Redland Elementary School Tabbed for Expansion


This article is in today’s Montgomery Advertiser. What do you think about the prospect of spending a large amount of money on additions to a brand new school, during proration and a struggling economy, when there are ten empty and unused classrooms at Wetumpka Elementary School? Is the Elmore County BOE being a good steward of public funds? Is there another solution? Is this much ado about nothing? Share your thoughts.

The Elmore County Board of Education, an equal opportunity employer, will hold a special called board meeting on Monday, August 31, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., in the Elmore County Board of Education Board Room, located at 100 H. H. Robison Drive, Wetumpka, AL. The purpose of the meeting is to consider the 2009-2010 budget, capital plan, and personnel items.

Board Plans to Expand Redland School

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Go-Carts and Jelly Beans


Dreams are weird. Not just content-wise, though that can be incredibly strange. As the late, great comedian Mitch Hedberg said: “I hate dreaming, because when you wanna sleep, you wanna sleep. Dreaming is work, you know? Like there I am, laying in my comfortable bed in my hotel room… next thing I know, I have to build a go-cart with my ex-landlord.” I get that. That’s funny and it’s also true. But that’s not the only weird thing about dreaming.

It’s amazing the things our brains do while we sleep. It’s kind of like the first time your parents decided you were old enough to stay home alone while they went shopping. You were into everything. Rambling through the bottom of the china cabinet. Climbing up on top of the house, just because you could. Going up in the attic and walking around. Stuff that you didn’t get to do when mom and dad were around. I think our brains work that way when we go to sleep. They do all the things that we usually don’t let them do when we are awake.

Last night I accidentally fell asleep with a cough drop in my mouth. Sometime in the middle of the night I dreamed I was eating jelly beans. I know, it makes no sense. Anyway, my brain made my sleeping mouth believe that it needed to chew the jelly beans. The crunching inside my head from the chewing of the cough drop, measuring only a few decibels less than what I imagine a freight train crashing into a fireworks factory might sound like, woke me up immediately. Now, not only am I awake in the middle of the night, but I’m disappointed that I don’t have a bag of jelly beans and my throat is frozen from chewing up a cough drop.

Not very long ago I had a dream that someone was stealing my car. In my dream, I ran outside to stop the culprit. I yelled at the guy to stop but all that came out was a sound that would probably be spelled something like, “MUHHH!” The best way I can describe it is that it was sort of a man-scream, voiced in a sort of really loud, falsetto growl. If you felt something tickling your chest and you looked down the front of your shirt to see a large, hairy spider staring back at you, you would likely make a sound similar to this as you danced around wildly while ripping your shirt off. Ask me the next time you see me and I will demonstrate the sound. On about scream number three, I woke up to find my wife, who had sat bolt upright in bed(I’ve always wanted to use that phrase), staring at me and asking with only a hint of panic in her voice if I was okay. I told her that someone had been trying to steal my car and I was trying to chase them off. It only took her about twenty minutes to stop laughing uncontrollably at which point I reminded her of the time she woke me up as she was “sweeping the worms out of the bed” using her pillow as a broom(insert giant marshmallow joke here).

We’ve all been there. Whether swinging wildly in a dream fight and perhaps landing a blow on an unsuspecting, unfortunate sleeping spouse or walking through the dream mall and suddenly realizing that we have no pants on. Funny how in the latter we never realize we are pantsless until we are standing at the Great American Cookie Company ordering a chocolate chip double-doozie, usually in the middle of a Christmas Eve type crowd. You’d think some dream person in the parking lot would have given us a heads up on that. Turns out dream people don’t want to get involved any more than actual people do.

Dream people are just a bunch of jerks. Myoclonic jerks, even.

Sleep tight and sweet dreams!

Need Anyone Say More?

“I, David William Hedrick, a member of the silent majority, decided that I was not going to be silent anymore. So, I let U.S. Congressman Brian Baird have it. I was one questioner out of 38, that was called at random from an audience that started at 3,000 earlier in the evening. Not expecting to be called on, I quickly scratched what I wanted to say on a borrowed piece of paper and with a pen that I borrowed from someone else in the audience minutes before I spoke. So much for the planned talking points of the right wing conspiracy.”

A Lesson From David Haynes to Politicians Everywhere!


