Living in the Past

“Why you shouldn’t share recipes on Facebook immediately garnered my attention.”

Recently I posted some vintage family photos on Facebook. A good friend immediately came back saying I evidently liked living in the past. I knew she didn’t mean any harm by her statement and none was taken. It was easy for me to understand why this lady thought such.

Over the years, I’ve shared many old photographs on the site including newer images as well. As a writer, my digging back into personal history often results in a good story being uncovered.

These days, I use Facebook more as a bulletin board than anything. I can post something, and then set my auto-delete to take it off at a predetermined date and time. This software isn’t free but it’s worth the price to me.

Several years ago my daughter advised me not to post political junk. I’d pretty much figured that out on my own. I found it interesting that whenever some folks became offended at one of my political posts, they’d immediately stop liking all my things. I told my wife it was a flashback to grade school.

In fifth or sixth grade, a classmate and I had a playground scuffle. We’d always sat at the same large table during lunch before the fight. Afterwards, friends siding with George sat on one side, and those agreeing with me on the other. This separation lasted perhaps two days before we were all pals.

Over the years I’ve observed one obvious thing associated with Facebook. Posting religious viewpoints ruffles the feathers of some. That hasn’t stopped me from doing such and never will.

According to a blog article I just finished reading, it’s best to not attach pictures of new items that you purchase such as cars, trucks, boats, etc. A poll taken with many Facebook members shows that they consider such as bragging. The last new vehicle we purchased was in 2011. I posted an image of it recently with no negative feedback.

On the flip side of things, according to this fellow’s blog article, photographs showing older vehicles sometimes indicate to select Facebook viewers that the owner is in financial dire. I have no problem with friends thinking that. I’d be more than happy if one of them started a GoFundMe® account for a new Dodge Charger.

Other things you should not post according to this blog author include: thoughts on how to lose weight, medical ideology, moral questions, obscenity, sexist remarks, passwords, job complaints, personal attacks, photos of your kids or your friend’s children, travel plans, humble brags, too much personal information, your actual location, attention seeking posts, gossip, financial investment advice, and recipes. That doesn’t leave a lot to work with other than humorous memes and GIF’s.

Why recipes shouldn’t be shared on Facebook immediately garnered my attention. Evidently online feuds have developed when a recipe was shared, and the dish didn’t turn out as planned.

I found one such case where a person misread steps in a recipe and their cake flopped. They blamed their Facebook friend who posted the instructions for wasted money on ingredients. I jokingly told my wife she’d better be careful in this area.

Perhaps off subject just a bit, but I get asked quite often why my wife, Joleen, and I aren’t Facebook friends. We were for a while until we mutually agreed to defriend each other.

I’m more of an open book on fb while she’s quite reserved. These two traits often clashed. We found it best that she didn’t know what I disclose, although I do generally tell her afterwards. I’m wise enough to not put classified or highly personal data on there.

Going back to that Facebook friend that accused me of living in the past. Well, this is what I wrote her in return,

If living in the past is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!”

I put a smiley face at the end of my statement 🙂

*At the time, my remark seemed a perfect thing to have told that friend. Several nights after writing this I woke being led to what I should’ve said:

“If reliving the past is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!”

Oh, what a world of difference one small word can make!


“But Mr. Hankins, whiskey and tequila are far worse on the body than cannabis.”

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong

I recently read an article saying that some towns and cities are now allowing curbside sale of “cannabis products” during the Copid-19 pandemic. I had to laugh because this is nothing new.

Dope dealers and snake-oil-salesmen have been peddling their wares on street corners going way back. What’s even more humorous is that marijuana’s now referred to as cannabis. That’s a more politically correct definition. Back in the day, comedians Cheech & Chong referred to marijuana as grass, weed, and yes, dope.

Crafty marketing experts under the protection of new decriminalization laws, tout cannabis CBD oil as the cure-all for every ache and pain under the kitchen sink. One television commercial shows a person having an aching shoulder and neck. This young woman smears on a bit of reefer oil (CBD) and she’s magically healed. I’m surprised Flex-Seal guru Phil Swift hasn’t hawked this liquid as a spray on lubricant for loosening tight knee and elbow joints.

In Needles, California there’s a popular place where addicts legally get their product. The parking lot’s generally filled with patrons. A red-light in front of the joint (pun intended) allows me on occasion to briefly sit and observe lingering clientele. I see the same stoner crowd going in and out of the place that I remember from high school and college days. If a politician or some highfalutin citizen needs a marijuana brownie or a fix, I suppose they send in a flunky to make the purchase.

Advocates claim that cannabis products are badly needed by folks having cancer and other debilitating ills. I’m not saying it isn’t. Medical doctors along with certified pharmacies should be the folks doling it out. What we have though are shady businesses calling themselves of all things, dispensaries. Some even go so far as to refer to things in a medical capacity; generally a red cross highlighting their ad.

Those unfortunate folks having serious illness are but a very small percentage of citizens actually in need of weed. On the other hand, as my late father-in-law often said,

“Potheads will always be potheads!”

When I give my thoughts on this subject some pot advocate will invariably bring up alcohol.

“But Mr. Hankins, whiskey and tequila are far worse on the body than cannabis.”

These reefer experts conveniently avoid the marijuana word.

I have a well-rehearsed reply for them and it goes like this.

“We aren’t talking about alcohol, we’re talking about dope!”

That always lights their fire. I could add serious panache’ by finishing off my statement with the words, “you dope”, but thus far have held back.

A friend of mine recently purchased CBD oil to try on his aching back. The manufacturer guaranteed this salve would not register positive should a drug test be administered. My friend turned in an application for employment at a local prison after using the product. His drug test came back positive for THC. Tetrahydrocannabinolis, or THC, is the agent in pot that gives users their high.

Unfortunately, he was turned down for employment. When my pal reached out to the manufacturer about what went wrong, an agent told him he must’ve been drinking beforehand. The man doesn’t drink alcohol. What does alcohol have to do with testing positive for THC anyway?

Had he asked me beforehand about trying a marijuana derivative I would’ve said,

“No way Jose!”

Billions of dollars are being made in the cannabis industry. That’s one of the main reasons politicians allowed snake-oil peddlers to sell it. The other reason being, some people in this world have substance abuse problems, and persistent lobbyists went to work for them; at a steep price of course. Making dope legal to purchase and use keeps these folks out of jail.

I once had a young woman tell me to take a hike Mike when she heard my opinion on legalizing marijuana. I had similar parting words for her.

Sadly, there’ll always be people needing some kind of addictive substance to get them through the day. Yes, marijuana is addictive. If it wasn’t, Willie Nelson would’ve quit years ago.

I don’t like to judge cannabis users one way or the other. That’s their decision to make. I would like for them to admit one thing. What they smoke or toke is indeed dope.

Cheech & Chong will agree!

Snake oil salesman


full story in the works

In 1994 the Anchorage Icers Midget Hockey Team was invited to play in a tournament at ICELAND in Paramount, California. There photos are from that trip. As soon as more data is compiled a full story will follow.

Coach Lee Van Ness
Jack Knue and Ronnie Jones
Ronnie Jones
David Jones
David Jones
Ken Hickman wrote this to Joleen because she was unable to make the trip.

Since 1940, Iceland has been a practice facility for many well-known skaters including Sonja Henie, Richard Dwyer, Peggy Fleming and Robbie Robertson, just to name a few. Many of its skaters have represented Iceland’s skating clubs in National, World, and Olympic competitions. The Arctic Blades Figure Skating Club members have excelled and won medals for many years and tragically the Club was also represented by five of its members in 1961 when an airplane crash claimed the entire United States World Team in Brussels Belgium. The DeMorra Speed Skating Club has also had exceptional skaters in National and International events. Bill Disney won a Silver Medal in the 500 meter event at the 1960 Winter Olympics and many members have won medals in other competitions. Iceland has gone through many renovations since its opening in 1940 and while it celebrated its 60th birthday in 2000, its appearance is modern and its amenities are designed to appeal to today’s customers.

Bucket of Lard

“At dinner that evening, our server told us it wasn’t wise to venture outside the hotel after the sun went down.”

Washington Plaza Hotel

I was a decent speller throughout my school years. Most likely it came from reading lots of books. There were several times I won our classroom spelling contest. That’s as far as I ever got.

My son Gunnar took after his old man. Not only did “G-Man” win his classroom and school competition, but he went on to compete at the ACSI National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. I was the lucky parent going along as chaperon.

“G-Man” is a nickname we gave him. His mother and I also call him “Mr. G”, and “Big G.” It has to do with with the first letter in his name. The “Big G” moniker most likely comes from lines in a Cheerios commercial,

“Big G, little o, means Go Power!”

I’m sure my son is more than elated his name doesn’t start with o.

