How about, “Proving journalism is the last refuge of the vaguely talented?”

(Editor’s note: During the 1990s, Snider was identified at the end of his twice-weekly column in a blurb that called him simply “a local retired newsman.”)

Topeka Capital Journal
April 30, 1990

It has been ordained that I be identified at the end of these columns, that there be some line there explaining who I am, in case somebody might be wondering. It is a good idea. You have every right to know who is responsible for what goes on here. Continue reading

Millionaires and Me

Topeka Capital-Journal – 1999

Just looking at me and my possessions, you wouldn’t think I was a millionaire, but it so happens I fit the mold — with one notable exception: I haven’t been close to a million bucks since the last time I shook hands with my doctor. Maybe it could be said I was even closer when he pulled on the rubber glove and gave me the examination guaranteed to cure you of being cross-eyed.

Probably because there were no more groups left to study, such as left-handed piano players or pilots with pacemakers, a Georgia State University professor has been researching the affluent for about 25 years, and his main conclusion is that most millionaires shun the trappings of wealth. Continue reading

Alfred Courtney Snider

Alfred Courtney Snider with his niece, Amy Nelson

Topeka Capital-Journal
March 25, 1998

My brother, Alfred Courtney Snider, is a retired naval aviator, and also is retired from Texas Instruments, the semi-conductor giant. I call him A.C., a compromise between Al, as he was known in the Navy and in the corporate world, and Courtney, as the family calls him. He calls me Wretched Ass, close to Richard S.

He has lived in Dallas 24 years, and when I visit my daughter Amy in nearby Southlake we usually get together for a private lunch, no matter what else is going on. The most recent one was last Friday, which happened to be my birthday, and that may be the reason he paid.

Naturally, we toasted this latest milestone in my life’s journey, and other Sniders of note. We were down to third cousins before the gears in his brain loosened up, and, as I had hoped, he told me a war story. Continue reading

When Radio Ruled

Dick Snider
Topeka Capital-Journal

Radio ruled the airwaves for 30 years, just as television has reigned for the last 50, but if you weren’t there at the time it may be difficult for you to imagine a family gathered around a talking box, listening to “One Man’s Family,” Fred Allen, Jack Benny or some other top show. If you were there, you remember this Benny classic:

Holdup man: “Your money or your life?”

Benny: (Silence).

Holdup man: “I said, your money or your life?”

Benny: “I’m thinking it over.” Continue reading

Black History Month perspective

Topeka Capital-Journal

This being black history month, what follows is some black history from a personal viewpoint:

In Oakwood, Okla., where I was born, and in Veteran, Wyo., where I lived for a time as a very young lad, there were no blacks.  But, in Veteran, we learned something about mixing and getting along.  At sugar beet harvest time, many Mexican families came north to work.  They were called “beet toppers” and they brought along young kids my brothers and I played with as both sides overcame the language barrier.

In Britton, Okla., where I did most of my growing up, I remember hearing black people talked about, and always referred to with the “n” word by young and old alike.

Continue reading

Growing Up in Britton, Okla.

Postcard from Britton

Topeka Capital-Journal

In these times of economic turmoil, stock market calamities and energy crises, I enjoy calling a time-out to remember the simple life in Britton, Okla., where I grew up.  Sometimes I think the only person in Britton who ever worried was my mother, who always was worrying about something.

Maybe she had a right to worry.  We moved to Britton in the late 1920s when my dad bought a drug store there.  His timing wasn’t exactly ideal.  Before he could get established in the town of about 2,000, there was the “Crash of ’29,” when the market collapsed, followed by the Great Depression.

Britton survived both.  There were some unemployed men in town, but pretty soon President Roosevelt’s WPA “made work” programs came along, and everyone who wanted to work could, and had a little money to spend. Continue reading