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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

April 11, 2024

The weather these last several weeks here in the Bluegrass has been just wonderful. Instead of running the air conditioning 24/7 we have the house opened up and the fans running. Believe it or not it actually feels cold in the house at times. Which begs a question. What did we do before air conditioning? Most of the places I have lived up to not that many years ago did not have air conditioning. I was not raised with it and neither was my wife. The difference lies with the houses of today.

Back in my home town our house was the second on the street. This was a nice wide…  ( Click for more )

April 4, 2024

I grew up in a time when racial tensions were at their zenith. The Civil Rights Movement was beginning to take shape and people were starting to realize the grave injustices done against races which were formerly thought to be non-people in our society. That microcosm of society, that great reflection of what was happening in the United States, professional sports, was starting to show the nation what needed to be. However, incidents still happened which, through the filter of time, are better understood.

One such incident happened forty-nine years ago today at old Comiskey…  ( Click for more )

I play a sport that a lot of people give up due to the frustration of playing it. That would be golf; a sport that has been known to leave strong men muttering to themselves under their breath and women talking like men. However, the sport that leaves me the most frustrated is the one that I stopped "enjoying" when I decided to take up golf. That would be fishing; of the "jerk on one end waiting for the jerk on the other end." I have basically been the jerk on one end.

I don't know what it is that frustrates me so about it now. I guess the memories of the times that my…  ( Click for more )

March 21, 2024

I live for Thursday evenings. No, go ahead. You can ask. "Why do you live for Thursdays, Tom?" That's the day I get to have my grandchildren for the evening. My father was only 42 years old when he had his first grandchild. By the time he was 45 he had four; all grandsons by my sister. At age 52 our first child arrived for him. By the time he was my age (56) he had all seven grandchildren from just two children of his own. I've got three children. One more than my father. So far we have only two grandchildren; twins, one of each.

Unless you're a grandparent,…  ( Click for more )

March 14, 2024

Today is Byron "Whizzer" White's birthday. He turns 89 today. That's almost 90. Almost. Kind of like the almost as in, "We almost had the Whizzer on that play." That was heard a lot during his years at the University of Colorado. Yessir, if you were a football buff back in the thirties you knew who Byron "Whizzer" White was. Matter of fact he parlayed that great football ability into a professional football career in the NFL with the then Pittsburgh Pirates which became the Steelers.

Problem was, it was only one year, 1938. Why would such a promising football…  ( Click for more )

March 7, 2024

With the exception of the bathroom, all of our downstairs rooms have ceiling fans in them with four separate light bulbs and covers on each. As a result there are shadows on the ceilings from the lights. None is more pronounced than the one in the living room where the vaulted ceiling is. The ceiling is nineteen feet from the floor. The fan hangs some eleven or twelve feet off the floor with a long conduit connecting it to the power fixture in the ceiling. For some odd reason I noticed the shadows above it the other evening.

If there is a light source and if there are objects…  ( Click for more )

February 29, 2024

Every year members of the Curtis, Wright and Johnson families gather on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend or the following Sunday for a memorial service at the Minorsville Cemetery. This service has been held for a number of generations now and was, at one time, quite a large gathering. Sadly, the people to whom it was of such great importance have become the residents of the cemetery and the size of the gathering has dwindled. Still they forge ahead with the service every year in spite of the handful of people who now attend.

As the minister of the Minorsville Christian Church…  ( Click for more )

February 22, 2024

Can you believe it? We are already into the second day of June. Seems like just last month was May. You can insert your own cliche. "Time marches on." "My how quickly the days pass when you're getting older." All I know is that my twin grandchildren turned nineteen months Wednesday. We had them our usual Thursday evening which was their first day of their twentieth month of life. Although I am not ancient I can verify that I have been around for quite a bit more than twenty months.

Matter of fact, I am thirty-three and one half times as old as my grandchildren. I…  ( Click for more )

February 15, 2024

In 1965 Joe Willie Namath, from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, was drafted by the then St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League. He passed over the Cardinals to sign with the upstart American Football League's New York Jets. Why do I bring this up now? "Broadway" Joe turned 63 yesterday. His place in the rich history of what is now two leagues playing as one is an important one. His play, as much as anyone's, cemented the fact that the merger of the NFL and the AFL was long overdue.