Our daughter also has a unique nickname. Miranda to this day is called, “Panda Miranda.” Joleen nicknamed her after a bear and not Panda Express. Pardon me for drifting off subject. Time to get back to the spelling bee.

The year was 1992. Gunnar and I flew from Anchorage International Airport to Washington National Airport (now Ronald Reagan National Airport). I recall walking to a taxicab loading area, and seeing all kinds of expensive cars lined up in a reserved parking lot. There were BMW’s, Jaguars, Cadillac’s, Lincoln’s, you name it. I assume those vehicles belonged to politicians away on business. That left a bad impression on me.

Our taxi ride was another unsettling experience. The man driving the cab wore a turban. That in itself is not unusual. What was discomforting was that he was one of the most unfriendly people I’ve met.

I tried to start a simple conversation, yet he offered nothing in return. It was easy to see that he either didn’t care for his job, or he resented us. I’m a pretty good judge of people and this guy put me on edge. When he glared at us in the rear view mirror, I made it a point to stare his direction as well. I’d been taught that eye to eye contact is good. In this case it eventually stopped him from watching us.

The route this man took to our hotel had me mortified. We drove past parks and derelict buildings where inebriates lined the street. Some of them lay on benches while others were propped up against walls. Garbage was everywhere. The picture was not pretty. It definitely was not something I expected to see in Washington, D.C.

Our cabbie dropped us off at the Washington Plaza Hotel. This was the designated hotel for all spelling bee participants. I made sure to tip the guy in spite of his rudeness. The Washington Plaza Hotel is a great place to stay. Everything was spic and span, with grass and foliage well taken care of. Compared to the Motel-6’s our family generally stayed in, it was quite fancy.

Gunnar and I checked in and were taken to our room. I wasn’t used to anyone carrying my bags. This was the first time I’d come across such. Once again tip money came in handy.

“Mr. G” goes to Washington, D.C. – 1992

That evening we ate a specially prepared dinner with other students and their parents. We were given tickets to ride a bus the following day to areas of interest.

Gunnar and I chose a bus taking us to Arlington National Cemetery. While at this place of homage, we visited President John F. Kennedy’s grave site and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From a distance, I could see Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s stately mansion called, “Arlington House.” Large white columns were visible in foreground. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take a tour.

“Arlington House” from a distance (photo by me).

After several hours at Arlington, our tour bus took us downtown to the Smithsonian Museum. Gunnar was most thrilled in seeing their space display along with aviation exhibits. “The Spirit of St. Louis” hung from a ceiling. This was the airplane that Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927.

What caught my interest out of all the displays, was the SWAMP RAT XXX dragster that drag racer Don Garlits drove to NHRA victory in 1986. I knew this car was at the Smithsonian, yet didn’t realize it held a spot of such provenance at the front door.

On top of the dragster’s cowling were the following words in large letters, GOD IS LOVE. There’s a poignant story a to why Garlits has that saying painted on each of his race cars. This bit of information comes from the Museum of History website:

“The dragster carries a Christian cross and the words “God is Love.” This reflects Garlits’ experience in 1959 when, after an accident, his system could not handle pain-killing drugs. In severe pain, he cried out, “Lord help me,” and his pain ceased.”

“Swamp Rat XXX.”.
I took this photo a the Smithsonian – 1992

Seems I’ve drifted from the story line once again. I’ll try to keep things on my son traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in the ACSI National Spelling Bee a bit more on track.

After a full day of visiting historical places including the Smithsonian, we returned to our hotel. It was starting to get dark, yet we decided to go outside and walk across the street to a corner pharmacy. While inside the store Gunnar and I received strange looks. A couple of rough looking characters seemed to quietly ask,

“What you doin’ in this ‘hood?”

Purchasing our goods, we hustled back to the hotel entrance.

At dinner that evening, our server told us it wasn’t wise to venture outside after the sun went down. We’d already figured that out.

Saturday morning was the beginning of competition. Gunnar seemed more interested in a female competitor than he did the bee. He’d met her during a group get-together that first night. I believe she was from Washington State.

When it was his turn for a word I was as nervous as anyone. I could see my son was too.

The announcer carefully enunciated,


Gunnar was allowed a repeat pronunciation including an explanation of meaning. He asked for both.

Firkin. A pail or tub used in measurement purposes, such as a ferkin of lard.”

My son paused a second before attempting to spell the word. There was unsteadiness in his voice,

F – E – R- K – I- N?”

I’m sorry.” the announcer said. “The correct spelling is F-I-R-K-I-N.”

