My job as a shuttler for Avis Budget has placed me in the midst of some of the heaviest traffic and worst drivers in the area. I don’t claim to be the best operator of a motor vehicle, but at least I have some concept of the rules of the road. With that in mind, I once again will make some suggestions for motorists in East Tennessee.
1.       Car lights aren’t something that manufacturers place on vehicles for decoration. To the contrary, they are meant to be turned on so that drivers can see what lies ahead of them in the road. Sure, many of our larger streets are illuminated with street lights; however, that doesn’t give any person to the right to barrel down the highways in an unlit missile.
2.       Along the same lines, windshield wipers are used to clear the glass in order to offer the best visibility for the driver of a car. At the same time, the law requires that lights be turned on when windshield wipers are operating. As soon as the headlights come on, others can see a car coming, something that is often quite difficult in wet, sloppy weather. Please give it a try for the rest of our sakes.
Too many people haven’t yet found a wonderful feature on their vehicles. It’s engaged by pushing a lever on the column either up or down. When it is used, magic occurs: a small light on the outside of the car on one side or the other blinks. It’s called a signal light, and it gives other drivers a head’s up that a car is changing lanes or turning off. I hope all will begin to use signals and discover how helpful they can be. However, don’t think for one minute that turning on a signal entitles a driver to automatically move to the other lane. That should only happen when other cars are clear of the moving vehicle.
4.       Tailgating is against the law and can result in horrific accidents. If a driver is tailgating me, he will soon discover that the closer he edges, the slower I go. I am in front of you for one of two reasons. First, I am traveling the speed limit and have no plans of exceeding it to convenience you and risk
getting a ticket. Second, other vehicles are in front of me, and I have no way of getting in front of them. Don’t think that I’m going to move over so you can tailgate the next car and bully your way through the traffic. Nope, it “ain’t gonna” happen!
5.       Merging is a lost art in Knoxville and area traffic. The term means that cars move over to open spaces in a lane so others can enter the flow of traffic. Alcoa Highway is filled with drivers who zoom down the pavement in the slow lane and never move over, even though the inside lane is empty. Most of the time, moving over won’t impede a driver’s progress unless he or she is turning into a business within a short distance. Try being a bit kinder and letting others onto the road with you.
6.       The worst thing that drivers around here do is what I call “jump line.” It happens when construction or accidents block one lane of the highway. Too many people think it’s all right to speed up and race to the point where traffic is blocked and then cut in front of others who have patiently waited their
turns. Here’s a piece of advice: don’t cut in front of me because I won’t let you in. You might hit me, but I am not rewarding selfish behavior on your part. If you turn on your signal (Ah! There’s that pesky signal again.), I will be more than happy to let you merge if you’ve waited like the rest of us.

A new year is upon us. I hope all of us will commit to driving safer and being more courteous on the roadways. Simply abiding by the things listed above can make traffic run more smoothly. Oh, one last thing is to remember to buckle your seatbelt. Happy motoring!


I drove with fellow workers from a run to Atlanta to drop off cars and then hopped into a van for the return trip. We gabbed about a variety of topics, but then someone uttered that famous line, “I wonder why…” That set me to mulling over some of the things about which I wonder. Some are more serious than others, but all have at least crossed my mind over the years.
One thing I’m still wondering is why old girlfriends “kicked me to the curb.” No, I never have claimed to be a real catch, but the girls that I liked could count on one thing: I was devoted to them. Perhaps such loyalty made me more like a family dog than a boyfriend. My personality has always been outgoing and friendly (I think), so maybe I lacked enough of the “bad boy” persona. We all know that too many girls go for those kinds of guys because they are sure that the males “can be changed.” I wonder if girls got tired of me because I was too boring, cheap, serious, or ugly.
Another thing that has stayed on my mind is why my daddy died so early in life. Of course, at the time, he seemed old, but 53 is not old. Jim and I were 13 and Dal was 17. It strikes me as not at all fair that Daddy died when we were so young and that his end left Mother with a world of worry and hurt. Neither does it seem right that we lost him so early and that the rest of our lives always had that empty spot, especially during special events like graduations, weddings, and births.
 I often wonder how things would have been different if he’d have survived his cancer. He used to say that our family would do lots of things when he got better; what he had in mind is still a mystery. I also question whether or not I told him I loved him enough while he was here. My fingers are crossed that the answer is yes.
I’ve been blessed with having a twin brother. I always wonder why single children are so happy. Jim and I were inseparable as little boy. We always had someone with whom to play and fight. Without him I’d have spent a lonely existence, although folks say you wouldn’t miss what you’d never had. Even today, Jim and I are close; we’re the only two left from the family. I wonder why I was so fortunate to have a twin and a good friend rolled into one.
The last few years have been sprinkled with the joy of writing. It’s probably no exaggeration that by now my computers have flashed across their screens no less than a million words. Some have been rather bad; some have been better. I wonder why I’ve been unable to become the critically acclaimed, best-selling author I’d planned. Maybe a lack of ability could account for part of the failure; another shortcoming might be the lack of an agent or publisher. What I do know is that Lord blessed me with whatever talents that I have, and I sometimes wonder what I’m supposed to do with that.
Finally, I wonder why Amy ever agreed to marry me. She was three years younger, gorgeous, and smart. Plenty of guys stood in line to date her, but for some reason she chose me. How’d I get so lucky? Over the last 40 years, she’s put up with good and bad and stood by me the entire time. I’m not the easiest person with whom to live, something she attributes to my stubbornness or impulsive actions. Still, she sticks with me and seems to overlook those many faults that I have.

