I wasn’t a good drinker.   Not that I didn’t drink a lot, I just didn’t handle it well.    Some do, some don’t.
So I quit years ago.
As a non-drinker you have some advantages, some disadvantages.   One of the things I’ve observed is a shift in the beverages consumed.   And the consumers.
When I left the “participant” category, hard booze and cocktails were in large part consumed by males.   Boone’s Farm and Lake Country Red were about all I knew about wine.
Maybe Allison Krauss was right: “… you’re drinking whiskey when it should be wine.’
This seems to have happened. And probably for the greater good.   More men drink wine today
Are more women drinking too much now?   “After the third glass the wine drinks man (woman too?).”
Maybe its because I’m some what of a tightwad, but it bugs me to split a restaurant bill with three 60$ bottles of wine on the tab.   Once, after the main meal, I ordered four different desserts.   “Trying to even things up”, I threatened. Vetoed again by my Bride.
Many say legalizing pot would be a bad decision : A” gateway” drug that would lead to bigger problems?   Have you seen the movie HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS?
     No one seems to be getting anywhere toward solving the number of young people jailed on pot charges.   Would legal pot take the money out of the criminals hands?   Maybe save some salvageable young people. Isn’t it worth a try given current failures?   Bet our North Carolina farmers would love it.   Plus “sin tax” revenue.
Some of us have trouble with “moderation”,   I’m still fighting ice dream and BBQ.   Is that a “word to the wise”, Moderation?

Allison again: “He put the bottle to his head and pulled the trigger” (WHISKEY LULLABY).


On retirement:
 Don’t say you are retired, say you’re unemployed. The volunteer
chasers won’t bother you.
 “Everynight is Saturday night,and Saturday night is NewYear’s Eve.”
 The “Big” paper comes on Sunday.
 I’m down to two keys – Home, Car.
 “I don’t do nothing and I don’t start ‘til noon.” Bum Phillips
When people ask you about retirement wanting to know (1) what do you do with your time? And (2) do you have enough money? They are really wondering about themselves.



I know the North Carolina people and politicians I was proud of were considered either liberal or Progressive (Bill Friday, Terry Sanford, Jim Hunt, and then like). But I also revered Sam Ervin. Jesse Helms was one I felt represented the mean-spirited segment of our state’s people who were frightening and all too real. And often race was the issue.
I know that the” other side” feels just as strongly that I am wrong. Perhaps only the Civil War represented a more divisive time in America.
It appears that the 2000–2008 (Bush 2 administrative years) caused us to “choose sides”. And it seems that feelings were so deep that once committed to their view, very few were willing to listen, much less alter their stance. Winning the argument seems more important than learning the truth of the matter.
•“…you are right from your side and I’m right from mine”. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS — Dylan.
Where do your strong beliefs come from? Nature or nurture? Choice or chance? Having grown up as the son of a Southern Baptist minister much of my early influences came from my parents and the church and it’s Community. I was in the church for various sermons and programs three or four days a week. For a youngster there were some pretty heavy questions. Heaven and hell? Right and wrong? Bible verses, teachers, religion from all angles.


March 9, 2016
My father’s mother was living when I was born, but died shortly thereafter.  There is  only one picture  I have ever seen of her.
As a matter of fact I never have even thought of her much until this fall. I turned 75, but more importantly two grandsons arrived, somewhat surprisingly so, to accompany the first grandson.
My one sibling does remember the older Margaret Parham: As a youngster I asked her what she knew of this woman. She revealed that this mother-in-law had earlier lived in my parent’s home. Much to the consternation of my Mom, who simply summarized her feelings by saying: “We didn’t get along too well. She didn’t think anybody was good enough for E.T.” (My Dad).
Golfer 1: Hmm. A son-in-law chip
Golfer 2: What does that mean?
Golfer 1: Not bad, but not what I’d hoped for.
My Dad never said much about his family. “Pretty rough times.” I reacted like anyone denied information and persisted to the point of finding out more of the story.
North Carolina “Parhams”come almost exclusively from the Oxford/ Henderson area. Dad said due to the depression his father moved
them to the mountains of North Carolina, around Hendersonville, NC (Ironically). I have never known the original bunch.
Pressed by me, and in small doses, my father parceled it out to me. There were four girls and E.T.,the only son and the youngest child. The depression bore down and the farming didn’t do much. My grandfather, ostensibly, left the family to try to find work. He never returned. One sister survived. My father never quite said it as such, but implied the other three sisters more of less starved to death.
I am glad I had these conversations, painful as they were. And I think it also helped my father to unload some darkness. Two memories he
had stand out in my mind. With no small amount of pride he said “…I
was behind our mule, ploughing, at age 9.” He never went without
a garden that I can remember. He was never happier than in the garden. He never bought a “machine” to “turn the earth”, rather found someone with a mule who would lend it to him to prepare. Later he found an older Black gentleman with a mule who helped him in his late 80s. They smiled a lot.
His recollection of this, brought tears from both of us: “…you know, I somehow always valued education. I would not miss school
if possible. After the girls died there was nothing. So,as I grew, or wore out my shoes, Mother would go to the closet and hand me the next sister’s vacant pair. The other kids made fun of me, but I went to school.”
My Dad and our name survived. As I now reflect on the fact that there are now six living “Parham Boys”, I can’t help wondering if we don’t owe my Dad’s mom some thanks.
Having piece-mealed an education together, E.T. Parham and his mother traveled though out North Carolina to 14 different one room schools in 18 years. Dad laughed at the fact that, “… I was a school principal at age 18. They survived. So have I, Tee, Dan, Andre, James, and Lennox.
My guess is that old lady WAS “tough”. And thank God she was. Belated, but sincere thanks, from us all. And thanks for a deep belief in education.
I never knew either Grandfather. Not much of a mental picture there. I am gonna try extra now, to see what happens with the Parham boys.
This is my fourth amateurish attempt at writing something I hope will survive, and that one day the little ones will have some “pictures” they can find helpful.