We flew home the following day. Gunnar was bummed but also happy in having made the trip.

I told him that I’d never heard of a firkin.

“My grandparents called a bucket of lard a bucket of lard!” I informed him.

Joleen’s Grandpa Schweitzer had a shockingly funny description for another bucket filled with different material, yet I kept that one to myself.

Firkin of lard

I saw enough of Washington, D.C. to last a lifetime. Other than not getting to step foot in Robert E. Lee’s home, I was happy. I truly appreciated the unlimited history of the place. What I didn’t like was the feeling of evil lurking within. I get this same queasiness each time I visit Las Vegas.

Ironically, some 24-years later, Gunnar moved to the Washington, D.C. area on a job assignment at the Pentagon with his wife Kaye, and their children, Kevin & Grace. The family, along with my wife in tow, were able to take a tour of Robert E. Lee’s home. I stayed behind taking care of our animals. The description Joleen gave me upon her return to Arizona was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity. I have no reason to go back unless of course, one of my grandchildren should qualify for the spelling bee.

*written mainly for my grandkids

“F-e-r-k-i-n?” No, this isn’t Gunnar. I didn’t get a good one of him up there.


“Facebook drama makes you frown?”

Covid-19 got you down?

Social distant from your pals?

Facebook drama makes you frown?

Seems like you’re about to drown?


Financial blues, grab at throat.

Feels like you’re about to choke?

Bills to pay, the money’s gone.

No job as well, what went wrong?


Take a deep breath, gaze around.

God has this, he wears the crown.

Things seem tough, he’ll see us through.

Look to him, he’s watching you.


Wars and turmoil in the past.

Those bad things, they didn’t last.

Spanish flu. Great Depression.

All of them, mere life lessons.


Covid-19 is the same.

No one person, should we blame.

Bow your head and this proclaim,

“I’ll make it through, in Jesus’ name.”


“Someday you’ll find there’s good reason in God making you pink.”

Baby Gus the Octopus

In the Pacific Ocean, many years ago, Boris and Doris Octopus had a precious baby child. They named their tiny newborn, Gus, after Boris’s great- grandfather. Great-grandpa Gus, unlike other octopus in the ocean was born an off shade of white. Friends and family lovingly called him, “Albino.”

Little Gus, like his great-grandpa, was also different from the rest. While Boris and Doris were black in color, little Gus was deep pink. Regardless of this abnormality, Gus’s parents loved him just the same.

As Gus grew older, he was ridiculed by older fish and octopus. They made fun of him because he was different. Gus came home from school one day very, very, sad.

“What’s wrong child?”, his mother asked.

Between tears, the little guy told her what ‘Sid Squid’ called him at recess.

Stinky pinky.”

Doris wrapped her arms around the child and gave him a tender hug.

“Don’t let that bother you.”, she told him. “I too was ridiculed by certain kids!”

Hearing this, Gus wanted to know more.

“Have you not noticed I have nine arms while you and dad have eight?”

Wiping tears from both eyes, Gus shook his head indicating that he hadn’t.

Well, I was born with an extra arm and classmates made fun of me because of it. They called me an octofreak.”

“What did you do?”, Gus asked.

“At first I cried. After several years though, I found I could do more with nine arms than other kids could with eight.

“Like what?”, Gus wanted to know.

“I was champion at playing octowhirl. With that ninth arm I’d give the sea shell an extra twirl! I went on to compete in the Sea Olympics.”

Gus thought several seconds about what his mother said before replying.

“I don’t have an extra arm. I’m just a stupid color.”

Doris corrected her boy about using the stupid word.

Someday you’ll find there’s good reason in God making you pink.”

Several years went by. Gus entered high school and was the brightest kid in his class. Teachers ranted and raved about how smart he was.

“That child of yours is a genius!”, Mrs. Brown told Gus’s parents. “Someday I hope he becomes a doctor!”

Gus did exactly that. He went on to medical school and graduated at the top of his class. Before long, he was the lead emergency room doctor at Orca Whale Memorial Hospital.

One night, a squid was brought to the hospital in serious condition. Two of the squid’s tentacles had been cut by a razor clam. The poor guy was close to dying.

Gus instantly recognized the patient. It was the same Sid Squid who’d called him bad names throughout school. That didn’t stop Gus from operating on him.

Sid Squid

It took several hours before Dr. Gus Octopus along with his helpers fixed Sid’s hurt tentacles. The squid would be okay.