Those of you who live in Wetumpka may remember when the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea of Riverfest a few years ago. In the original plans for Riverfest was a proposal to have an area where beer would be sold. Without going into all the details, several people were opposed to this idea. Because no alcohol is allowed in Gold Star Park where the event would be held, the Wetumpka City Council had to approve a resolution giving special permission for this. My pastor and I, along with several others, attended the city council meeting to voice our opposition to this proposal.

After comments from several area residents both in favor of and in opposition to the resolution, and after some discussion by the members of the city council, the time came to vote. Just before the vote is when one city councilman articulated what I think every person who has ever been or hopes to be elected to any public office from the local level to the federal level and everywhere in between should hear.

David Haynes, who at the time was the City Councilman for the district in which I live, after hearing from citizens of Wetumpka and those who lived outside the city said the following, and I am paraphrasing here: “Well, we’ve heard from several people tonight. Some who are in favor of selling alcohol and some who are not. From what I hear, it sounds like most of the people who live in the city, or at least the PJ(police jurisdiction), don’t want to have alcohol at the event. They are the people that I was elected to represent and so I’m voting no on the resolution.” What a concept! The vote that night was 3-3 and the resolution failed for lack of a majority.

If you know David Haynes, you know that David doesn’t have a problem with anyone having a beer or two upon occasion. In fact, he will have one or two upon occasion himself. What David understood that night was that even though he personally would probably have liked to have had a place where he and others could buy a beer, the majority of the people he represented were opposed to that and as such, he voted no!

Here is the lesson to be learned for those who are public servants in the political realm. You were elected to serve and represent the people of your district or state or county or zone or ward or whatever it is called for your particular office. You were not elected so that you could impose upon the rest of us commoners what you and a few elite others might think is best for us. There may be an occasion in which your personal morals and values might keep you from voting in a particular way on a particular issue. I understand this. Perhaps an abstention would be in order under those circumstances. But when you thumb your nose at your constituents because you have been “enlightened” and now know better than we do about what is best for us or when you care more about advancing your own personal agenda than you do about what we think…well, then it is time for you to go home.

Whether it’s health care reform or raising taxes or any other issue that is up for debate, your job is to determine the will of the people you represent and and do just that…represent them.

I wonder what it would take to get David to run for Congress.

Dance Fever!!!

If you have a daughter interested in taking dance, I happen to know the best dance teacher around. MY WIFE, Gigi Hankins! Gigi’s Dancing Dolls will be having registration Thursday night, August 20th, from 5 ’til 7 p.m. at her studio in downtown Wetumpka. Tap, jazz, ballet, and baton with a touch of gymnastics. For directions or more information call Gigi at 312-0476 or Thad at 399-1939 or you can email Gigi at gigidances@gmail.com. Classes start soon so call now!

















If you have a little girl interested in taking dance, I happen to know the best dance teacher around. MY WIFE! Gigi’s Dancing Dolls will be having registration Thursday night, August 20th, from 5 ’til 7 p.m. at her studio in downtown Wetumpka. Tap, jazz, ballet, and baton with a touch of gymnastics. For directions or more information call Gigi at 312-0476 or Thad at 399-1939 or you can email Gigi at gigidances@gmail.com. Classes start soon so call now!

Chasing the Twins…In Memory of my Uncle Ralph Who Went to Heaven Last Night

My Uncle Ralph was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 40 years ago. He retired from preaching and slowly, his health began to deteriorate. By the time he moved in with my family, after the death of my Aunt Bunny, my mother’s twin sister, in 1990, he couldn’t walk and was mostly confined to a recliner where he pored over his massive baseball card collection, watched any sport that happened to be on TV, and became my friend. When Aunt Bunny died he probably never thought he’d be reunited with her sooner rather than later. He probably never expected to live more than 20 years after that. I’m glad he did, though I neglected to visit him in the last years of his life. My loss. I’ll be speaking at his funeral on Wednesday and count it an honor. I’m reposting this article he wrote for my blog back in 2009 in his memory. We will miss him here, but I can only imagine how happy he is now to be reunited in Heaven with my Aunt Bunny who took care of him for so many years. Can’t wait to see them both again.
My mom and dad
My Aunt Bunny and Uncle Ralph
By Ralph Smith
(Commonly known as Uncle Ralph)

It was 1949. Harry Truman was in the White House, the Braves were in Boston, and I was in the U. S. Air Force. I had never heard of Elvis, or Viet Nam, or the Internet. I had never seen a television, a mini-skirt, or a cell-phone. Every jukebox was playing “The Lovesick Blues” by a guy named Hank Williams. I’d never heard of him before leaving for Germany a year earlier. Little did I know that I was coming to his home town, and arriving on his birthday, September 17.

