The Herald Bulletin

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November 20, 2012

Primus Mootry: Observations about Winfrey, Jordan and others I have known

Here are a few scattered thoughts on the day before Thanksgiving:

Oprah — years ago, I was driving Oprah someplace when she popped the question. “Have you ever read Alice Walker’s ‘Color Purple’?” No, I replied. She looked at me as though she were going to tear my steering wheel off its column and beat me over the head with it. I’ve been scared of her ever since.

Stedman Graham — back in the day, Stedman and I hung out a bit, mostly on business stuff. Nice guy. He is smarter than he looks, and he had read “The Color Purple.” I checked.

Michael Jordan — I once played a round of golf with Mike. Just the two of us. I remember we came to a 230-yard par 3 hole that had a stream running just a few yards in front of it.

He must have hit a ball in the water six times before he finally hit the green. As they say (sort of), losers never win, and champions never quit.

Rich people — I’ve met a lot of rich and famous people in my life. Although some are very nice people, the main conclusion I come away with is that the size of one’s wallet has little to do with the height of one’s IQ. Basketball great Bill Russell said: “If you were a jerk before, and you get rich, you’re just a rich jerk.”

Wise and rich — one of the wisest rich people I ever met was a comedian, the late Buddy Hackett. He once wrote to a mutual friend: “Whatever a man does, he does to please himself, regardless of whom it hurts or helps.”

About poverty — being poor is not a permanent condition, it is merely a circumstance. I grew up without a lot of material things, but we always had a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, and clean clothes to wear. We were happy and healthy, too. We were loved.

The Red Zone — my old friend, Ike Weatherly Jr., told me back when he played football for Anderson High, he would often run plays from one end of the field to the other. When the team got inside the 20-yard line, however, the quarterback would pass the ball to someone else to score. Ike might have had all kinds of scoring records if his quarterback hadn’t been so generous in the red zone.

“Franken-Storm” Sandy — my heart goes out to the tens of thousands of Americans who lost so much in the monster storm that hit the East Coast just a few weeks ago. These natural disasters seem to be happening more often, in unexpected places, and with greater severity.

People who continue to insist such disasters have nothing to do with climate change (often called global warming) need their heads examined. In most cases, I’m certain nothing would be found.

Romney’s loss explained — I recently heard Gov. Romney explaining to an audience why he so badly lost the election. He sounded like a prizefighter complaining that the only reason he got knocked out is because the other guy threw too many left hooks, right hooks, uppercuts and body blows.

Grading schools — I read the recent THB report on the new practice of giving schools A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, or F’s to show how our schools are doing. I’m no “expert” in the field, but common sense tells me this is a lousy idea. Too many variables.

Policymakers should talk to a teacher or two, and spend at least a month in a classroom with 30 or so teen-agers. Maybe then they would come up with ideas that make sense.

Early Childhood Education — I read where one Indiana county passed a referendum to increase taxes to provide for early childhood education as part of the strategy to improve their schools. What a novel idea!

More money for schools! Early childhood education! Where on earth did they get such ideas? Next they will be telling us ice melts when put on a hot stove, or that climate change is real.

Turkey Day — it’s a good thing Benjamin Franklin didn’t get his wish. He worked to prove that the noble turkey, not the bald eagle, should become our national bird.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think bald eagles make for good eating. Plus, they are way too rebellious to roast. Let’s count our blessings.

Have a nice holiday!

Primus Mootry is an Anderson resident. His columns are published each Wednesday.

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