Later the next morning, Gus swam over to his parents to tell them what happened. His father, Boris, was out playing a round of golf with some sea mackerel. Doris Octopus was at home cooking. Gus excitedly told her about saving Sid Squid’s life.

“I’m so proud of you son. I always knew that God making you pink was a blessing.”

Gus wasn’t sure what color had to do with things until his mom finished her statement.

Being pinker made you a thinker but you’re still my little stinker!”

She then gave Gus a big octopus hug along with a slice of freshly made seaweed pie.

The End

Dr. Gus Octopus

*written for my grandchildren


I asked my wife where she got her most satisfaction. Joleen’s answer without hesitation was,”Being around the grandchildren!”

If someone was to ask where I get personal satisfaction these days, I’d say in the garage. Many of my older male friends would echo the same.

I find no real satisfaction in writing. It’s something I do to keep busy, but otherwise the time could be better spent elsewhere.

Many hours can be burned composing a story, article, poem, or whatever. The feedback for this is generally minimal at most. For me, writing isn’t about receiving accolades or attaboys. I do it strictly to keeps the gears turning upstairs.

I asked, Renee Reeves, owner and Publisher of “The Lamar Democrat” newspaper, how she knew if readers liked the junk that her columnists wrote. She had a most interesting reply.

“It’s kind of strange. If subscribers are okay with an article, they’ll remain quiet. If they disagree, you’ll know in an Alabama minute!”

She didn’t actually use the words Alabama minute, but the terminology Renee used did equate to such.

Aunt Dora worked on crossword puzzles most of her 99-years and she was an expert at it. I’m not sure Dora did so out of enjoyment or merely to keep her mind sharp. Perhaps it was a little of both?

In my garage, I create things that get raves amongst the mechanical crowd. There’s something uplifting about fixing up an old car or truck, and then driving it somewhere to have someone give a thumbs up. This silent applause can be long lasting.I suppose artists get the same high whenever they see a crowd gather ’round their artwork.

I asked my wife where she got her most satisfaction. Joleen’s answer without hesitation was,

“Being around the grandchildren!”

I could utter the same but our little ones are a thousand miles away. I asked the same question again, this time informing her that I meant personal satisfaction during the time the grandkids weren’t close by.

It took her a bit longer to answer this go-around. After a few minutes of pondering, she narrowed it down being outside in the fresh air while walking Simon, and afterwards, quietly sitting out back watching and listening to wildlife.

“Rolling Stones” lead singer, Mick Jagger, sings a popular 1960’s song about not getting any satisfaction. The man has eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. That should be satisfaction enough but evidently it isn’t.

I’m sure he’s not into doing crossword puzzles or writing junk, but he’s brilliant at composing music. That leaves me to believe,

“Mick needs a garage!”

There’ll come a day when I have to rely upon writing as a form of satisfaction. The glorious garage days won’t last forever. My back’s no longer able to do the things I could a few years ago because of vertebrae problems. Years of lifting and carrying heavy objects eventually weakened things. Pushing my luck on continuing to do herculean tasks could spell disaster.

The cliche, “Home is where the heart is!” holds merit. I added one final line to that age-old-saying.

“Home is where the heart is. A garage is where satisfaction begins!”

Old man in his garage


“Men and women who make three correct guesses consecutively.”

President Woodrow Wilson (Democrat)

I’ve been watching and listening this past month to self-appointed “experts”, as they point the finger at President Donald Trump for not doing things right during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these so called authorities have as much medical knowledge as SpongeBob SquarePants; maybe less.

A good majority of those critical of the president are Democrat politicians and left-leaning journalists. It might not seem wrong to some, but it does to me, that with an election close by individuals would use a national tragedy to try and garner votes.

During the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, President Woodrow Wilson was in charge of the country. Although 675,000 American citizens died during this outbreak, I found no archived newspaper accounts showing where people criticized him for his actions, or lack of. By today’s standards, Woodrow Wilson was a complete failure as a leader during this crisis.

Had Woodrow Wilson been a Republican, I dare say those Democrats now throwing daggers at Donald Trump, would also be calling for the exhuming of Wilson’s grave. Some of them would go so far as to ask for a public hanging until the dead man’s bones were thoroughly bleached white.

I’m not an expert on anything! A while back I read where a gun collector mislabeled me as an authority on Sharps & Hankins antique weapons. I had to chuckle. Years ago I told this same man that I owned a few of the guns. If that makes me an expert, then the title is meaningless.

