I had a birthday on August 4th turning 87. I didn’t turn it, want it, need it or request it, but I got it, earned it, passed it and accepted it … grudgingly!
Being born in 1929 means that I had a toehold or a firm grip in ten decades. Inconceivable! The biblical suggested age limitation was 70 and I’m happy that law was amended.
All my friends about my age have passed on except Vin Bruce and we both hobble along, bones creaking, muscles aching, hair graying, sight and hearing failing and that’s all I can list in a family newspaper. I’ll quit kicking because the alternative is worst.
I have a thousand Facebook friends and over 300 posted birthday greetings. They deserved my thanks so I posted one, humorous of course.
My wife Dot read it and said, “Why don’t you include it in your column?”
I answered, “Because my Facebook friends understand my humor, even silly and absurd as this one.”
“Silly and absurd? A perfect description of your column,” she answered.
Dot always has my back so here it is:
“Dear Friends. Wonderful wishes were well wanted, weepingly welcomed, warranting witty ‘we-ply’ (sorry). While wondering why we weep willingly with well-worn, well-known wailful warbling words, we ‘we-alized’ (my bad) why whacky writings were white washed warmly with wholesome wispy words … (I ran out of w’s but my thanks are sincere.)”
Trite, terrible and tedious? Totally, but my Facebook friends forgave my ‘play on words’ and I hope my readers do, too.
In many years of spouting opinions on radio, newspapers and as a public official, I received thousands of letters and telegrams. Most of them were requests for songs on my radio (KCIL Houma, KLEB Golden Meadow, WWEZ and WSHO New Orleans) and TV (KHMA Houma and Callais Cable, Golden Meadow) programs, but some were not. Some of my opinions came back to bite me. I have since mellowed and keep controversial stuff out of my column.
In the earlier years, stamps were 3-cents, postcards 1-cent and telegrams were affordable. I received bundles every week.
As rates increased, the volume decreased from hundreds to dozens by the time I left radio for elected office. Television had diminished radio and although voters elected me many times, maybe my radio personality had diminished as well. Forgetaboutit! My ego won’t let me accept that. (Just kidding).
I saved and kept the bundles of mail and newspaper clippings in my office, the favorable or neutral in files on the floor and the unfavorable or critical, less than a dozen, in an envelope on a high shelf.
In 1964 the Hurricane Hilda flood destroyed all my floor files but the water did not reach the top shelf. I carefully sorted out the contents of the manila envelope, had them laminated, framed and hung on my office wall.
Dot once asked me, “Why do you keep those so in view?”
“To keep me humble and modest,” I replied.
She came back with, “It didn’t work, did it?”
As I said, she always has my back.
In my many years of harboring opinions my records indicate that I sent only 25 “letters to the editor” to various local newspapers and three to the Times Picayune. All but one were printed and many brought responses with criticism or praise. The only one I wrote since then, in response to a Daily Comet article about airplane spotters in Houma, recalled how at 14 I was an airplane spotter in the Hibernia Tower in New Orleans. It appeared in their Saturday, August 13 issue.
The only three I sent to the Picayune were all printed and pictures of the subjects were added. They were about the “Filthy Rich”, “L’il Abner” and the new bridge over the Mississippi that just opened in downtown New Orleans. All three were to make a point, but with my sarcastic humor. I’ll tell you about them and the others next week.
I’ll also tell you about criticism I received through the years, few but wearisome. Hey! There’s another “W” I could have used.
Comments are welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Tue, August 23, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette