Mamas, Daddies, and News

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The Ashland City Times comes out every Wednesday in my hometown just as it did when I was growing up. So does the Jackson County Sentinel where we live now.

Ray and I were amused when we read the Sentinel on Wednesday. The Sentinel itself had an ad for the Sentinel itself. It read: “Be a Know-It-All. Subscribe to the Sentinel.” Well . . . not exactly. The Sentinel won’t help you “know it all.” It won’t tell you who is running for President or how national candidates stand on the issues. It won’t tell you about anything happening in Europe, Asia, or Africa.

What it will tell you is who just turned three years old, what family just held a reunion at the Fairview Community Center, and when the next fish fry is scheduled in Dodson’s Branch. And I, for one, think that is just fine. We have other ways to find out about candidates and world news. Where else will we find out about birthdays, family reunions, and the next fish fry?

When I was a girl, it was something of a big deal to have your name mentioned in the paper. It happened for me only occasionally, such as when I modeled a dress for the 4-H dress review or something like that. The Times had a regular column that told news about average folks with entries about things like who had gone to Florida on vacation. I guess we didn’t worry about their house being broken into when the news got out. Everyone probably knew already and my family never locked our doors except when we went on vacation anyway — and that was with something called a skeleton key.

You can imagine my surprise, though, one summer while I was in college when The Times reported; “Miss Charlene Boyd is home for the remainder of the summer . . . .” I guess maybe the editor had needed some green beans or something and stopped by my granddaddy’s grocery store.

Clipping 2
I wondered, “What will I use to illustrate this post?” Then, lo, and behold, there was the clipping in my high school and college scrapbook, along with my unsuccessful speech trying to get elected as secretary of the student council — typed on index cards, no less! It began: “To me, Cheatham County High is the best high school in America.” Good grief! Sappy, sappy, sappy.

We didn’t have Facebook back then or Twitter or Instagram. Didn’t need ’em — we had The Times. And finding out news like that just once a week was just fine. Having your name in the paper — that was a good thing.

Recently I saw someone’s name in the paper and my heart broke. The son of someone known about town got into trouble — really big trouble. There his picture was on the front page of the Sentinel. I felt sorry for everyone mentioned in the story, but my heart broke for two people who weren’t mentioned — his daddy and his mama.

Later Ray and I were chatting with a friend who knows this family very well. He told us that the mama had recently been taken by ambulance to the hospital. He said it had something to do with her heart. I wasn’t a bit surprised. Poor dear soul.

A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

I got to thinking the other day: I hope my mama and daddy have never been ashamed of me. The Bible teaches strongly that children are to honor their fathers and mothers. I believe to the soles of my feet that that command is for always — as long as we have breath, as long as our parents have breath and beyond. I’m convinced that the best way to teach our children to do that is by doing it ourselves. Today would be a good day to honor your mama and daddy. Maybe you can honor them in person. Maybe you can honor their memory. This world needs lots more people making their fathers and mothers glad.


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