappointed youngster rose and walked out of the room withthe comment “…forget it then, I’ll just go ahead and play golf.” (From THE NEW YORKER). P.S. I believe the fact was included that while all the Lendl daughters were fine golfers, Crash
won the local club championship at 11 years old. Wonder where she got that.


I have a golf acquaintance that is almost 90 years old. Still plays from the regulation tees and shoots well below his age. He is 6’3″, weighs about 240lbs and looks like he could play tight end in college right now. I asked him what sports he played in high school? I didn’t PLAY anything. I had to work. Tobacco was the worst. (fault line 1).
At 76 (born 1940) my generation was allowed to play. I could be in school, church, working, or on the team. My guess is post WWII boys had fathers who were more willing and able to loosen strings on the family workforce.
The next sports fault line, I think, was that parent who clawed his way to the top through hard work and wanted to give their kids “opportunities I didn’t have!” Admirable but sometimes flawed thinking. Some of these went overboard, giving the kid unlimited time and money for play. Often the youngster began to believe school, work, discipline, were for others. These “pros to come” wound up wondering what happened when the inevitable (for most) work, was unavoidable. “There are two kinds of golf(or tennis) pros: The workers and the players, and all the players are looking for a job!”
One college president said, “…the worst thing for a golfer is to be able to shoot par!” Planning to play for a living is indeed a bad bet.
I don’t want to discourage youngsters from trying their best at sports. Handled right there are great hard work and life lessons in sports. What I am seeing too much of is a more frightening fault line.
A recent beach visit by his grandchildren had an “old coach” friend excited. “I may want you to help with these two on their tennis.” Ready to help, I waited to no avail. I asked Grandpa what happened? “I asked the two of them to go hit four days in a row. Each time they barely looked up from their video games, thumbs twitching, to mumble “Maybe tomorrow, Pop.”
Double fault.