A friend gave me a perfect definition for expert:

“Men and women who make three correct guesses consecutively.”

Here lately, I watch less and less news because of all the hate and anger geared towards our president. Hearing such riles my feathers. I’ve always tried to follow the guidelines,

“Don’t knock a person when he or she is trying!”

There were times I’d like to reach into my TV and grab a complaining politician or news reporter by the hair. Bob Costa is at the top of my list.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether President Trump is doing things right or wrong. These are mere personal beliefs and there’s nothing wrong with such.

Most all Clint Eastwood fans should recall “Dirty” Harry Callahan’s rather crude definition for the word from his 1988 movie, Dirty Pool.

“Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one!”

There is serious problem in having an opinion on a subject, and attempting to come across as an expert. It seems some liberal politicians and reporters are trying to become experts at intertwining the two!

SpongeBob SquarePants – Contagious Virus Expert


“Brother Hankins, I’m sorry we ran out of chicken and hot dogs. I see you haven’t partook of the goat?”

Looking in a rear view mirror to “The Great Depression” and other strange things.

My parents grew up during “The Great Depression.” Dad rarely talked about it, yet mom did until the very end. She always warned my brother, Jim, and I that it could happen again.

Mother told stories of harvesting the fields at her parent’s small farm in Vernon, Alabama during that time. Working alongside her older sisters, they picked cotton and helped tend a garden for food. Whatever produce they managed to raise in abundance, the family traded it to nearby neighbors for items they didn’t have.

Mom talked of going without where new clothes were concerned. The girls made their own dresses out of flour sacks. Hand me downs or clothing given to them was never questioned. In spite of bad times, the photos I’ve come across show them smiling and happy.

Some of the stuff she mentioned them eating didn’t sound appetizing to me. Squirrel, possum, goat, crow, chic peas, to name a few. I always figured mom was pulling my leg about eating goat and crow. She said if you didn’t eat what was on the table, you went without. There were no fast-food restaurants down the road for backup measures.

She mentioned how hard it was in getting to school. During her earliest years mother walked to a one-room school with her older siblings. In high school years, she rode in the back of a truck converted into a student transporter. Mr. Turner would pick them up at the bottom of Haynes’ Hill on Old Highway 17.

During one of those winter trips the vehicle became stuck in the middle of a muddy road. They had to sit and wait until a tractor came along and eventually pulled them out. It was bitter cold that morning. The students were all shivering by the time they reached their destination.

I loved telling my kids about my school days. Gunnar and Miranda went to a private Christian school. They had no idea about riding a bus because there was none. I try to interject humor into my recollections. Remembering mom’s tales of woe about school transportation, I added some literary spice to my experiences.

“We had to walk a quarter mile to the bus stop. During winter, sometimes the bus would be late. We nearly froze to death on several occasions.”

The tale somehow got back to my mother and she asked me about it. When I told her I was merely stretching things a bit to make things more interesting, she gave me that not amused glare. To this day I still don’t know which child snitched on me.

I recently came across an old newspaper article regarding the Free Will Baptist Church in Vernon. This is one that my parents attended including my grandparents and great-grandparents.

The church women were having a BBQ on Monday, a day after the Fourth of July. Back then, in most all Alabama towns, church services took precedence over any holiday should the festivity fall on a Sunday. Times seem to have changed.

Free Will Baptist public invite

Reading the aged The Lamar-Democrat newspaper invite, I was able to place myself at this event via a good imagination. In today’s world, we’d refer to such as a virtual visit.


Pastor Warren: “Brother Hankins, I’m sorry we ran out of chicken and hot dogs. I see you haven’t partook of the goat?”

Me: “No sir preacher, I’m a vegetarian!”

Pastor Brown unleashed a piercing stare, knew that he’d caught me in a little white lie. Seeing the seriousness of my blunder, I quickly corrected things.

“Well…. at least I am today!”


I pray we don’t enter another great depression after this Covid-19 pandemic. That’d be a sour way to finish out these final years. That perhaps sounds a bit selfish on my part.

I do think this will be a good lesson for many young folks. Just as mom tried to teach my brother and me, some will now see fit to save money for rainy days, including put extra food aside for emergencies. Many will even learn to eat what’s on their plate without complaining, whether they like it or not.

Perhaps the appreciation of simple things like board games and mere conversation with family and friends will once again reenter people’s lives.

The smart ones will learn from this I’m quite sure!

Scene from “The Grapes of Wrath”