I certainly do not fail to realize the value of a sound economy. What has amazed me are the people who are money-oriented and their attitude toward Obama. During a recent golf outing a businessman complained constantly about the President. Finally I asked him how his business had done recently. NEVER BETTER, he said. ??? Later I asked about how many people his company employed (2012). His reply? Two hundred. How many four years ago, was my next question. Forty was the answer. And this guy is pissed? Another local business man constantly complains, yet it is easy to see his business is booming. Up to among his best years, he admitted. I asked “… can’t you remember when, in 2007, we were having lunch and (unnamed) came up to us with tears in his eyes, and sheer panic in his voice, crying that it looked like his heretofore highly successful business was about to go under? That was tough for me to watch, and this friend was in the same basic business. Coaches live and die with their win/loss record. George W. Bush was 0-10 for eight years in a row on the economy. Don’t kid yourself. The multi-trillion dollar runaway galloping deficit has its
origins in 2000-2008. Don’t forget it. Things still tough? Sure, but remember Pogo (“…it happened during my administration”),
I would have fired Bill Clinton. His total disregard for the dignity of the presidency was grounds for divorce from any number of institutions. And yet it begs the question: Oral sex or the Iraq war and a bankrupted country?
You people who expected your deficit to go away easily, think about this: What if a family with total income of $50,000 per year could, and did borrow 50 million dollars. How soon, given their income, could they pay this debt back? The deficit is hell on wheels.

The Digital Divide

I lost my cell phone.   No big deal.   It was so complicated, I never really used it much.   However, my wife-type, Margaret, demanded I get a replacement because of old age possibilities.

Okay, but I want a “simple” phone.   Just calls…outgoing calls, incoming calls, taking messages maybe.   And bigger numbers, to accommodate both my vision and the size of my fingers.

Asking around, I was told several renditions of, “Well, they just don’t make a simple one anymore.”   Why not?
“You bend to them, they don’t even think about you.”
Again, why?

Being a Luddite is not a rarity among us elderly.   There are lots of us.   Is our money no good?   What happened to supply and demand?   Moreover, are these guys really that smart if they alienate a large and lucrative market?

So…We call about a new phone, Margaret did the talking  . She has an “I’m an old lady on a limited income” approach that is nothing but impressive.   The word “simple” is repeated often in the conversation in describing our needs from this phone.

The “simple” phone arrives.  The instruction booklet is 166 pages long.

We attacked Step #1, Step #1 mind you of 166 pages…We attempt, and attempt, and attempt, to unlock the phone and put the battery in.

We tried for 45 minutes.   Enter NASA and a Rocket Engineer.

With the closing of NASA, several of their engineers have taken employment in our surrounding military bases.   One such family has recently moved in next door to us.   Aha!
The engineer, his wife and their two teenagers willingly agreed to help their elderly neighbors.

The six of us proceeded to spend 25 minutes trying to unravel Step #1…

My money had been on the two teenagers but it was neither the kids or the rocket scientist who ultimately solved Step #1.   The wife noted that while the picture demonstrated Step #1 (again just opening the cover) with the cover open, it was actually only possible with it closed…

The scientist went home without suggesting we move on to Step #2.   The phone remains on my desk.

“Call your next case.”

looking for lizards

With only one grandchild I don’t get as much time to comment, as some other grandparents.    Andre Parham lives in Boulder, Colorado.  His Father, Tee  Parham, hooked us up with SKYPE ( now FACETIME).   Andre thought we “”…lived in the box.”    They visit our beach home in  the summer mostly.   At age 5  Andre and I “skyped”  about his interest in golf.  Lots of golf plans for his summer visit.  I  cut down an old putter to meticulously fit a five year old beginner.  Golf pro, Harvey Penick,  advised starting young golfers “…from the cup back.”   As  I waited at the putting green for Andre,  I placed about a dozen balls in a circle, up close to the cup ( so he could “…experience immediate success”).   After helping him line up,  I watched him putt the first ball.  IN!    However he then spied an  inch worm near the next ball.  He put down the putter and watched “inchy” do his thing.    He asked if we could take the worm back with us?   Sure.  I picked up the “shag” balls and his putter, so we could “…take him back to the ocean with us.”

