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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

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 )

August 11, 2022

Our congregation had its pig roast Sunday evening. It was a wonderful time. A Number of people from the community came in to share with us and we were able to get acquainted with them. One of our young couples brought their corn hole game with them and set it up in the parking lot. I now have a new name for frustration. Of the five games I played with a partner we won all but five of them. Funny thing was, I went through the first three games without ever getting one in the hole while everybody else, even the kids, had holed one.

Then I took my glasses off. The corn hole…  ( Click for more )

August 4, 2022

Pot shots. Yeah, pot shots. Those zingers that people fire about other people. Nasty little remarks that are intended to capsulize the very essence of another person in a pithy and neat mini-essay. Most of us have let them go from time to time. Most of us have been on both ends of them as well. Famous people seem prone to let them fly most often. Evidently they think theirs are more worthy of print and, therefore, more worthy of being spoken. As for the verbal abuse which almost has to elicit the phrase, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," here…  ( Click for more )

July 28, 2022

Remember Pong? Hmmm. C'mon now, the goofy video game that basically played ping pong with a light square and two little flat light lines? It was produced by a company called Atari. It was the beginning of the video game craze and almost the end. When the video game market collapsed in 1983 Warner Communications sold Atari as did Mattel with its Intellivision line. Enter Nintendo. Ironically, right before the American video game market collapse, Nintendo had offered its Famicon game system to Atari for a licensing agreement. Atari said no go.

In 1985 Nintendo dressed…  ( Click for more )

July 21, 2022

For the past several weeks I have not been contributing my column. Our congregation has been feverishly working to implement some programs and provide information for those programs. Much of that work has fallen to me. In order to be able to craft the programs, do the information brochures and newsletters, organize some of the efforts related to them and still take care of the regular needs of the ministry while at the same time fulfilling family commitments, the column went on the back burner.

We are now getting closer to putting things to bed and finishing the tasks that we…  ( Click for more )

July 14, 2022

Brad Lidge. Remember that name. He almost became the goat of the National League Championship Series and is one of the anti-heroes of the now completed World Series. He is a relief pitcher for the Houston Astros and is one of the best in the league at closing. Closing is the ability of a relief pitcher to come into a game with his team ahead in the late innings and preserve the victory by shutting out the other team for the last one or two innings. Lidge is that type of pitcher.

However, in the NLCS, with the Astros ahead by two runs over the St. Louis Cardinals, Lidge failed…  ( Click for more )

July 7, 2022

Our church celebrated its annual "All-Church Birthday Party" last evening. There were twelve tables, each labeled for one of the months of the year, with a cake and decorations according to a theme for the month. Our people sat at the table of their birth month and ate cake and visited. It was a wonderful time of fellowship made all the sweeter for me by the appearance of one of the young men from the First Christian Church in Mount Vernon, Kentucky.

Clark Mullins showed up right at time for the festivities to begin. He now lives and works in Georgetown and decided to come…  ( Click for more )

June 30, 2022

Software problems!!! That's what the little blurb read right after I lost contact with American Online, my Internet Service Provider. For the last two days that is what I have been seeing as I have prepared to file my column. Very graciously they also automatically reconnected me. Then I got to go through the whole process of filing my column again, and again, and again, and again. Frustration sets in after the fifth time and on the sixth I finally gave up deciding that the column will wait for another day.

Welcome to another day...I hope. If this doesn't get to…  ( Click for more )

June 23, 2022

Rules are rules, part two. The U. S. Open Golf Championship is our national championship of golf. To win it is to gain instant credibility as a professional golfer. Golf has its rules. In the final round of the 1940 Open at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland, Ohio, Ed "Porky" Oliver decided to tee off early to beat the threat of rain. His score left him tied for first place with Gene Sarazen and the eventual playoff winner Lawson Little. Trouble is, it is illegal to tee off at a time other than your official tournament tee time so he was disqualified and his score didn't…  ( Click for more )

June 16, 2022

Whether we like it or not, rules are rules. There are always those who feel like rules were meant for the other person. Kind of a "you-obey-the-rules-so-I-don't-have-to" type of thing. It is like those of us who report the money we make to the government and faithfully pay taxes on it while others make money "under the table" and defraud the government of money in taxes that is rightfully due. Oops. I hope that didn't offend anybody. I mean, if you don't want to pay taxes that is your right; well not your right, but I guess it's okay to do it; well, really…  ( Click for more )

June 9, 2022

It doesn't take a lot to make a good round of golf go south. The smallest of influences can wreck what had promised to be a fine eighteen holes of golf. Whether you are an amateur or a pro makes no difference. Golf is golf; and what makes a round of golf stand out from another is the finest of lines. It may be the rhythm of play or the predictability of the circumstances of play. If something changes, even the littlest bit, what could have been a solid round of golf can turn to mush.

