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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

February 2, 2023

Back in professional golf's fledgling years there were no big money tournaments. Instead there were exhibitions in which a small purse was offered to try to entice the elite of golf to come and participate. In fact, the practice was to invite (from which the term "invitational tournament" arises) those golfers that were felt to be the best players of the day. Such was the subject of the movie, "Bagger Vance," which pit Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen and the fictional Rannulph Junah against each other for ten thousand dollars.

However, as such exhibitions grew in popularity tournaments…  ( Click for more )

January 26, 2023

New Years are all about resolutions. That's what a friend of mine concluded as we were talking the other day. His succinct statement was something along the lines of, "Yep, everybody makes their resolutions and then nobody follows them." I guess the appropriate question to raise here is to ask how many of you have ever made a resolution and not kept it? Raise your hands. C'mon, Frank, you know you blew last year's resolution in the first day. For some reason, resolutions are a lot like promises for many people; they just simply aren't kept.

Ever wonder…  ( Click for more )

January 19, 2023

The Heisman Trophy Award was handed out recently with the naming of Reggie Bush of the University of Southern California as the recipient. This was one of the more hotly contested trophies in years with three players running neck and neck. Bush's play in the last few games of the year kicked him over the top in most sports writers' minds. Odd thing is that winning the Heisman doesn't always mean superstardom in the pro ranks. There is an overwhelming body of evidence that advises the pro football teams to look elsewhere for their stars of tomorrow.

True, recently…  ( Click for more )

January 12, 2023

Christmas draws ever the closer to us. I try not to show too much excitement about Christmas but I can't help it. I love the holidays, but I especially love Christmas. I think anyone who has been through the rigors of having children, or even just one child, can somehow understand the wonder of that very special night. My oldest child is a male. He was born at 5:59 P.M. on December 13. It was dark out at that time. I remember going to the lobby to call my parents and seeing all the lights outside the hospital there in Huntington, West Virginia.

Our doctor told us that…  ( Click for more )

January 5, 2023

As I was sitting on the floor last night watching my little one year old granddaughter examining the lights on the Christmas tree I couldn't help but be amazed at the world of wonder that is hers and her brother now. They've been through the struggling infant "feed me, change me, hold me" routine. Now they are beginning to awaken to the many things that surround them in their world. Instead of basic instincts of comfort they now have questions of discovery.

My wife and I got to have the kids for two evenings this week. Tuesday night was especially important to me…  ( Click for more )

December 29, 2022

When I was a kid growing up I remember watching the cartoons on Saturday mornings. Of course, being older I remember such antiquated heroes as Crusader Rabbit. Popeye and his gang were there in their older drawn versions as well as others such as Bugs Bunny before Mel Blanc got a hold of his voice. They were all pretty consistent with the fare of the day. Then there were those two little breaths of fresh air. Those two little cute chipmunks with the excuse me air to them. Then there was Chip 'n Dale.

They would do their thing and get caught in all sort of difficult scrapes,…  ( Click for more )

December 22, 2022

With only three weeks left in the season the National Football League is moving closer to Super Bowl Forty. A that time they will crown the champion football team of the NFL. The NFL Champion. There's an odd quirk that goes with not just professional football but collegiate football as well. And it all centers around two states; Wisconsin and Ohio. The quirk deals with the first teams to do some rather important things. It deals with being champions.

The NFL crowned its first ever champion football team in 1929. The Green Bay Packers from Green Bay Wisconsin won the…  ( Click for more )

December 15, 2022

In thirty-five years of ministry I cannot recall more than a few times that I was ever really sick enough to not be able to preach or at least function in the office. I imagine that I could count them on one hand. However, I have had some rather freakish occurrences that have left me immobilized for brief periods of time; things like a ruptured esophagus, severe nose bleeds and the threat of osteomyelitis (not sure of that spelling) from a softball shin bruise. So imagine my displeasure when I awoke yesterday morning with the "bug."

I had a virus. You know what viruses are,…  ( Click for more )

December 8, 2022

I try to be a nice guy. When my kids were growing up I would play the nice guy for them a lot of times. But I am also a fairly competitive guy, too. The problem is balancing competitive and nice. Sometimes you get to be both. The biggest thing is to not let the competitive side get in the way of the being nice side. Confused? Let me be blunt then. If you're going to win at the games you play, don't be obnoxious. Let's face it; obnoxious is not nice.