Namath won Rookie of the Year in 1965. Two years later he did what was previously…  ( Click for more )

February 8, 2024

Currently on TV there is a commercial playing that has the cutest kids in it talking about being sick. One little boy holds up a dirt covered earthworm and says, "I think salmonella is a kind of dinosaur." That sounds like a kid. They hear a word which has no meaning whatsoever to them and they place it in a connotation and then give it whatever meaning fits their connotative understanding. Yep, that's a kid. Fit the word to mean what works for them. Funny how adults do the same thing.

Here in Kentucky words retain very little of their original meaning. "No Parking"…  ( Click for more )

Sorry that I wasn't able to make my column the last couple of days. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the states and I simply took a pass as a holiday. However, Friday was a little different. I was out of town and was not presented with the time to write my column. This past weekend was the annual, "hey-let's-go-to-a-really-good-golf-course-and-see-how-bad-we-really-are" trip. Translation? I made the trip to Wisconsin to visit my son so we could join six other golfers for a round at Whistling Straits.

Whistling Straits is near Kohler, Wisconsin. It jumped into…  ( Click for more )

January 25, 2024

I stopped in at the local coffee shop, the Lock N Key, for a cup of coffee yesterday morning. Got my usual cup of decaf. Then I saw them. They didn't normally sit on the back counter. Their customary place of residence was the front counter for those who came in for a coffee-to-go and a little temptation. But there they were. They looked oh so scrumptious and inviting. I caved in. I allowed myself to indulge in one of life's little pleasures. I had a cinnamon roll.

You have to understand the place of cinnamon rolls in my life. My mom loved to bake. Now there…  ( Click for more )

January 18, 2024

At the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, is a replica of one of the most famous bridges in the world. It is not a model made to scale. No, this is the full sized copy of the real deal. It would actually fit inside many folks homes. It is a simple stone bridge made to span the Swilcun Burn on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. When I saw the bridge I got cold chills. That bridge has been the site of many a legend of golf's walk to glory as they made their way down the last fairway in the British Open.

Francis Ouimet, James Braid, Old Tom Morris and…  ( Click for more )

January 11, 2024

Has it really been three years yesterday since Annika Sorenstam opened play at the Colonial with a 71? Granted, she fired a 74 the next day and missed the cut. But she opened the tournament with a solid round and, if memory serves me well, beat her fellow competitors in her group that Thursday. Did anyone think she could not accomplish that? We are talking about one of the top five most dominant athletes in the world. The record she has compiled over the past several years verifies that.

Then there are those who want to be Annika Sorenstam, or Tiger Woods, or Barry Bonds,…  ( Click for more )

The older I get the more I seem to enjoy my trips to Blue Grass Christian Camp. This past Saturday I went over to the camp for a personal work day and got to wash dishes during the morning and then spent the afternoon helping a group of men run wire, bolt on light posts and place light boxes for a series of lights which will illuminate a trail between the two sides of the camp. What always draws my attention during my visits to the camp is what separates the two side of the camp.

Right between the two sides of the camp (the well known camp side and the recently added out camp…  ( Click for more )

December 28, 2023

One of the most embarrassing statistics of recent years concerns our youth. From most surveys and polls 22 % of our teenagers right here in the United States can't name the country from which we declared our independence. I wonder if they know the date even. That is not a matter of education but a matter of caring. If you want to know something you will receive that knowledge. However, if that knowledge is of little or no concern to you, you will ignore it completely.

There are those who feel that we struck our independence in the exact right time. George was not a particularly…  ( Click for more )

December 21, 2023

While Barry Bonds chases "the Babe" and ultimately "Hammerin' Hank", there are other records that float out there in Major League Baseball. Many have tried but still no one has eclipsed the "Yankee Clipper", Joe Dimaggio (is there something that says you can only hold a record if you have a nickname? Maybe that's why Bonds is stuck on 713 right now), who holds the consecutive games with a hit record at 56. Which, by the way, was accomplished in one season so none of this carrying over stuff.