I was sent to Maxwell Field to be re-assigned to some other base. I arrived on Saturday and went to church on Sunday, where I met a pair of pretty twin sisters, Those Twins have been discussed previously on this blog, and if you’re wondering why I’m telling all this, I’ll give you a clue, as Hank would say. If this story hadn’t happened pretty much as it did happen, many of the people reading this blog wouldn’t be here. Come to think of it, this blog wouldn’t be here! So pay attention!

There were a lot of men coming through the relocation center at Maxwell at that time, for various reasons, and the regular staff was snowed under. Hundreds of men were standing in line every day, and it was time consuming work. When the sergeant in charge learned that I was a Clerk-Typist, I “volunteered” to help out. If you served in the Military, you know how you volunteer. In this case, I didn’t mind a bit, because I wanted to see those Twins again.

Those Twins were Dorothy and Doris Barber, but they were known as Dot and Bunny. They were the youngest of fifteen children, and they were the only unmarried ones remaining. That, by the way, was the most amazing family I ever knew, but that’s another story. Because they were the youngest, their Mother was very protective, and insisted that they only double-date. Their Father had died the year before, and their mother was boss. That meant, if I wished to date Bunny, I must bring a buddy for Dot. That was no problem, except for Dot, who didn’t care to date just any guy. I did the best I could but the talent pool was limited.

Then I met Jim, who was returning from Panama. He was tall, and good looking, and almost as cool as I was. He was also a Clerk-Typist, and he volunteered, just as I had, to work at a desk beside me. I persuaded him to double-date. He liked it. We dated the twins, and we became buddies. We were young and foolish. We spent money like congress. We bought a car together. We moved into a vacant room in the transient barracks without permission. That room was for men with four or more stripes. Jim had two and I had two……thar’s four. We talked a lot about all kinds of things. Once, he told me that if he ever had a son, he’d name him Thad. I told him that I had been a Chaplain’s Assistant, and that Chaplain’s name was Thad Son. I kid you not!

We worked hard in the office, sometimes late at night. Our friendship grew stronger. We chased the twins. Jim went to Pensacola with me to visit my family. I went with him to Fayette to visit his. True love didn’t run smooth. We dated other girls, and the Twins dated other guys. I was miseraabe. By this time, I was in love. I thought Bunny was the prettiest girl I ever knew. That was sixty years ago. My opinion has not changed.

We bought a newer car, Through circumstance you don’t want to know, we lost it. Neither of us blamed the other. We had fun together, we made mistakes together. We rode the bus together. We chased the Twins together.

The work we were doing slowed down, and Jim and I were no longer needed there, so we were transferred to other squadrons on Maxwell. The trouble was that we were separated now. We worked and slept in different buildings. Each of us made new buddies That often happened in the Military, and fellows usually just moved on to new relationships. In this case however, a bond had been formed. Jim and I were now more than buddies; we were friends. There was also that common mission…….we were chasing the Twins.

We stayed at Maxwell until we were discharged. We got jobs and Bunny and I were married. Three weeks later, Dot and Jim were married. I was not mature enough for marriage, but nobody could have told me that. I thought I was ten feet tall and bullet-proof. There was no doubt in my mind that I would get a job and climb the ladder of success. Yeah! Jim probably thought just as I did, but I won’t speak for him.

We had chased the Twins, as Jim loves to say, until they caught us. In love stories and fairy tales, when boy finally wins girl, that’s the end, but in real life, it’s only…..THE BEGINNING.

That’s Un-American!!!


What a farce! I hope someone else watched President Obama speaking to a group in Belgrade, Montana about healthcare reform. There is no way that that many people would have simply decided to come and hear the president speak on healthcare reform on their own without large groups of them being bused in. They applaud for minutes at a time over the smallest thing he says and he stops after he says certain things as if that is the predetermined spot in the speech that they should clap.