Several years ago I attended the old Bank One Classic at nearby Kearny Hill Golf Course.…  ( Click for more )

June 2, 2022

At one time football was my favorite sport to play. Obviously, at fifty-five years old and somewhat arthritic, to still participate in the sport would be somewhat foolish. However, I continue to enjoy watching the game and can still appreciate its nuances and science. Yes, I know it is brutish, but football presents the greatest dichotomy in sport. It combines speed and grace with raw power. It possesses the ability to leave one aghast at its brutality in one moment while bringing us to our feet with its beauty in the next.

When a play is called there are basically two options;…  ( Click for more )

May 26, 2022

Sometimes the news can carry events that are deadly serious while other times they can have a hint of humor in them. Firefighters in Minot, North Dakota, received an emergency call that had them scrambling for their gas masks as they were told that a railroad car was leaking an unknown substance that could be strychnine, a deadly poisonous chemical. When they arrived and examined the leaking substance they could just as easily have used some spoons. The substance? Tapioca pudding mix.

Occasionally people lose their desire to continue with life and decide to end it all. Such…  ( Click for more )

May 19, 2022

Growing up in a small Midwestern town I developed some simple appreciations which have never left me. I still say "Sir" and "Ma'am" to most folks older than me. I hold a door for people, especially ladies and children. I don't sit down until the ladies at a table have been seated. Then there was one the other day that came back to me. I was at the local coffee shop and I was the only customer at the time as it was fairly early. The barista was setting up the back room and I went back to help. "Tom," she told me sternly, "I've told you before, you don't have…  ( Click for more )

May 12, 2022

Comedian Tommy Cooper once quipped, "I inherited a painting and a violin which turned out to be a Rembrandt and a Stradivarius. Unfortunately, Rembrandt made lousy violins and Stradivari was a terrible painter." Ah yes, the quality of finely done classics is enhanced when they are actually finely done classics. As most of us know, a Rembrandt painting and a Stradivarius violin are, indeed, classics; but why? With art the understanding is much more easily grasped. The presentation of a painting, the coloration, the composition, the brush strokes; all of this can be combined for…  ( Click for more )

May 5, 2022

Humility. That is the greatest lesson that golf teaches a person. Humility. I have known a number of excellent athletes who have given golf a try and quit after a short stint. That old thing about the hardest thing to do is hit a baseball traveling ninety miles an hour? Forget that. I have seen baseball players who can hit a baseball thrown ninety miles and hour that can't hit a golf ball sitting on a tee. The usual reaction? They walk away muttering under their breath, "This is a stupid game."

In baseball you can go 0 for 4 and still win the game because your pitcher…  ( Click for more )

April 28, 2022

For some time now my youngest son has treated me to a day at the old ballpark as a birthday present. Traditionally, it has been a trip to Cincinnati to watch the Reds. However, since the advent of Great American Ballpark, we had not been to Cincinnati for a baseball game. In fact, prior to last evening, I had not seen the new ballpark or the Reds since the old field was razed. I was at Cinergy/Riverfront Stadium the night that the Reds played the Cardinals when the whole of Major League Baseball was to vote on going out on strike. Had they voted to strike, I would have been present…  ( Click for more )

April 21, 2022

Sometimes we humans can be deadly serious and wind up being outrageously funny. Don't know what I mean? Consider this. Every now and then we have the opportunity to make a statement and that statement results in being nowhere near as accurate as we meant it to be. In our seriousness (or seriocity as I like to call it) we use words that absolutely don't carry the intended meaning or else come across as a pun. It's all unintentional but it does, nonetheless, leave us bewildered and others laughing. The problem is, did we get the message?

Perhaps this is never…  ( Click for more )

April 14, 2022

Just the other day a couple of my friends and I were talking about different jobs we have had in the past. I got to talking about my days with MAC Tools in Washington Courthouse, Ohio in 1976 when I was between churches and needed a job to support my family. I learned some things that were rather disturbing about the American worker. I got to see these things firsthand as I worked side-by-side with men who had been working their jobs far longer than I had been.

My first day on the job was a "get-your-feet-wet" day of getting used to the grinder on which I was to be working.…  ( Click for more )

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