January, 2009 - A brand new year, a brand new semester at the university, and a brand new
President - it's been a very big month.  Any U.S. Presidential Inauguration always reminds
me of my own experience in 1960, when I had a V.I.P. seat for the swearing in of John F.
Kennedy.  I had no reservations, but the night before the event the skies opened with one of
the largest snowstorms in the history of Washington.  It was very cold that day, and many of
the folks with the special reserved seats decided to stay at home and watch the proceedings
on television.   Security was minimal, so it was possible to move in close without passing any
significant checkpoints. I couldn't have been more than fifty feet from the center of action, and
I will never forget the ceremony that included a reading from poet Robert Frost.  During his
presentation the podium started smoking, and his offering was put on temporary hold while
they tried to discover the problem.  He was able to continue in a few minutes.
It was bitterly cold that day, and I remember watching the parade for two or three hours
before some folks in a car parked near the route offered me sanctuary from the elements.  
When they asked a few introductory questions, I was at first unable to respond, because my
jaw was frozen in the closed position.  After the thaw we were able to swap some stories and
get acquainted.  I stayed in the Washington, D.C. area long enough to see Kennedy buried
at Arlington National Cemetery, and then I began making plans to return to Texas.
President Obama may lack experience, but he seems to have the leadership qualities to
inspire some much needed changes.  I am hoping that the Congress and the people at large
give him the necessary time and cooperation to get some things done.

January, 1979 - When my daughter was four she came home from nursery school and
announced that one of her friends there was to be "ringmaster" at an upcoming wedding.  
I have attended a few "hitching" ceremonies that could certainly have used one.
It is refreshing to see TV actors who have come to public attention through such zany roles
as "Bionic Playgirl" or the "Incredible Jerk" cast as normal human beings in roles that have
both good story lines and social significance.  It is unfortunate that the script mills of the
major networks grind forth so much "chaff" along with the few kernels of good entertainment
here and there.  Television is a raging fire of information, most of which is quite useless and
lacking in substance. The only redeeming factor is that the fire is quite easily extinguished by
simply touching a switch.
When I passed the Closed Door Lounge and noticed the sign in the window that said "Open
for Business", my thoughts turned momentarily to another time and place.  The sign on the
establishment said Old World Inn, and the one in the window - "under new management".

RHYME FOR OUR TIME:

Making new year's resolutions is not my cup of tea.
All the things I dream of doing slip away from me.

I think I'd like to learn to fly but can't afford a plane.
Every time I plan a parade, it always seems to rain.

I sometimes dream of having fortune and worldly fame.
All I'd have to do is change my life, my face, my name.

The power of positive thinking says we are in control;
but regardless of one's position, God sees only the soul.

He sees the things we try to change, though efforts end in vain.
He hears our resolutions and loves us just the same.