It is simply ridiculous that they expect us to believe that this whole thing is anything but a completely staged event. How very un-American of these people. With these types of people living in Montana it is only a matter of time before another Slobodan Milosevic rises up and begins the process of ethnic cleansing throughout the west!

Sound ridiculous? Perhaps. But no more ridiculous than the notion that anyone who dares show up at a town meeting with their congressional representatives to voice their dissatisfaction with the healthcare reform bill is nothing but a plant put their by the Republican party. That’s preposterous!

It is perfectly normal when left-wingers show up to support those who share their ideas. Those who voice their concern in opposition to the left are Nazis. Nice.

That is typical of Democrats, the party of the double standard, and their left-wing followers. It amazes me that they have the proverbial “cojones” to act in such a way. But logic never has been a hallmark of the left.

I also thought it was interesting that Obama said that he didn’t want to put healthcare in the hands of government bureaucrats but he didn’t want to put it in the hands of insurance company bureaucrats either. Sounds to me like that is an admission that by letting government control healthcare, we are being forced to do nothing more than choose between the lesser of two evils. Makes perfect sense if you are an aspiring socialist.

Thanks but no thanks.

Of Pizza and Fireflies


Why do I get so excited every time we order pizza? Because we did tonight and I am. Excited, that is.

I grew up in Slapout, Alabama, and the only restaurant there at the time was Hungry Horace’s. Once in a blue moon we would order something from Hungry Horace’s and go pick it up. I can remember only one time that I actually ate there inside the restaurant. It’s probably because they had an arcade and a pool table and my dad wasn’t fond of me going in there because he said the people would get in there and gamble. I don’t know if they did or not but I’m sure that had something to do with it.

Anyway, that was just hamburgers and fries pretty much. Nothing fancy like pizza! We only got to eat pizza every other Friday when we would go to my Aunt Bunny and Uncle Ralph’s house in Montgomery. I loved that! They had cable TV with something like fourteen channels, a piano in the back room that I’d bang on, and they lived in the city where there were other kids to play with within walking distance instead of on the other side of the county. We’d order pizza from Pizza Inn, go pick it up and bring it back to their house, eat it while watching something sports related ON CABLE(my Uncle Ralph is a bit of a sports fanatic). Then, we’d go to K-Mart, the one next to Big Apple, in Aunt Bunny’s big, brown Bonneville where I would always get an Icee and some sort of toy. I have two enduring memories of riding in that car. The first is that I would sit in the back seat on the fold-down armrest in the middle of the seat. I thought it was a seat for kids. Really. Of course I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The other was the sound that the turn-signal would make. TUNK-A, TUNK-A, TUNK-A. It was so loud! There is no way you could have gone more than a few feet without realizing it was on the way you can with modern blinkers. No going around the world to the left in that car!

When K-Mart would finally close for the night we’d head back to my aunt and uncle’s house again where some of the neighborhood kids and I would catch fireflies by the jarful. It was there that I learned you could squeeze the “stuff” out of the firefly’s tail and rub it on your shirt and it would glow(don’t tell PETA). My dad and Uncle Ralph would sit inside and watch CABLE TV and my mom and Aunt Bunny would sit on the front porch and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. My mom was partial to Pall Mall Golds. That was twenty-nine years ago and smoking was not quite as frowned upon then as it is now(as it should be). I should note that my mom quit smoking altogether several years ago. While they smoked and talked I would run up and down the streets of the neighborhood until I heard mom hollering for me. Then we’d load up in our 1972 LTD and head back to Slapout. I always fell asleep in the backseat, you guessed it, with no seatbelt on. In my pre-adolescent world I wondered how life could get any better! Until I got married and had children, I’m not sure that it did.

I got older and got my driver’s license and there were things that became more important for me than pizza and fireflies. It’s been almost twenty years since Aunt Bunny, my mom’s twin sister and the closest thing I had to a grandmother, went to Heaven. After that, Uncle Ralph came to live with us for a few years. He has Multiple Sclerosis and has since moved into a nursing home. There is a lot I could write about him and the time we spent as roomies with my parents. In fact, I think I’ll do that soon.