A few weeks ago a friend and I had planned a round of golf when we found out we would be joined by my friend's…  ( Click for more )

December 1, 2022

If you ever get the chance to make it to Stamping Ground, Kentucky, be sure to take in one of Central Kentucky's finest little establishments. Melissa's Country Cooking, as far as I know, is the only restaurant in Stamping Ground, but, as Andy Griffith would say, "It's a good'n." It's located on Main Street in the first floor of the Ruritan Building on the right as you head north out of town. If you're fortunate you may get to meet the same cherubic presence I did just recently. You may get to meet Jordan Hopkins.

When I entered the restaurant the…  ( Click for more )

November 24, 2022

It was all cackles and sputters and tweets and hums and beeps. It's fascinating to listen to a dial up for the internet squawk at you incessantly for five minutes until you finally get the picture and hit cancel. Such is life in Dial Up City. It's tough; it's brutal; it's where I live. And it can be frustrating. It's a good thing that the monitor is located where it is on my desk. At my age and condition it is too much effort to lift a leg high enough to put a foot through the thing. Hopefully today will be different.

This is day three of "Dial Up…  ( Click for more )

November 17, 2022

The lights went down. Spotlights began to circle the area. Music started to swell. Then the announcer came on the P. A. system and said, "Time now for your University of Kentucky WILDCATS!!!" Welcome to college basketball at its finest. Welcome to Rupp Arena, home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. There are not too many places on earth that you can watch a basketball game in any better a setting or with any more enthusiastic fans. Rupp has been home to the Wildcats now for thirty years.

Opposing teams that come in to play UK have consistently remarked that playing…  ( Click for more )

November 10, 2022

There are a lot of "odd but true" facts that float around. I guess they fit the category of things that make you go, "Huh?" They are those facts that follow the famous and the infamous that just don't seem to be real. They are as varied as can be but some have a common thread that tie them together. In the realm of happenstance they are the nuggets in the bottom of the pan after all the water is sloshed out. They run the gamut from the ridiculous to the unbelievable.

Every now and then political figures are linked in bizarre ways. One such instance involves a man who…  ( Click for more )

November 3, 2022

It might not necessarily be fun, but it is always interesting to watch something happen that really need not happen, but it happens anyway. I got rear-ended yesterday. Truly. Hit from behind by another motor vehicle. This is the third time I have had this happen to me. All three have been easily seen as they were about to happen. I have watched all three in my rearview mirror. It is a hopeless feeling. You can see it coming and there is not a thing you can do to keep it from happening.

I had some business to take care of in Berea and decided to go a little early and take…  ( Click for more )

October 27, 2022

Directions. Some people know how to give them, others don't. Some people know how to follow them, others don't. The odd thing is, depending on who raised you, you might be directionally challenged. How people find things and the thought processes they use to do so are as unique as thumbprints. There are those who logically process information and organize it in an orderly manner. Then there are those who simply can't seem to put two-and-two together and come up with anything but five; but they still get places.

In 1970 I had gone to Millersport, Ohio to spend…  ( Click for more )

October 20, 2022

Yesterday marked the thirtieth anniversary of a milestone for my wife and me. Thirty years ago yesterday we hosted our very first Kelley family Thanksgiving meal. Our oldest son, John, was almost two years old while Sean and Kara had not yet come along. We were ministering to the Church of Christ in Bainbridge, Ohio at that time and had all my family over to the parsonage for turkey dinner with all the trimmings. My Aunt Helen and Uncle Orlyn and their four kids all came as did my grandmother Kelley and, of course, my mom and dad.

That Thanksgiving had a pall cast across it.…  ( Click for more )

October 13, 2022

The first tee. Often what happens there affects the flow of the entire round. Did you get to the course in enough time to relax and get focused or did you walk into the pro shop and pay and then scurry to the first tee to hit and get going? Did you take time to establish your thinking about the course or is that the farthest thing from your mind? Did you just have an argument with your spouse or your boss or your kids or whoever? Let me share one of the more important things you can do on the first tee to help you have an enjoyable round.