Andy Rooney made the phrase “Ever wonder why” popular. I have no illusions that I could ever add to that. It’s just something that we all do from time to time. I give it some thought but then just get on with life. I don’t understand things, but dwelling on them only will bring on depression or confusion.  It’s easier just to accept them as a part of life’s constant surprises. 


It’s time to reflect upon the 2014. I do that instead of making resolutions, which, in my case, are nothing more than a list of good intentions that rarely are fulfilled. Instead, I reflect upon the past year and try to figure out what I’ve learned. For the last 365 days, the learning curve has been rather
As I’ve discussed several times through the year, I’ve returned from retirement to take a job. No, I didn’t want to re-join the workforce, but circumstances dictated it. The pay is low, but the benefits have been rewarding. I’ve met new folks and made new friends. A van filled with us old guys is a good place to discuss politics, sports, and jokes. What I’ve discovered is I like the routine that’s involved with having a job. I also appreciate the free time I have much more now that it’s in short supply.
Amy and I have learned to live with less. That will happen every time a family’s income disappears. Yes, it is tough, and worries about enough money at the end of the month arise. However, we have learned to cut back. Our decisions as to what we really need have changed. Spending on extras has been curtailed. What we have learned is how to make it. Oh, sometimes we might feel the squeeze, but during the last year, Amy and I have budgeted even more than before and have kept our heads above water.
In the process of cutting back, we have spent much more time with each other. Guess what. We have enjoyed it. In fact, we look forward to evenings when we can sit together, discuss our days, and solve problems that we might face.
I realized over the past year that I’ve not been the best grandparent. The truth is that I don’t do well with little ones. Now that Madden is a bit older, I’m determined to be more involved in his life. We can play kickball and football and baseball. I want to get him to help me work with tools so that he won’t be as helpless as I’ve been most of my life. I also plan to pass along some words of wisdom on a variety of topics, some good and some, perhaps, inappropriate in others’ opinions.
I plan to continue channeling my energies. The fount from which it flows is finite, and I know that it’s important that pour it out wisely. That means that my temper doesn’t have a hair trigger anymore. Instead, I try to breathe deeply in order to diffuse a volatile situation. I also am working on letting go of hard feelings toward others. That means in the coming year learning how to forgive. Just mastering these two things will keep the energy reserve at higher levels.
What the past year has taught me is that change is inevitable. Some of it is good; some of it is painful. The point is that I have little control over most things. I am a traveler through this life who can affect some things but who must accept others. Nothing remains static without ceasing to exist. My job in the coming days is to accept that change and to learn how to live in and with it.
In 2014, I fretted over our misfortunes. I berated God for not coming to the rescue. When I reached the realization that I couldn’t do anything else to change the situation and gave up things to a higher power, life became better. Now I know that God watches over us and cares for us. My faith in Him is stronger than ever before, and I will get out of His way from now on so that He can reveal what path I am to follow.
Unlike 2014, I look forward to the coming year and discovering the things it brings. I am thankful for the family and friends that are in my life. I am blessed with the knowledge that God is present each and every moment. Life is good as long as I keep those three in mind.

I hope you have a blessed and wonderful 2015. Give yourself the gift of enjoying your life to the fullest. Happy New Year.