The older we get, the less we seem to love life. Not that we aren’t happy, but with age comes a job and bills and responsibility. We get bogged down in temporal things that demand far too much of our time and the joy of childhood is replaced by stress and busyness and the pursuit of things we think will give us joy. And sometimes those things do. But that joy is often fleeting and thus begins our pursuit once again.

I think I just answered my own question about ordering pizza. When I sat down to write this it was going to be funny. I like funny. Funny is…fun. I suppose sometimes things don’t work out like we planned. Life is short and each passing year seems to go by faster. Maybe it’s time, as the old Waylon and Willie song says, I got back to the basics of life. Reassess my priorities and responsibilities and concentrate on the things that really matter. Being a good husband to my beautiful wife, a loving daddy to my two incredible children, banging on old pianos, drinking Icees, catching fireflies in jars…and pizza.

You Can Feel It…It’s Electric! Boogie-Oogie-Oogie!


If you can’t figure it out, I’m the tall one. The guy to my left is Ricky “Ivan the Terrible” Roberts. Holtville High School Prom, 1986.

I don’t dance. There was a time in my life, many years ago, that I did. I danced with my wife at a formal dinner we went to shortly after we started dating and then I pretty much hung up the old dancing shoes. That would have been in 1995. If you had ever stood at a prom in a white tuxedo, white socks, and white shoes with a big red spot on the inside of your right ankle where your best buddy had kicked you with one of his white shoes while doing that Russian dance where you sort of sit on an invisible chair and kick your legs out alternately, then you would probably dance as little as possible too! (Yes, I’m aware of what a run-on sentence is.)

I had a conversation with a friend recently in which we discussed dancing. One of my issues with dancing is I never know what to do with my hands. I feel like my hands should be having fun and celebrating with the rest of my body but when I let them join in it makes me feel…well…less masculine than I care to feel. I told my friend that dancing for me now consists mostly of throwing someone the wave and leaving them with it. Always leave the crowd wanting more I always say.

Since we are talking about dancing, am I the only person in the world who is 40 or older who doesn’t know how to do the electric slide? Is it some rite of passage that I have missed out on? I ask this because every time I see a large group of people dancing and the electric slide breaks out, as it inevitably will, I’m certain that at least 80% of them are over 40 and a good percentage of them are probably several years older than that. Oh, and I am never one of them. Not knowing how to do the electric slide is only one reason why I don’t do it, but that’s another topic altogether.

Speaking of people “older than that” dancing, what is about age that makes a man so uninhibited about showing off his moves, or lack thereof, on the dance floor with his wife/lady-friend? I had occasion a few weeks ago to go and watch a band in which a friend of mine plays drums. At this restaurant that night, sitting right next to the dance floor, was a couple who appeared to be no less than 60 years old. When the band played Play That Funky Music, they danced. When the band played Red House, they danced. When the band played Gravity by John Mayer, they danced. They might have sat out one song but I honestly don’t remember it.

There are only a few moves that most dancing white people have, especially the men. You can probably count them on one hand and most of them involve clapping awkwardly(as I said before, none of us ever know what to do with our hands). This older gentleman had the same move for every song. We’ll call it the “geriatric hammer-fist.” His left foot would generally be his pivot foot and he would do a little semi-circle back and forth with his right foot. While doing this, he would move his right arm, elbow at his side bent at a 90-degree angle, up and down as if he were some sort of retired Little Bunny Foo Foo bopping field mice on the head. He did all this while looking around the room at anyone who cared to make eye contact with him. I’m not sure if he was doing this menacingly as a sort of threat to those who would scoff at him or if he was looking for pity. I made sure to avert his gaze every time he turned in my direction. I’m not sure why. It just made me feel kind of funny.

I’d like to say he had a bit of rhythm but I’d be lying. His move had little, if anything, to do with the music. If I had to hazard a guess, it had everything to do with the fact that he was with a woman who wanted to dance and no matter how silly he might have felt or looked, he didn’t care as long as it kept him in her good graces. Not unlike a husband holding a wife’s purse while she is in the dressing room at New York and Company trying on 371 separate articles of clothing. This I’ve done many times. At least I know what to do with my hands in that situation, though.

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