Radio Blessings on the Road to Austin

Topeka Capital-Journal
March 26, 1993

AUSTIN, Tex. – You will be pleased, I am sure, to learn the Snider family father-and-sons safari is over. It ended where it began, in the New Orleans airport. I delivered Steve and Kurt for dawn flights home, and we had a final cup of coffee, resisting the feeling the occasion called for a farewell milk punch or Ramos gin fizz.

We spent our last two nights together in New Orleans, after visiting Natchez and Vicksburg. We finally got our fill of oysters and blackened this and blackened that, better known as napalm cooking. No wonder the natives are called Ragin’ Cajuns.

While Steve and Kurt flew home, I headed for Texas to join my annual golf outing. I left the Deep South the same way I entered, motoring along in my elegant Edsel II and listening to radio evangelists.

It wasn’t that after a spell in New Orleans I felt the need to repent. It’s simply the fact I like to listen to radio preachers, and in the South you can find them all over the dial, day or night. They are entertaining, and a few have a sense of humor. Continue reading

Bucket List, Pails in Comparison

Topeka Capital-Journal
Dec. 19, 2005

I have been given a list of “20 Things You Should Do in This Lifetime” and it appears if I had intended to do all of them I should have started sooner. Maybe you should have too. Here’s the list and some comments.

1. Visit the country your ancestors called home. I’ve done that. I’ve been to England, Ireland, Holland and Germany, and didn’t see anybody I recognized. All I really know if that my mother came from Nebraska, by way of Indiana, and my Dad from Kansas, also by way of Indiana. I’ve been to those places too and didn’t see any monuments to Shively’s or Sniders.

2. Leave a dollar where a kid will find it. I’ve done that. I also left my car keys where a kid could find them. When the kids were young, the keys disappeared. When they were older, the car disappeared.

3. Fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. No way. I wouldn’t fly over the Shunganunga in a helicopter. They were not meant to fly.

4. Lend money to a friend without expecting it back. I’ve done that countless times, and sure enough, I didn’t get the money back. The friends were my children.
Continue reading

Hole in One, Holes in Stories

Topeka Capital-Journal
Sept. 18, 1985

You probably aren’t going to believe a word of this, but it is all true:

It was in World War II, and I was taking the physical examination that led to the Navy. It happened that one of the guys in line with me was a friend named John McGraw. Not the baseball immortal, just a friend.

When the time came to give a urine sample, I was having a problem, but John obviously wasn’t. I asked him to take my little jar and fill it. He obliged. An hour later I was in the Navy.

A month later, I was at a naval training base and was called to the hospital. I was told to give a urine sample and to wait while they checked it. Later came the questions.

Did I have a family history of kidney trouble? Was I ever treated for blood in the urine? Sugar? Wet the bed? I played dumb because the doctor didn’t seem the type who would appreciate the truth. “I don’t understand this,” he said. “Come back in a week.” Continue reading

Augusta has mastered the art of making a buck on golf

Shawnee hatTopeka Capital Jornal – 1998

LITCHFIELD, S.C. — Our route to South Carolina took us through Augusta, Ga., scene of this weeks’ Masters golf tournament and probably the greatest financial bonanza of all the country’s sports events. Signs are up all over the place directing “golf traffic,” and to say they’re needed is like saying the Masters is just another tournament.

Fans flock in and they spend great wads of money. Corporations pay up to $15,000 to rent a house for a week while the owners leave town, and there are about 2,000 such homes available. Hotel rooms that go for $70 on the average jump to $300 and more during the tournament week.

The visitors like to play golf as well as watch it, and local courses other than Augusta National, where the Masters is played, welcome them, sort of. Greens fees that normally are in the $30 to $50 range soar to as much as $500 per round, and tee times are hard to get.

Restaurants put away their regular menus and use special Masters menus that have fewer items and Paris prices. Souvenir prices are out of sight, but few leave without some of them.

The Augusta convention bureau says that during this week there will be 10,400 visitors in the city’s hotels and motels, another 8,000 in private homes, and about 25,000 driving into town each day. They will pump $109 million into the Augusta economy. 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