It's that time of year when folks start taking a little bit of inventory about all they have to be thankful for in their lives. Most of us, when we take a few minutes have a lot more going right for us than not.
In my case I'm thankful for my neighbor, Earl Spencer.
Our houses share a front yard. When the grass is growing I usually take care of the mowing end of things. It's not too much work and my wife made me sell the riding mower when we moved because the yard is smaller than what we had. And, she thought I could use the exercise.
The reason I'm thankful for Earl is because he stopped me a couple of weeks ago and said he would take care of the leaves with the vacuum on his riding mower. That was music to my ears. Leaves are a pain in the neck. From my standpoint Earl's got the tougher duty.
Dolph Pritchett is thankful for Jesse Hovis. Jesse and Dolph are backyard neighbors.
A while ago Jesse was mowing the grass in his backyard when he looked down and saw something shiny on the ground. He picked it up and saw it was the head to a golf club. He was pretty sure Earline had not taken up golf, so Jess laid the club head on the fence post.
Some time shortly after that Jesse and Earline were sitting on their front porch when Dolph drove by on his motor scooter. Seeing the couple on their porch Dolph pulled into the driveway.
Dolph began telling them about seeing a possum in his backyard. He said the only thing he had to get the possum with was a golf club. The possum backed up into a corner of the fence and Dolph began flailing away.
He succeeded in hitting just about everything except the possum. On one of those mighty swings he landed a jarring blow -- to the fence. At that point he looked down and the end of his golf club was gone.
"I lost the head to my golf club," Dolph told them.
"Well, I found it," Jesse said, and told his neighbor where to find the missing club head.
Rumor has it Dolph's playing partners were not surprised to learn he missed the possum and hit the fence. For the record, the possum hasn't left the neighborhood.
Dolph has bought himself a BB gun to take care of the varmint. That reminds me a little bit of the line from the Christmas movie, "You'll shoot your eye out." As tough as that old possum's hide is a BB is liable to bounce back and pop Dolph.
Looking at the lines and traffic around, I'm also glad most of my Christmas shopping is finished.
Okay, since it's this close to Christmas I need to also tell you my Christmas shopping mainly consists of giving my wife money and letting her do her own shopping. That doesn't mean she gets the gifts early. I make her wrap it up and put it under the tree.
Sometimes by the time Christmas rolls around she has forgotten what gift was wrapped in which package so she still gets a surprise. And, if something doesn't fit I'm off the hook.
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There's been a lot of talk since the election about doing away with earmarks. That's not the real problem. Were it not for earmarks it's unlikely the expansion of Highway 412 to four lanes would have happened when it did, if ever.
Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson was instrumental in getting money earmarked for the project at the federal level, making it easier for the state to designate its part of the funds for the project.
The problem is federal spending in general. The earmark in a bill says this is where the money is going to go without having to go through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops.
After the initial uproar I think understanding of the process is taking place in the discussion about Transportation Security Administration screenings.
Most folks I've talked to won't mind the screening as long as everyone else is screened. However, I think there is still room for a little bit of common sense judgment on the part of the decision makers at the TSA where older people and youngsters are concerned.
Bud Hunt is regional vice president, publisher of the Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and
North Stoddard Countian.