Dr. Jo Watts Williams, “MATRIARCH EMERITUS”,  Elon  University,  said kids today  (as always)  need time to “…look for lizards.”

Coach Ron Smarr and wife, Becky invited us to play golf in Georgetown, S.C.   The old municipal course (  Wedgefield Plantation ) is a treasure.   The endearing feature that attracted me was the tons of beautiful old LIVE OAKS trees.   My wife caught me staring at the trees,  trance-like:  “… what are you thinking?” she puzzled.  ” Tuddy ( Sterling, now) Webster and I  would have climbed everyone of these trees daily”.

I  don’t see kids climbing trees today.  Maybe TARZAN movies encouraged us to climb and yell.  Famous  Physcial Educator,  Jesse Feiring Williams,  said climbing was one of mankind’s natural activities.

Tuddy and I roamed the banks of  the recently befouled Dan River.  I never pass an empty grassy lot that I don’t speculate that it would be a good field for our pick-up football games.

Tuddy and I  aren’t climbing many trees now days.  He is struggling with health issues.   But we fell out of enough trees to toughen up.


” I loved you then,  and ever shall.  But there’s no one left to tell.  The world has gone black before my eyes.”


PS.  Otis Ritter was the best tree climber I EVER  witnessed.  By far.






Being a sports fan and a life-long North Carolinian, my induction into the N.C. Sports Hall of  Fame was a true “life-time high-light”.   My picture is next to Micahel Jordan.  I keep waiting for someone to ask me “…who is that guy next to you in the Hall of Fame?   Anyway it is cut, I am proud to be among these familiar legends,  some I happen to know.  One support that aided my selection was revealed later to me.   Senator Sandy Sands and his wife, Jenny, became FRIENDS  as “tennis parents”.  Our son, Dan Parham, and Andy Sands, were in the same age group.  And among the best players.  They played often.   Senator  Sands, as a member of the NC Sports Hall of Fame selection committee, told that group this, about  of one of their matches.   Andy twisted his ankle pretty badly.  I had taped a zillion ankles, so we took some time out while I taped my son’s opponent.  I asked Dan recently if he remembered the match, or who won,  as I, frankly, had forgotten it.   Dan, too, had forgotten.  Thanks, Senator.  Those were fun days with your family.

Here are some of the legends  I grew up admiring:  “Choo Choo” Justice,  Dickie Hemric,  “Bones” McKinney, “Peahead” Walker, Jim Beatty, Dave Sime, “Meadowlark” Lemon, Arnold Palmer, Richard Petty,  Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Leon Brogden, David T. and MJ.  Sam Jones,  Jerry Richardson,  and other greats.

And some  I was fortunate to know:   Alan White, Jerry Steele, Dave Odom, Jack Jensen,  Dean  Smith, Charlie Adams, Mary Garber, Jack McKeon,  Jim Mills,  “Big House” Gaines, Walt Rabb, Dr. Leroy Walker, Lou Pucillo,  Terry Holland, Herb Appenzeller, Woody Durham, Danny Talbot… .  Some Wilson, N.C.  BROTHERS:   This year—the Godfather–Lee Gliarmis, and Carlester Crumpler, Bill Brooks, Tom and Bill Davis, Coach Harvey Reid.

Marshall Happer is to be inducted in May.  Great Choice.  Allen Morris, “BO” Roddey, Whit Cobb, and North Carolina’s TENNIS  MATRIARCH,  Mildred Southern, represent N.C. tennis’ great history.

Not everybody, but a gym full of the best.

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in Raleigh, N.C. museum of sports treasure.  Visit it.  AND SUPPORT IT.


James Michener was a paperboy. He related this approximate event. One older woman never tipped him. Occasionally she would tell him that a nice gift would come at Christmas. As a poor preteen his imagination ran wild. With great anticipation he delivered the Dec.25 copy. She met him at the door and handed him an envelope and closed the door. As soon as he was out of sight he opened the package. Would it be money? Nope. Four sheets of mimeograph paper. What?
Michener  goes on to portray his awakening as to the true worth of being able to copy that many handwritten items that would lead to his writing development.
Ah, Technology in my day. It does change fast. And being left behind is troublesome.
Michener again: In discussing the early boat building days the observation was made that boat builders had their own nomenclature. A language, Michener reveals to be not complicated for insiders, but designed to protect the boat builders and their industry. Hmm. Sound familiar?
Paul Newman defined the POONA LAGOONA bird as a fowl that “…flew rapidly in ever diminishing circles until it flew up it’s own rear end.”
At 75 years old, and a luddite, I fight daily to decipher the modern day “boat builders” language. They are not very helpful. They certainly don’t want to talk to you.
“Customer Service” is an oxymoron.
If wisdom comes with age, I’m about to peak. I have attempted recently to share my gathered expertise for purely altruistic reasons. Daily I suffer having doors shut in my face by technology: Try for a week to find one simple button they seemingly have hidden. My tasks could have been cut by 3/4 using Michener’s mimeograph paper.
I wonder about a couple of things. How many older people with something to offer, have silently said “chunk it” to technology? And also to the “…first ones now who will later be last”, if you only have cheaper, easier, faster on the horizon? For your own survival.