Friday, July 1, 2011

Slowing down a bit

2011 is half over. How in the world could that have happened?

How could we have a spring break trip, graduations, a family reunion and a wedding behind us? I was there, and I remember them all, but oh my -- how, how, how did it all go so fast? !


We have slowed down a bit and that is a good thing. We still grin when we think back on the wonderful wedding celebration. When people ask me about it, there are three words that seem to be used repeatedly: Joyous. Glorious. Blessed.


Daughter has some college friends coming for the July 4 weekend. She and Wife have been busy cooking today. Other than having a lot of food on hand, Wife and I plan to keep a low profile. We have another wedding tomorrow night, a "down" day planned for Sunday (hope to maybe see a movie), then we're meeting Older Son and DIL at the Y early Monday morning for the annual July 4 Firecracker 5K. We plan to meet up with friends late in the afternoon and will go watch fireworks at the local park.

Older Son came by this afternoon and it was the first time I had seen him since the wedding. I am just about finished with the table I am refinishing for them and he took a look at it and pronounced it "awesome." It's far from perfect, as I stated in a previous post, but it will serve them well.

He said he and DIL would like to take Wife and me to lunch on Monday if we're available, to thank us for everything we did for the wedding. I told him I thought we could make ourselves available for that.


I mentioned a family reunion. When my dad died in 2006, he was the last of five siblings to pass away. A couple of months after he died I took it upon myself to contact all my cousins from his side (ten in all) and give them a little family history. The result was a family reunion we ended up having in Memphis (nine of the ten cousins, plus some spouses and sons/daughters) in June 2007. During part of the weekend we went over to East Arkansas where our parents had mostly grown up, visited a family cemetery and met up with some other more distant cousins.

It was a great time. Sadly, some of us had never even met. My dad's family, like all families, had its quirks which I won't go into, but getting together with my dad's siblings and their families was never much of a priority as I was growing up.

Anyway, we had a great time in 2007 and it served as a sort of catalyst for these cousins connecting with each other.

Late last summer, one of the cousins who lives in Savannah, GA decided it would be good to get us together again and invited us all to come there. He did an informal poll and arrived at the weekend of June 11, 2011. Now at the time I strongly suspected Older Son would be getting married this summer but he was not talking.

Long story short, not longer after my agreeing to the June 11 family reunion, Older Son announced his engagement and chose June 18, exactly one week later.

Wife quickly announced that she would not be attending the reunion with me. I vascillated back and forth and thought of backing out, but finally decided that I should be supportive of my cousin. Besides, there was really nothing going on that weekend that I would miss.

I flew to Savannah on Friday the 10th, and was back home at 10:30 Sunday morning. Only six of the cousins made it this time but we had a great time and my cousin in Savannah was extremely hospitable. He and his wife hosted an incredible dinner at their home Friday night (fresh shrimp and crab just out of the ocean). Saturday afternoon he took us out on his boat on the Intercoastal Waterway all the way to where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean. It was another great time to be with my extended family. I told Wife when I got home that she and I definitely needed to return as Savannah is an extremely interesting city and I got just a glimpse.


OK I know this is getting long but I have some other news to share.

In addition to writing this blog, I am now a columnist!

A very nice lady here got let go from her job at the big city newspaper about three years ago. In one of those "necessity is the mother of invention" type of things, she and a partner started an online newspaper, exclusively for the suburb where we live. The lady I mentioned is the editor and her partner handles marketing.

It took off like crazy and they now have a strong readership and a growing base of advertisers. They will soon celebrate two years in business. They are competing well with her former employer's suburban presence here and are slowly expanding. It's a great little "paper" and I think she's really hit on something.

Anyway, I have written a few guest pieces and a few months ago she contacted me and asked if I would like to write a weekly column. It took us a while to get together and decide what this would look like, but on the first Monday in June, "What I Know" made its debut in the Brentwood Home Page ( The name comes from a college professor who looked at me one time, put his fist on his heart and said, "Write from here! Write what you know!"

You can click on the above link and look to the left and you'll see my piece on Mondays and it usually stays on the "front" page three or four days. You can also click on a toolbar that runs across the page and my name, and see my previous columns.

I have a new column each Monday and the theme is much like this blog, kind of family-ish, touchy-feely, with an occasional opinion. I am having a ball and consider it a gift from God. A very long time ago I realized how much I love to write and how I love the written word. I am just wired that way. I majored in journalism in college and was an editor on my college newspaper. I chose another career path but have never lost the passion. To get to do this at this point in my life is, as I said, nothing short of a gift.

I realize I am joining my good blogger friend Debby who also writes a column. I'm in great company.


A happy holiday weekend to all. I hope you get some rest if you need it and/or get to spend some time with family if you would like to do that.


Kelly said...

Well that's exciting news! I'll check it out as soon as I leave this comment.

How nice that you were still able to attend your family reunion. Speaking of reunions...have you sent in any money? I have not. Don't think I will, either.

Pam said...

How fun, Bob! I'm about to check out the link!!!!

Kelly said...

I had a chance to look at your columns from the newspaper and I may just have to become a regular reader! You truly have a way with words.

Bob said...

Kelly and Pam: thanks for the kind words.

Kelly: Have not sent $$ but think I am going to go Sat. night. Hope you will consider doing likewise?

Mary Paddock said...

I have added it to my news list. Loved "Note to Fund Raisers".

Hal Johnson said...

Wow, Bob, that is great news! You deserve greater readership, to be sure. Have a ball.

Debby said...

Congratulations newspaperman!

It interests me how good my little column has been to me. After four years, people look at me and say, "Hey, don't you..." and I say, "Yes," and I have had the most wonderful conversations with people. Mostly, I think, they all immediately feel comfortable with me, as if they know already, so we jump into conversations as if we are already friends. I love that!

Bob Barbanes: said...

I love this! You're a great writer, Bob. I look forward to reading your e-paper columns as well as the blog.


Pencil Writer said...

Congratulations on everything. I'm so glad for you to be writing for an "e" paper. I concur with everyone else: you are a great writer and it's obvious that you write from your heart. (Being brilliant--in more ways than one--doesn't hurt either.)

I'm looking forward to checking out your new weekly column!

Have fun with that.

Thanks for being who you are.