Random thoughts from rockets to Ray Charles

Published 6:24 pm Thursday, January 24, 2019

doubt this kind of stuff keeps you awake at night, but there was a great hue-and-cry in the state Senate when Sen. Renee Untermann, R-Buford, was removed as chair of the prestigious Senate Health and Human Services Committee and assigned to head the Senate Science and Technology Committee, which is akin to going from the political penthouse to the legislative outhouse.

Untermann insinuates it was because she is female. From multiple sources in both the House and Senate (including females), I am told it was because of her bullying tactics during the last session when she was so sure Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was going to be elected governor. She ruffled a lot of feathers in the process. Still, all is not lost. If Georgia ever decides to send a rocket ship to the moon, she’ll be in the catbird seat.

Oh, Lord. You may recall that I wrote a column about taking Cameron Charles Yarbrough to the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center in New York. I said I wasn’t sure I would qualify for the heaven that is owned and operated by God, but that the trip was about as heavenly an experience as this sinner could ever hope for. That precipitated a couple of unsigned letters suggesting I repent and get to know Jesus.

Every year I get at least one request from someone who wants to share my annual letter of advice to Cameron Charles Yarbrough, (he who gives meaning to the word “great,” as in great-grandson) with their own children or grandchildren. Only they want the letter to look as though it comes from them, not me. That is fine with me. I don’t consider that as plagiarism. I consider it a compliment. Hopefully, the advice will be of value to the recipients, just as I hope it is with Cameron. 

Where have I failed? Jim Galloway, the longtime political columnist for the Atlanta Newspapers, noted that in Gov. Brian Kemp’s inaugural address, Kemp referenced a group of “men and women … who poured the foundation for us,” including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, baseball great Hank Aaron and UGA’s Herschel Walker, as well as entertainers Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Gregg Allman. Galloway opined that “save for King, none of those names are likely to be on the tongues of anyone under 35.” Say what? Is there anyone in our state who is not familiar with Ray Charles Robinson, of Albany, Georgia? The greatest singer in the history of the world? Shame on them.

They don’t deserve to hear his heart-stopping rendition of “Georgia on my Mind.” Ship them and their tongues to Vermont. 

Remember me telling you about Jordyn Moore, an autistic teenager in Forsyth County whose family decided to provide her some job skills by teaching her to fold and package T-shirts? The initial plan was to produce about 40 with the line “Be Kind to Everyone” on them. As word of the message got out, 40 turned into 8,000 shirts sold in all 50 states. In conversation with Jordyn’s mom, Jackie, the number is now close to 13,000 and climbing. I have gotten mail from readers around the state who have purchased the shirts for themselves and for family and friends. One person remarked that if we could sell 140 million of them, there would be no war. Amen to that. Keep up the good work, Jordyn.

Finally, it should be noted that Brian Kemp is the second member of the Nu Zeta Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at the University of Georgia to occupy the governor’s office. The other? Joe Frank Harris of Cartersville. There should have been a third. State Rep. Charles Gowen of Brunswick ran for governor in 1954 during the separate-but-not-equal days in segregated Georgia. He was deemed too moderate for the time and Marvin Griffin was elected instead. A shame. He would have been a great governor. By the way, did I mention that a modest and much-beloved columnist is also a Lambda Chi from UGA? Just don’t ask me about the secret handshake. I could show you but then I would have to kill you