Monday, September 19, 2011


I see this commercial quite often during my daily dose of Daniel Boone on Retro TV and I really like it.

Because we have the two best sons there are, I am often asked "What advice do you have about being a good dad?" (as if I am actually a good dad). Anyway, one of the things I'll say is "Spend as much time with your kids as you can". This commercial reminds me that it doesn't have to being doing what seems "really cool stuff". Just hanging out with your kids is something they'll enjoy and it helps build that strong bond that will last.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Left My Ballard County

I'm reposting this from three years ago in honor of the day..

Monday September 15th was the 24th anniversary of a day that set my life (happily) on a drastic change.

I was a fledging programmer at what was called Martin Marietta then (now USEC) and living in an apartment in Forest Hills. I had gone over to my buddy Jeff Lawrence's trailer (known to this area as Dr. Jeff on WKYQ). He asked if I had plans for the next evening. I said no thinking we were going to have one of our regular marathon Trivial Pursuit matches. He says "Well, you've got a date". I was aghast. "I've set you up with someone I work with at Trader's Mart" (Trader's Mart is a long defunct want-ad kind of paper). He told me I had to go because I wouldn't be allowed to hang out at his place the next night so I reluctantly agreed.

The next day, I went with my friends Keith "Corky" Johnson and Jim Hill to Massac State Park. I sat on the bank of the Ohio River looking and thinking "What kind of idiot goes out with a girl he's never seen before?".

The hour approached and I headed out to meet her at Trader's Mart in my 1983 Trans-Am. All I knew is her name was Donna Woods and she'd be in a black Olds Cutlass.

I got there and the car was there. I watched the door open with apprehension. Out stepped the most beautiful brown haired brown-eyed girl I'd ever seen. I almost couldn't speak. I finally said "I'm Stuart, do you want to see my driver's license to prove it?". She actually laughed at my bad joke.

She wanted to go to McDonalds and eat so we did. She had a quarter pounder with cheese and I had a Big Mac. I saw some guys I knew and I think they were in shock when they saw me out with this beautiful girl.

She wanted to see Grandview USA at the Paducah Drive-In. I was glad to go there since I worked there for years each summer until I started working full-time at Martin Marietta. My boss (who recently passed away) Richard Phillips was at the ticket booth. I guess he was so shocked to see with such a pretty date that he let us in free. He also told me to go to the concession stand and get free drinks and popcorn. Donna told me later how impressed she was when I brought out drinks and a large brown bag full of buttered popcorn.

The whole date cost 5.00 (including gasoline). She even shared my frugality beliefs! I was enthralled...

The night went great and she even agreed to see me again.

The next morning as I was getting ready to go to church, my phone rang. The caller introduced himself as the "Ballard County Sheriff" and he needed to talk to me about an incident last night. The girl I had gone out with was from Ballard County. My main experiences with Ballard County were to go to the "Game Preserve" (as my Uncle James called it) to camp with my family and a visit to the "Green Palace" (which was really really Green) to watch Lone Oak play in a district basketball tournament. I remember all the kids there blew duck calls the whole game. Anyway, I thought "Oh man, she didn't make it home and now I am the last one to see her and the main suspect". It turned out that they had picked up a couple of guys I know as they came off the Wickliffe bridge and they wanted me to vouch for their idenities.

For reasons I'll never understand, she kept going out with me. We've been married 22 years. She still laughs at my bad jokes. I've worked at "Martin Marietta" for almost 25 years. We drove that black Olds Cutlass til it wouldn't run any more. I've lived in Ballard County for 16 years now. I still order a Big Mac when I go to McDonalds. And I couldn't be happier....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ugly in Nashville..

When we found out last year that Western Kentucky's game with Kentucky would be played at LP Field in Nashville, Jonathan and I figured we would go. We knew we could easily get there in a coupleof hours. When schedule came out, we saw the game was on Thursday instead of Saturday. Jonathan doesn't have class on Friday and I knew I could take vacation so we decided we'd still go. The game time was 8:15pm which was late, but was OK for us. When the tickets went on sale, I went ahead and bought us club seats. I knew it was going to be hot on the first day of September, so I wanted us to be able to go into an air conditioned area if need be. I bought a parking pass for one of the LP lots as well.

As the time got closer to the date of the game, I kept hearing that ticket were not good. The hope was 45,000 but it looked like 30,000 was the best they'd draw. I picked up Jonathan at WKCTC and we headed out. We stopped at Zaxby's for dinner in Clarksville. We got to the stadium with no problem. The crowd was low. We had no trouble parking. We got into to the club level and it was great. The area was air conditioned. There were numerous TVs showing various football games. We were on the front row of the club section on the 10 yard line, so our view was great.

The game started and it wasn't so great. UK got the ball first and was stuffed and went three and out. Neither team could do much. All I'd heard all summer was how great the UK offensive line looked and how much better QB Morgan Newton looked. Neither was apparent here. UK couldn't do anything on offense. They had 35 total yards in the first half. A Newton interception set up a WKU field goal. The WKU QB Jakes was just as bad. His interception set up the only decent run by UK (by freshman Josh Clemens) for a TD. UK somehow lead 7-3 at the half. The lower half of the stadium wasn't even full. The whole place just seemed dead

The half time was nice. The Club area had plenty of cushioned chairs and couches. Jonathan and I had a seat and watched Louisville finish off Murray State 21-9. There was much complaining by the UK faithful. I was tempted to ask Mitch Barnhardt for a refund myself :-).

The second half wasn't much better. Morgan Newton litterally sacked himself bringing many groans from the UK faithful. He threw two more interceptions. The UK defense kept holding WKU off. Ryan Tylachka kept getting off great punts to bail UK out. The game was still 7-3 heading into the fourth quarter and we were worried. Finally, with about 6 minutes to go, UK made a couple of big plays. Morgan Newton took off on a scramble and ran for 58 yards. A couple of plays later, he made a beautiful pass to La'rod King for a touchdown. We felt a lot better with a 14-3 lead. UK's defense kept up the heat and UK ended up with a very fortunate win.

The attendence was 24,000. There would have been that many at a UK-WKU basketball game in Rupp Arena. WKU needs to do whatever it takes to get this game played on a Saturday when UK and WKU play again in 2013. MTSU has first rights to the field and would have to give permission. A lot of people including me are very discouraged about UK football now. If UK plays like this, they'll be lucky to win more than two more games (including probable losses to Louisville, Vandy, and UT for 27th straight time). The defense played well, but I don't know if they can do that against an SEC team. We'll see how things go against Central Michigan at home next week.