Ready for a Bumpy Ride?

I receive a digital copy of the Valdosta Daily Times (our local newspaper) every morning and we also get a hard copy in our driveway. Usually, my wife reads the hard copy, and I look through the digital copy. She says that she doesn’t like to read stuff from the computer monitor, yet, for some reason, it doesn’t bother me at all. I have noticed, though, that when our paper copy gets rained on before we have a chance to pick it up, she will be sitting at my computer looking through the digital copy when I get out of the shower and complaining that she really doesn’t like to read stuff from the computer monitor.

Jan turns first to a couple of columnists that she enjoys. One is the editor of a newspaper in a town near Valdosta. He can be very funny without any off-color stories or without making fun of his wife, the preacher, or elderly people that live in his town. The other columnist she likes to read is Cal Thomas. “He makes so much sense,” she says, “but I hate to watch him on TV. He comes across as egotistical, and I know from his columns that he’s not.”

When I look at the digital copy of our newspaper, the first thing I turn to is the obituaries. I forget who said it, perhaps Mark Twain, “I turn first to the obituaries to see if I’m there.” I’m not so clever that I was able to invent a line comparable to that one. First I look at the obits to discover if anybody I knew is in the list. Secondly, I check out the ages of the deceased. More often than not, nowadays, I am discovering that people younger than I am are listed. I guess it makes me thankful to still be around at this advanced age.

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lifeYears ago, when Jack Paar had the Tonight show on NBC, he often had a guest named Alexander King. Mr. King had a history of illnesses, cancer, heart attacks, kidney failure…the list went on and on. He always wore a black suit, gray shirt, and a pale pink necktie. He told Jack that he owned only black suits, gray dress shirts, and pale pink ties. The reason for this, he said, was that with his poor health, he never knew when he was going to check out and he wanted to be ready for the morticians. They wouldn’t have to concern themselves with dressing him for his final trip. All they would have to do is tip the ambulance stretcher up at one end and slide him directly into his casket.

Life is fleeting, to be sure, but it is wonderful. I have seen much and I have been many places. I have not had an exciting life, but I have had an interesting one, and for that I thank God and others who have enriched my life and that includes y’all, dear readers. Writing for Eagle Rising and reading the comments people make about my columns–even those that are negative–is a blessing to me. At least people are paying attention to what I am saying for better and for worse, and I thank you one and all for that assurance.

This sounds like a swan song, but it isn’t. With the new year rolling around, I wanted to acknowledge your importance in my life. This is so much fun; I think I’ll just keep doing it forever. Hold onto your hats and fasten your seat belts. I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a bumpy ride.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Harry Livermore

Harry Livermore spent a lifetime teaching English in high schools and junior colleges in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. He now writes for and is editor of the Valdosta Magazine. Harry and his wife Janice live in Valdosta, GA. They are members of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Valdosta. Harry has two sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren who live in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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