Mark your ball. No, you're not…  ( Click for more )

October 6, 2022

Easter. Thanksgiving. Christmas. The three "holidays" that are recognized by the federal government and heavily celebrated by the church around the United States. I have given them in their chronological order as they fall in the calendar year. You know what each is for. Easter is the celebration of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The country received this celebration from the simple fact that it was brought with the early settlers who embraced the freedom to remember it in a new land..

Thanksgiving is an observance to celebrate the…  ( Click for more )

September 29, 2022

It was another thrilling victory for the Scarlet and Gray. Saturday afternoon my boys from Ohio State beat that "team from up north", as Woody Hayes used to put it. The Ohio State University Buckeyes football team won its rivalry match against the University of Michigan Wolverines. They did it despite two turnovers, two fumbled punt returns that resulted in negative yards and a shanked punt which traveled all of about fifteen yards. Michigan capitalized on those turnovers and the bad punt and scored on all three occasions. But the right team won!

Of course that depends on…  ( Click for more )

September 22, 2022

First things first. I have to correct a glaring mistake which I made yesterday. I wrote in my column yesterday that my wife and I were married on August 21, 1971. Even after what I thought to be a careful proofread I left us getting married on August 21, 1971. I was twenty-one years old plus ten days when Becky and I tied the proverbial wedded knot. My birthday is August 10. Thus, I became the husband of my wife on August 20, 1971, not August 21.

Funny how dates that we are just so sure we know without any problem get away from us. In 1975, Sherwood Smith was addressing…  ( Click for more )

September 15, 2022

I bought a watch the other day. Found one on sale at a local jewelry store. My old one had gotten to the place where having it on my wrist was an aggravation. The band had become so loose and stretched that it no longer stayed in place. It wobbled around on my wrist and drove me batty. The new one fits very well. Has a nice little double clasp which gives the band a very finished look instead of having one of those big clasps showing. The big thing is I now know what time it is.

What time is it? Just knowing the time isn't really the issue, is it? It's all about…  ( Click for more )

September 8, 2022

I woke up somewhat early this morning even for me. I got up at 4:00 and went to my dresser and, in the dark, grabbed my underwear and my flannel pants and headed for the shower. It was interesting when I grabbed my underwear for I could tell by the feel of the fabrics that the T-shirt I was grabbing was one of my older ones while the briefs were some of the new ones I had just purchased recently. I knew which article of clothing was new and which one was old just by the way they felt.

New things have that certain sensation to them. Bob Wright, whom I've known for almost…  ( Click for more )

September 1, 2022

You've been in the situation. You've been invited to someone's home for supper. You arrive just a little early so as not to offend the people who invited you. Then you ask to be excused to use their bathroom. Once you finish in the bathroom you feel it only proper to wash your hands. You now are faced with a dilemma . You have to establish which bar of soap you are supposed to use in washing your hands and then which towel you are to use to dry them. That's right. Which soap and towel are solely for decorations and which are meant to be used?

It's…  ( Click for more )

August 25, 2022

Sixteen steps. Every morning I face them. Sixteen steps. They are part of my regimen right when I get up. Sixteen steps. That's the number of steps I go up to get to my second floor shower and office every morning en route to doing this column. Sixteen steps. They seem to get steeper each day, especially when the weather turns a little cold and we stop keeping the house at 75 degrees. Sixteen steps. For an arthritis sufferer like me those sixteen steps can seem like an eternity.

Way back when steps were nothing. I can remember after basketball practice running the…  ( Click for more )

August 18, 2022

It was one of those rounds of golf. I was striking the ball as well as I could. Only had a couple of really glaring mistakes in full shots. My tee shots were big. My irons were crisp. My pitch shots were accurate. Ah, but the flat stick, the deal closer, the putter; it was asleep. I missed nine makeable birdie putts and gacked on a few par putts. The results were an unsatisfying 80 that left me feeling defeated. Granted, the two out-of-bounds shots on the same hole didn't bless my score any, but still…

Yeah, I know. That's just a game, Tom. I know that,…  ( Click for more )

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