Chicken dinners with a side of life


It seems to be meeting and banquet seasons. Last week, it was my privilege to attend the Quairo Literary Club, the Tyler Chamber of Commerce annual banquet, the Tyler Young Professionals meeting and the Meals On Wheels luncheon.

Each meeting had its own flair. The delightful group of ladies at the literary club allowed me to review "The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is without question the most well-written book to cross my path in 20 years.

My longtime friend Paul Powell told me he had finished it. We visited at the Meals On Wheels luncheon honoring his son Mike for 25 years of service to the organization.

It seemed we agreed Teddy was an egomaniac. Brother Powell said he had even used some of the material in his sermons on Teddy after an observer noted "Roosevelt wanted to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral and the baby at every christening."

After reading Goodwin's book I am a fan of William Howard Taft much more than Roosevelt.

Longtime friend and customer John Regan and family member Dana Adams joined me as the token males at the literary club meeting. The only thing that could have made it any better is if my grandmother Jo had been able to join us since my being there was by her invitation to begin with.

My new friend Ginny has promised to text me some observations on the paper from time to time which would be a welcome addition to any day. She just celebrated a milestone birthday, but we agreed if she could text she'd be a "wired granny," something essential if you want to talk to anyone under 25 these days.

Mrs. Johnson and I had a wonderful visit at the literary club, and she made sure I knew she wanted to hear more about the dog in my column. More on that subject later.

The young professionals group was really the most intimidating of all events of the week, as I found myself speaking to a group not much older than my children. It was the second time I had felt old in a week. The first occurred when I fell while stretching after spin class. Fortunately, I landed on the part of me with the biggest cushion.

Women overwhelmingly populated the young professional group. It seems they are taking over the world and Tyler. They are the bankers, lawyers, CPAs and financial planners these days. They were gracious to include some of their male counterparts.

In the old days, you could start at the chamber while you were young, but if you did, you had to have your hair tussled by the old guard for a requisite period of time until you matriculated.

If you scan the pictures on the walls of the Genecov room at the Chamber, its leadership was traditionally male for a long time, but things are changing fast. When and if my kids and grandkids show up over there in the future, they will probably talk about the era in the old days when the guys ran everything.

The Chamber banquet is a joyful evening of celebration of accomplishments of both businesses and individuals. Each year, it is a reminder to me we live in the last great place filled with wonderful, caring people and institutions. A joyful moment in my week was presenting the T.B. Butler award to Dr. Duane Andrews, a man worthy of admiration and imitation.

Lucky for me, I get to work in the last great place.

And Mrs. Johnson, our dog is doing quite fine in spite of losing her sleeping privileges on the bed for reasons we will not go into at this time. In spite of her exile, she still greets me with an unbridled enthusiasm each day, much like my children did when they were toddlers and exclaimed "Daddy's home!"

Chloe will have to do until I can get me some proper grandchildren.


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