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Posts by Joey Ledford:
The great philosopher Mick Jagger sang it best: “What a drag it is getting old.”
One of the worst parts of the affliction the Stones’ song recalls is that not only are you putting on years, but the people you begat are getting that way as well. Or at least they are getting old enough that they don’t need the nest anymore.
ELKMONT, Tenn. — One spectator likened it to Aunt Melba’s Christmas lights. Another described the trek through the darkness to see the show as a Halloween for adults without candy and the annoying trips up steps to knock on doors. “Woo,” said a third. “This is SOOO cool.” This magnificent display of nature is known as Elkmont’s synchronized lightning bugs. Photinus carolinus, one of 14 species of fireflies that inhabit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, pick a two-week window each June to do their thing. Accounts differ when people are asked to describe this eerie explosion of fluorescence. From watching individual fireflies among thousands, it appeared to me that they light six consecutive times within about six seconds. Then darkness prevails for a like period before the cycle begins anew. Some felt the glow swept through the woods in a right to left wave. The phenomena appears to be […]
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At age 5 I told anyone who asked, and lots who didn't, "I want to be a doctor in the daytime and a preacher at night." Likely that was connected to the two people outside my family whom I most admired, our doctor who lived in the big house on the corner of our block, and our preacher who lived in the big house on the corner of the next block over. The preacher and my dad were classmates at college and in the vacant lots behind our house and in front of his they planted a Victory Garden together -- Read on →
I was reading an amusing description the other day of John Betjeman, a man who became poet laureate of England in 1972. He must have been a fun guy to have been around judging from how a journalist once described him as a man who looked “like a highly intelligent muffin--a small, plump, rumpled man with luminous soft eyes, a chubby face topped with wisps of white hair and imparting a distinct air of absentmindedness.” Although I am not chubby or overly rumpled, I would be delighted for anyone to portray me in such an endearing way. The description made me pon Read on →
“Well, then, ask me your questions. I won’t be around forever.” That’s what Floyd told me a few years ago when I said that just when we get old enough to ask the right questions of our parents and grandparents, they’re all gone. Floyd was true to his word and did not last forever. He is now gone, six months short of his one-hundredth birthday. I was assured he died without pain and without lingering more than just a few days. As a rabbi friend told me once about the way my mother died instantly from a stroke ... she was taken wit Read on →
About a quarter century ago, when Hercules Specialty Resins was still spewing its sulfurous emissions across the marshes of Glynn to be dissipated by mingling with the off-shore breezes, local wags dubbed the odiferous environment “the smell of money.” They may have been more right than they thought. For, within a decade, all profits had apparently gone up the chimney, even as every rain storm deposited more toxins to poison the marsh. That profitable enterprise depends to a large extent on avoiding waste is a lesson the new owners of Pinova seem to appreciate. On the other side of town, the Read on →