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Despite the perception by folks in other parts of the country, most of us in Alabama can write and read. But actions by our friends and neighbors are starting to reflect badly on us.

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I first met Halie Forstner back when she drove to the beauty shop each week, grabbed a Wendy’s junior cheeseburger after church on Sunday, exercised each morning, lived alone, walked without any assistance, and cleaned her own house.

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I love the television show Law and Order. I find myself even watching it even when some of the earliest episodes are on.

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The seven day average for new COVID cases in Alabama is 815.

How I had hoped this was all behind us.

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If you have watched any television shows in recent years, you have probably noticed the lack of enviable characters. In some cases, they are not even likable.

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I mentioned last week that we were taking the boy to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday. I have to admit it was just as much an idea for my own enjoyment as his. I only got to go there once as a child that I can recall. I was more of a Mr. Gatti’s patron. They aren’t very different places. You go, you eat pizza, you play games.

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Each week the Associated Press publishes “Not Real News: A Look at What Didn’t Happen Last Week.” It is a collection of fake news, most of which has been shared online. The stories usually include quotes taken out of context, photoshopped images, and doctored audio.

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Last year, I found myself doing two things that were completely out of character: procrastinating and denying responsibility for my actions.

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Today the boy turns five-years-old. How five years have flown by so fast, I really do not know.

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I have declared this The Summer of Joy, even though I have no legal authority to do so. I am merely comparing this summer to the last one. We are smiling again. We are taking vacations, and we are going to church, ball games, and concerts. Optimism is in full bloom.

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My Channel 3 weather friend Paul Barys hears it everywhere he goes: in the grocery store, in the mall, on vacation, even when he goes to the mailbox. “Paul said it would be like this!”

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I have declared war on rude people. Some may consider it an unwinnable war, but so far, I am pleased with the results. My world is small, making it easy to control. 

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You wouldn’t believe how lovely my garden is this year. My zinnias are in full bloom. 

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

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My 110-year-old friend Halie Forstner was reminiscing about the two pandemics she has survived. (How many people do you know who can say that?)

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My mom recently found a Western Flyer bicycle at a thrift store. She wanted to use it as a yard decoration and put flowers in the basket, but upon seeing it I felt that I had to intervene. I love riding a bike, and it’s been a while since I have.

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Oh, how our lives have changed during the past thirty years. We’ve had great medical advances. Once-fatal diseases are being cured, and hope exists where once there was none.

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I was in line at an all-too familiar spot, a fast food place, and some customers began grumbling. “The service sure is slow around here,” one said at a volume level that carried beyond the counter. 

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Last week I borrowed my brother’s new truck. I needed some top soil and other things for my new raised garden beds that my dad built for me.

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 “It was like someone flipped a switch.” That was my son in Washington, DC, reporting on what he saw last weekend as he walked the streets. “One day, everyone was wearing a mask, with no eye contact or small talk, and the next day, it was like everything was back to normal.”

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The news came so unexpected Monday morning. And the rest of the day was filled with sadness.

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We went to the Catfish Festival on Saturday. As I pushed little sister’s stroller, with Mama and the Boy walking behind us, I looked around and laughed to myself. Maybe it wasn’t so much a laugh as it was a sigh. This time last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead there. All those people. There wouldn’t have been enough hand sanitizer or face masks in the world.

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Some people consider me to be a stubborn individual. And rightly so.

I consider myself to be an independent thinker who forms her own opinions and do not take kindly to being told what I should or should not believe.

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It is graduation season, and pre-COVID, I was occasionally asked to speak at a commencement program, but this year most of the organizers just want to get it over with. I don’t blame them.

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I looked out my window on Saturday and said hello to our male cardinal, Mr. Redbird as I call him. I mentioned to Michael that the birds kept us company through much of last year, and then the cats took over. I told him that I wondered what would be next. He said there was no telling.

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There are certain days you will never forget. Members of the “Greatest Generation” could tell you exactly where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor and the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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She got the news in June 2008 and took it like a champion. From that day forward, she battled and fought lung cancer as best as she could.

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Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we know someone simply because their name is a household word. The truth is we often do not have a clue about the person behind the title.

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I have a subscription to Southern Living Magazine, but I don’t get a chance to sit down and look through it often.

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On Friday morning, Ron Latimer stood before District Judge Don Word, placed his hand on the Bible that his wife, Lana, was holding, and swore to do his job.

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I would like to thank former President Trump, and those who worked under him, for their efforts in establishing Operation Warp Speed. They are to be commended for making safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines available in a remarkably short period of time.

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According to the latest numbers, 161 million Americans cast their ballot for President of the United States in the November 2020 election. It was reportedly the largest number of voters to participate in a presidential election in American history.

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Tomorrow we celebrate Earth Day. From a quick internet search I learned that Earth Day is observed on April 22 because it marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement.

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I remember an older lady from my youth. We’ll call her Mrs. Ballyhoo. She and her husband were fairly well off and didn’t seem to have a worry in the world.

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There are a few ponds at my old Limrock home. One’s never been much else but a big mud-hole. Oh, there are fish in it alright, but a mud-hole it will always look like. Daddy tried to put some pigs in it once. 

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He was Chattanooga’s hero of World War II. He was a symbol for all of the heroic sacrifices of the city’s service men and women. He was Tennessee’s bravest man, who refused to surrender.

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Between the kids and the cats, I sure do find myself saying “You hear that Elizabeth? I’m coming to join you honey,” an awful lot lately.

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Deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office are involved in a couple of speed chases per week, as referenced in the front page story today. That will likely continue until state legislators toughen up current laws.

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From the time I got a job in broadcasting, until a year ago, I had a daily routine. I would spend around 10 hours a day at work, and then come home. In spring and summer, I would do yard work for an hour or two or watch the Atlanta Braves. In the fall and winter, I would watch a little TV, collapse into bed, and repeat those steps the next day. Sound familiar?

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As a parent raising children, we are responsible for teaching them innumerable lessons. Some of those lessons are intended to teach them how to deal with big issues as well as minor blips on the radar of life.

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When I was in elementary school we read a book called “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” It was about a girl who had to survive alone on an island. I don’t remember much else about it, but I do remember that it got me real interested in “survival.”

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Though spring has just begun, I can feel summer at my heels already.