There are definitely some major records out there for hitters. My favorite…  ( Click for more )

December 14, 2023

"Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day. Little Susie wants to play." Or Johnny, or Billy or Cathy. Or the Northeast. States that don't normally get pounded by rain have been heavily hit in recent days. Massachusetts has been deluged. The images are those that one does not normally see coming out of that grand old state. I can remember the long ago phrase, "Banned in Boston." I would imagine that, if they could, they would ban rainy weather for a few weeks to allow them to recover.

I know, I know. Some wag will make the comment, "Come August we'll be…  ( Click for more )

December 7, 2023

Mother's Day weekend is always an interesting one. Before the kids were all grown up and on their own we would have these times of hustling around to make sure that all the bases were being covered as to what everyone was getting Becky, my wife, and where we were going to go for the big dinner. This year we were wondering if we would see the kids in shifts and pretty much knew that we would not even see one of them due to his requirements in the ministry he is in up north in Wisconsin.

At first my daughter and her husband were coming over for the church service at Minosrsville.…  ( Click for more )

November 30, 2023

Preparing for a yard sale is always a drawn out proposition. The first thing you have to do is figure out what you have of worth to even sell. What is there cozied away in your closet or attic that might be important enough to advertise for people to buy? Then comes the big question. What worth will you assign those things? Real value has to be laid aside here. You cannot dwell on an item and remember that it one time cost whatever. The big word in yard sales is value.

Value. Translate that to mean an indescribable bargain. That is what puts people in your sale. They…  ( Click for more )

November 23, 2023

"Hit'em where they ain't." I believe that old baseball adage is attributed to Casey Stengel, one of the winningest managers ever in the history of the game. However, he may not be the one who had the original concept. Paul Waner, who played baseball back in those halcyon "Golden Years" of baseball, was one of the greatest players of all time. For his career he amassed 3,152 hits and compiled a lifetime .333 batting average. When Waner talked hitting, people listened.

"Look, there are three outfielders," he once said. "Why hit it where they are? Shoot for the foul…  ( Click for more )

Back in the 1920s George Herman "Babe" Ruth single handedly transformed our national pastime. Baseball had been a game of get on base and manufacture a run through astute hitting that advanced runners. Occasionally someone would actually hit a ball over the outfield fence. But that was an anomaly. Most player, such as Ty Cobb, were just trying to get on and claw for every base they could get in the hopes of being able to simply cross home plate.

Enter the "Babe". Ruth began his career as a pitcher, and a very good one at that, with the Boston Red Sox. While he made quite…  ( Click for more )

The story is told of a man and his wife who were on their way out to eat one evening when they were confronted by a man who kept getting in front of them and trying to slow them down. He jumped in front of them on their way out the door and bothered them all the way to their car. Once in the car he tried to keep them from leaving their driveway but finally they were able to get away. However, when they arrived at their destination who should be there to meet them but the same man who began employing the same tactics as before.

In frustration the husband asked the man why he…  ( Click for more )

November 2, 2023

Nothing more satisfying than spending the afternoon on the water with some of your friends and the kids. Ah yes, tooling around the fluid surface in a powerful craft. Watching the other boats as they make their way around the broad expanse of water. Love it. Absolutely love it. However, not everybody gets to do that. So, Sunday afternoon I had to settle for a little two person paddle boat on a dammed up creek and share our little corner of waterworld with three other craft, also two person paddle boats.

The venue for this aquatic experience was the creek at the Blue Grass…  ( Click for more )

October 26, 2023

Disgusting! Yes, that's the word for the day. Disgusting! There are things that are disgusting. Fresh road kill. Nothing is more capable of ruining the old Saturday afternoon drive in the country than a pancaked turtle or opossum. "Why did the chicken cross the road?" To show the turtle and opossum it could actually be done. Yes, road kill is disgusting. It's right up there with a baby's loose bowel movement in a diaper and a garbage can that has been assaulted by dogs and shared with the community.

I'll just about bet that most of you don't have…  ( Click for more )

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