I have had enough.

Published 10:00 am Monday, September 25, 2023

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I sat down on the bus after the Auburn – California game at Berkely.  It was near midnight and my team had just pulled out a rather ugly win.  A lifelong friend leaned over from across the aisle and said, “I just want to hear you rant and rave”.

I looked at him blankly and he then explained his comment.  He said he had been reading my columns for years.  “Most of them are nice and polite”, he said.  “I want to read something where you just rant from start to finish”.

Upon my return home, I have thought about his comments almost every day.  David Maxwell, the editor of the paper I own, Donalsonville News, and I agreed many years ago that we would not publish car wrecks on the front page.  Our mission was to be optimistic and to lift our community in a positive way.

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Almost 700 columns later, I have decided to follow my friend’s advice.  Despite dozens of hard-hitting columns along the way, here is a list of the things that drive me crazy.

Okra.  I do not like okra in gumbo, Brunswick stew, fried and especially boiled.  It slides down my throat in such a slimy way that I cannot handle it.  Having to pick okra as a child probably has something to do with it.

Liver.  Beef or chicken, it does not matter.  When my mother got tired of our fast-paced life, she would cook liver, gizzards, and okra.  My siblings and I, and even my Dad, would shuffle the food around on our plate until my Mother finally got finished and left the table.  We were more than happy to clean up after that meal.

I used to dislike any preacher that had alter calls that went more than six verses of Just as I Am.  However, I always enjoyed the covered dish luncheons, no matter how many alter calls there were.  Except for the okra.

I disliked Alabama football winning multiple years in a row against Auburn when I was growing up, when my children were growing up, and when I finally retired.  Nevertheless, I rejoice at having been at the “Punt, Bama, Punt”, “Miracle in Jordan Hare” and “Kick Six” games.  Just the mention of those words makes me want to stand up and yell “WAR EAGLE”

I dislike drivers that turn left as the light changes, often resulting in cars in the middle of the intersection.  As much as I love living in Auburn, it is the worst place in the world for this problem.  I usually blame it on students that are from Georgia, or those whose parents went to the University of Alabama.

I dislike fans in any sport, particularly football, that are rude and crude to the visitors from the opposing team.  It is almost worse than politics.  It is okay as an Auburn fan to personally like, eat barbeque, or share a libation with a fan from Bama, Georgia, or even LSU.  Can you imagine Democrats and Republicans tailgating together in today’s world?

Speaking of politics, I dislike that there is no crossing the aisle or seeking consensus.   Moderates are a dying breed and compromise is a dirty word. During my time as a Georgia State Representative, I shared cocktails, snacks and often dinner every evening with members of both parties.  Today, members of each party are unlikely to even have apartments in the same complex, much less break bread together.  This is our collective loss.

I dislike neckties, though I probably owned hundreds at one time.  I wear them to funerals, weddings, and special Auburn events.   Most of my ties are Orange and Blue these days.  I wonder what happened to the many ties I gave to the Salvation Army.  Upon reflection, most of the intended recipients were not interested in neckties at all.

I dislike the divisions in religion, particularly my own Christian religion.  After going through three church splits in three different denominations during my lifetime, I am beginning to understand that WE are the problem.

This is not an extensive list, and I am sure that there may be a few more things that get under my skin.  However, I would be happy if this is all that I can come up with that gets my blood pressure up.

Final thoughts.  Do not lose a lifelong friend over politics or religion.  Remember what made your friendship so important for decades.  A longtime friend is a treasure worth keeping.  

Watch more than one news channel on television.  No one has it exactly right.  Look at different viewpoints and then make up your own mind.  Do not let anyone make your mind up for you.

This column is for you, Trip.  Thanks for the advice.   After venting, I feel much better.