Commonwealth Journal


June 21, 2014

Without the past, there is no present


Then, on Father’s Day, I wrote out a thoughtful message about my father and two grandfathers to share with my friends on social media, reflecting on what they’d done for me. I recalled how Meriel helped mold me who I am today. He instilled in me my love of working with words.
By the time I was age 5, just old enough to fully appreciate him, my grandfather had grown sick with a sudden lung disease — not the result of smoking or exposure to any dangerous environment or anything so expected, but by mere cruel fluke. As it became difficult for him to get even out of bed, I would lie next to him as a child and we’d spend quality time reading, writing in his diary together, or making up stories together. I distinctly remember dictating to him tales of the wolfman and Frankenstein (Thornberry’s toy store in the mall had Universal Monsters action figures that I was into at the time), and he would pen the stories onto the page. Without him, I would not likely have become a writer as I am today.
With all of this on my mind, on Thursday night, I dug out a couple of his old diaries, which he’d used to take an account of each day with little else to do as he spent the last years of his proud, accomplished while bound to his bed. 
The first entry was on Christmas Day, 1985, when he received the diary as a gift from Thelma. The days that followed were full of ups and downs. The sickness was still new to him; the earliest entries showed him resolved to fight it, so often finishing an entry with, “Tomorrow will be better.”
He kept the scores of University of Kentucky football and basketball games, and remarked on when the team played exceptionally or poorly. He noted each phone call and visit he had with old friends and family, particularly with my father and I — observing when Dad sounded “jubilant” or I was “unusually quiet.” He was especially proud of me, his only grandchild, and marveled at my ability to read at that age and the things I’d say, as any proud grandparent would. (One amusing entry told of me proclaiming that I would be a “rich man” one day; clearly, I wasn’t anticipating going into the newspaper industry at that time.) He talked of driving to Louisa and having a Thanksgiving feast with his family, what a gloriously scenic drive it was — and how he’d stayed up all night before, racked with doubts and fears as any person facing illness toward the end of his life might.

Text Only
  • mug shot.jpg Batmania arrives at Somernites Cruise

    What excellent timing. Last week, the real Batman (that would be Adam West), the real Robin (that would be Burt Ward) and the real Catwoman (that would be Julie Newmar) converged on the Comic-Con in San Diego to promote the long-awaited DVD/Blu-Ray release of the beloved Batman ABC-TV series, which ran from 1966-68.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Stanziano left behind a grand legacy

    It should be no surprise that Mark Stanziano was an Oakland Raiders fan. Back in the day, Raiders owner Al Davis always looked for the good in a football player— regardless of their sometimes less-than-sparkling reputation.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • The great Hobby Lobby debate
    It’s a common joke among those of us in the libertarian set that liberals are pro-choice when it comes to reproductive rights — and anti-choice when it comes to everything else.
    Rarely is that borne out so much than in the Hobby Lobby contraceptives case.

    July 4, 2014

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Without the past, there is no present

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Political correctness is running amok

    Once again, political correctness is running amok. This time, it’s the bureaucrats in Washington trying to force Daniel Snyder to change the name of his National Football League team.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg 20 years since the fall of a national hero

    If you were a child of the 70s, you probably were a fan of O.J. Simpson. The angular running back with smooth-as-silk moves and power to boot was the first African-American athlete who really transcended racial barriers.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg A little guidance on the safety of our teens
    If you’re the parent of a teen, there’s good news. Your child is less likely to drink and smoke these days, and less likely to fight at school. Unfortunately, they’re also likely to text behind the wheel when they reach driving age, and they’re much more immersed in video games, the Internet and their handy smartphone.
    These results were gleaned from a test of 13,000 U.S. high school students last spring. This survey has been conducted since 1991.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coal can’t be king in Kentucky forever

    “We’re going to be screwed no matter what,” a mechanic in Wooton, Ky., told me last year. We were talking about the coal industry and how it might be regulated in the future.

    June 13, 2014

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Grads leave high school well-prepared for life Tonight, the current crop of seniors from my high school alma mater receive their diplomas. ‘Tis the season for graduations, and Somerset High School will be saying goodbye to the class of 2014. Next weekend, Pulaski County High School and Southwestern High School will do likewise.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Grimes needs to take a firm stand on Obama Alison Lundergan Grimes is in a really tough spot. First of all, she’s squaring off against a GOP juggernaut in longtime U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall. And, secondly, she finds herself linked to the most unpopular president ever in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Instead of taking a firm stand on her feelings on President Oba

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide