Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Neil

Warren Sparrow reports that Neil Jones' memorial service was attended by his many friends and collegues.  He said our class was represented by Jerry and Pat Gaudet, Obie Oakley, Robert Dodge and Bonson Hobson. 
Obie, Robert and Warren all offerred tributes.
This is Warren's tribute: 

First Presbyterian Church, Wadesboro, North Carolina

"Even though we are heartbroken about Neil’s death, today in this
First Presbyterian Church of Wadesboro

place at this time it is our duty to celebrate his life and to say the things Neil did to enrich our lives. I am humbled and grateful to be a part of this event.

Perhaps a brief introduction will be helpful.  Like Neil, I was born in Charlotte and graduated from Central High School in 1954. In my high
school annual he wrote, “To a better man than I.” That was not true in1954 and it is certainly not true 62 years later. But, it made me feel good.

Neil had a way of doing that. In support of my notion of Neil’s special talent, I would like to read a note from one of his classmates who lives in Atglen, a town of one thousand people in the hills of southeastern Pennsylvania.

Dear Holly,

I am thinking about all of you today with much gratitude that I was blessed to know and love your Dad. Your Dad taught me two songs one night sitting in the car in front of my house and I will be singing them all day. Wish so much I could be there, but know I am with you in thought and spirit.

The world has lost some of its luster and I will
forever miss him.


Betsy Villas White

Here is another example of Neil’s knowing what to say and when to say it. What I am about to read is a portion of a note dated May 18, 2016, from one of Neil’s classmates to Holly.

O golly, my dear friend Neil. I was running for something,in high school—student council? Class president? In those days girls ran for secretary or treasurer (probably could have been elected), but we’d had one girl, one time, the year before—Penny
Smith. Maybe it was too soon. Dunno.

Was there a runoff? Already a surprise. But I did lose. To Max Evans, as I recall. And it was Neil who came and found me where I’d holed up to wait the vote count—he may have stashed me there. “Let’s go walk a minute,” he said. And we walked into a quiet place, a stairwell, dunno, and he put his arm
across my shoulders and told me I’d lost. Only Neil would know what to do and how to do it.

You are blessed in your heritage, Holly—you have one hell of a father.

Diana Carpenter White

Diana is valedictorian of the Central High School Class of 1954. She lives in DeKalb County, Georgia, where in 1999 she was named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year.

Those two stories are good examples of Neil’s way of giving a lift to those who needed one. My interactions with Neil were similar in the sense that he knew when I needed help and he was quick to provide it.

In 1955 after we had completed one year of college—Neil at Duke and I at N.C. State—Neil learned that I was transferring to Duke for the 1955 fall semester. Somehow Neil arranged for me to be his roommate in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity housing section. This was a big risk for Neil but one he obviously was willing to take.

When September came, I moved into Neil’s third-floor room in the Beta section beneath the Duke Clock Tower. During the following nine months Neil went out of his way to see that I was welcomed by his fraternity brothers in a way that would have been impossible for me to do on my own.

He was the driving force behind my being invited to join the fraternity. In a word, Neil went to bat for me. He convinced a fraternity packed with skeptical Yankees that I would be an asset to the group.

The rest is kind of history. I joined the fraternity, learned to appreciate Yankees and six years later I met and married a Yankee whose father taught Billy Graham at Wheaton College.

It was cold and bright on the morning of my wedding. It was 7 degrees in Manchester, New Hampshire. The ground was covered with snow. “The Civil War is over,” I said to myself. Had it not been for Neil Jones, my marriage to a Yankee would not have happened. By the way, it lasted more than 54 years.

Today I thank Neil for making me see things through a different lens.Today I thank Neil for making me see a life beyond what had been comfortable. And, today I thank Neil for making me see the importance of building up others.

Finally, like Betsy, I learned a song from Neil. The tune is not
important. It is these words that stick with me:

     Marching along in Beta Theta Pi,
     Marching along, we’ll rend the air with song.
     Strong in the might of our bond fraternal,
     Friend of the right and the foe of the wrong.

Today in this place and at this time let us remember to “march along” with Neil.

Let us remember to “rend the air with song.”

Let us remember to be “strong.”

Let us remember to be the “friend of the right and the foe of the wrong.”

Let us remember to celebrate the life of Neil Jones, the man Diana says “knew what to do and how to do it.” He certainly did in my case and in yours, too. How lucky we are to have Neil in our lives.

Thank you.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Getting Serious for Once...

What the Hell are these trucks doing rolling down I-81 near Lexington, VA?

These photos were taken on Friday and posted on the Drudge Report this morning.

They are “Tactical Vehicles, with bullet proof glass. What ever could those be for, and why are UN vehicles here, in THIS country?!” Fernando Johnson questioned, while Vincent Sammons noted, “They are sealed against gas too.”

I'm sure our mainstream press is scrambling right now to find out the answer.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Drink Our Beer, or I'll Kill You."

That's not what the commercial actually said....but it was the impression that most people got from the once great Schlitz Beer's last attempt to "stay alive."

Living proof that the US Government is NOT the only bureaucracy that can turn massive success into complete failure in almost no time at all.

Coke tried...and almost did it.

But the number ONE selling beer in the entire country tried it.....and SUCCEEDED spectacularly!

Their sad story is now studied in Business Schools as example of "What NOT to do."

Without getting into the "weeds"......Schlitz started out in a Milwaukee restaurant by a man named Joseph Schlitz in 1856. He was drowned on a voyage back to Germany when his ship struck rocks  and sank in 1875. Control of the brewery was inherited by August Uilein and his three brothers.  The brewery prospered considerably under them, springing back after Prohibition and in the 1940s became the best-selling beer in the United States wresting that title from their chief rival, Anheuser Busch Budweiser beer.

Schlitz stayed  number one until 1957.

Then, Budweiser went ahead.

Robert Uihlein Jr. Schlitz CEO

To cope, the Uihlein family (relatives of one of the founders)  began small measures, at first, to cut costs, then others in order to reduce "brewing time."  No one noticed at first, but as the company got braver and began to take more cost saving "shortcuts," their customers began to notice. They kept on "salami slicing" their beer until the public did notice. And the end became unstoppable.

Their last ditch effort was an advertising campaign featuring  an aggressive looking actor "daring" people to "Take away my gusto."

Instead of amusing customers, it turned them off.  It became to be called "the drink Schlitz, or I'll kill you" campaign.

The once great American Beer is now in the dustbin of history.  Or, to be technically correct, it might as well be.

A Detroit company, Stroh Beer, actually bought what was left of Schlitz in 1982 for 500 million dollars.  But the debt was too much for the small Detroit company to absorb, and they went belly up not long afterward.

Pabst finally wound up owning the Schlitz name and I understand are brewing Schlitz using the original formula.

But, in my opinion, it's too late to try to put Humpty Dumpty, or "The Beer that made Milwaukee Famous"........ back together again.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Being There

Friday, June 17, 2016

Where Did the Dark Go?

I didn't even know it had left.  But according to the just released "New World Atlas of Artififial Night Sky Brightness,"  one third of the human population cannot see the Milky Way at night due to the glow of artificial lights.
They call it "Light Pollution."

"Moreover, more than 80% of the world’s citizens and more than 99% of those in the U.S. and Europe live under an artificial sky-glow, or reflected light scatter in the atmosphere from the electric lighting below. This isn’t just a problem in megacities and urban areas. For instance, Death Valley is awash with skyglow from Las Vegas and Los Angeles, which are 80 and 150 km away, respectively.
“There’s almost no place in some of these countries that looks dark anymore, at least by this atlas’s estimates,” said Christopher Luginbuhl (Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition).

USA at night

Well, I know of one country Christopher could go to and live and never be bothered by "horrible light pollution:"

North Korea at night (Circled in white)


Monday, June 13, 2016

Pigeons Aren't Pigeon Towed

...but many of our greatest athletes are.

Say what?

Yep, that's what I discovered. The reason people with their toes pointed inwardly, rather than straight (Technical term: Matatarsus Adductus) are called
"pigeon toed" is because of the slightly different different way they walk...similar to the way a pigeon walks.

And the reason it's called that .

In other words, Pigeons aren't pigeon towed...they just walk that way.

Get it?

(Talk about great writing........this ain't it.)

Many people are born with this handicap but are able to lead normal......


Many of our top athletes are pigeon towed.....(Michael Jordon, Jackie Robinson, John Elway, etc.) and currently one trait the NFL scouts are looking for in new recruits...PIGEON TOWED players!

And here is the best explanation that I could find:

"People who are pigeon-toed may be able to contact the ground with less energy dissipation and as a result be able to apply greater propulsive forces to the ground in a shorter period of time. A good analogy would be that pigeon-toed athletes are like super-bouncy balls- they get on the ground and get off the ground quickly without losing much energy. People who are not pigeon-toed are more like a deflated beach ball- their foot lacks the stiffness of pigeon-toed people and as a result the energy return is not as efficient."

Makes sense to me.

And speaking of pigeons, many consider them a nuisance, especially in our crowded cities where they nest on building ledges and other man made structures and are not very good housekeepers.

But, all in all, they have worked well with humans, particularly in time of war.

According to the experts:

"Nearly all of the carrier pigeons during World War I and World War II were heroic, delivering important messages over enemy lines. 

Cher Ami

"On October 3, 1918, Major Charles White Whittlesey and more than 500 men were trapped in a small depression on the side of the hill behind enemy lines without food or ammunition. 

They were also beginning to receive friendly fire from allied troops who did not know their location. Surrounded by the Germans, many were killed and wounded in the first day and by the second day, just over 190 men were still alive. Whittlesey dispatched messages by pigeon. 

The pigeon carrying the first message, "Many wounded. We cannot evacuate." was shot down. A second bird was sent with the message, "Men are suffering. Can support be sent?" That pigeon also was shot down. Only one homing pigeon was left: "Cher Ami". She was dispatched with a note in a canister on her left leg,

"We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven's sake, stop it."
As Cher Ami tried to fly back home, the Germans saw her rising out of the brush and opened fire. For several moments, Cher Ami flew with bullets zipping through the air all around her.

 Cher Ami was eventually shot down but managed to take flight again. She arrived back at her loft at division headquarters 25 miles to the rear in just 25 minutes, helping to save the lives of the 194 survivors.

 In this last mission, Cher Ami delivered the message despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood and with a leg hanging only by a tendon.
Cher Ami

Cher Ami became the hero of the 77th Infantry Division. Army medics worked long and hard to save her life. They were unable to save her leg, so they carved a small wooden one for her.

 When she recovered enough to travel, the now one-legged bird was put on a boat to the United States, with General John J. Pershing personally seeing Cher Ami off as she departed France."

Pigeons achieved a 98% success rate in the missions flown in WW II, despite enemy fire, and often with mortal injuries to themselves.  Cher Ami (stuffed) is on display at the Smithsonian in Washington. She was thought to be a male...until the taxidermist at the Smithsonian discovered differently.


Friday, June 10, 2016

"Well, Shut My Mouth!"

I came across an article on Al Gore's amazing internet titled "Southern Expressions."

Like all of us who grew up south of the Mason Dixon line, I thought I had heard them all.

I think my favorite one is "Bless his heart."  I like that one best because it has several different meanings. One of which is actually, "Bless his heart."  (Wish him well.)  Or it can also mean, "That Damm Fool."  ...and other things, depending on the circumstances.

Another one that has a couple of meanings is, "Yaw'll Come."   Which means either, "Come back to see me,"  or  "Don't Come back to see me."  It's like having our own secret code.

The article I saw mentoned a few pretty good ones that I had never heard:

A whistling woman and a crowing hen never come to a very good end. (be who you are)

As easy as sliding off a greasy log backward. (very easy)

Busy as a stump-tailed cow in fly time. (very busy)

Do go on. (you must be joking)

Don't let your mouth overload your tail. (talking too much)

Every dog should have a few fleas. (no one is perfect)

Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. (doesn't grasp or worry about what's going on)

Sun don't shine on the same dog's tail all the time. (you'll get what you deserve)

One that my Uncle Russel used a lot, whenever the local store owner quoted him a "price".....was,

"Is that the ministerial rate?

Now, my uncle wasn't a minister, he never said he was, but he didn't object when the clerk replied, "Oh, Reverand, "No, for you, the price will be......"
(and quoted him the discounted figure, which he usually wound up paying.) 

This only works in the South.

I do declare!


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Thoughts and Prayers Needed

for our classmate Betty Bowers Shue.

Betty's husband, Jim writes:
"I thought I would let you know that my wife, Betty Bowers Shue, is to have Open Heart Surgery  to fix a leaky valve and three bi passes.  The surgery is to be on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at 9:30 am.
We will be thankful for any and all prayers.   Will try to keep you informed of progress.
Jim Shue
Jim's correct email address is     

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

No Good Deed Goes...

By Obie Oakley

...you know.....UNPUNISHED.

 When I got the distress call from Warren, I immediately went into action.
, I spoke to Neil in the hospital and he wanted an electric razor.  His instructions were for me to go to a Wal Mart and buy the least expensive one I could find. He said he was feeling like Rutherford B. Hayes!

   I was thinking, "This will work, I have a $50 gift card donated by one of the Wal Mart managers and would just use that".  I checked for the nearest store and learned on their site that it was way out Independence Blvd.  After braving construction work and  gridlock traffic, I found out that it was a "grocery only" store.

Then I recalled that one had relocated to a site close to the old Coliseum.  Sure enough, there it was.  Question, have any of you ever been to a Wal Mart on a Sunday afternoon lately?  Not only that, it was Mothers Day.  If you want a cross section of humanity, try it sometime.  Jammed with some of the strangest folks you don't ordinarily see.

     I did find a razor and went to check out and guess what?  The gift card wouldn't work.  OK, I paid for it with cash.

     I was pretty lucky in hitting the traffic and got to Memorial Hospital and even found a parking spot.

     Got the the desk and the "gentleman" informed me that there was no Neil Jones listed.  I went through my spiel about talking to him less than two hours ago and he still insisted there was no Neil Jones listed.
     There was a supervisor standing close by enough to overhear our conversation; she intervened and called the number I had used earlier.

     It worked, she found Neil and told me that he was not in the Charlotte Memorial Hospital but the Memorial Hospital located in Monroe!

     All was not lost, I did get a "Get out of the parking lot" free pass.

     On the way back home I stopped off at Lowe's to get a couple of items and am now safely back home.

     Closing chapter, after getting home, I discovered I had been on this epic sojourn all this time with my fly unzipped.


(Epilogue:  This was on May 8th.  Neil died on June 3rd, 26 days later of pancreatic cancer.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Neil Jones' Obituary

We were all saddened by the death of our classmate, Neil Jones.  Neil was not only one of the most academically gifted students in the CHS Class of 1954, but a very fine athlete as well, performing quite well as the starting center on the Wildcat football team.  He will be missed.

Frederick O’Neil Jones

Neil Jones
WADESBORO, N.C. — Frederick O’Neil Jones, better known to all as Neil Jones, passed away June 4 at Union County Hospice with his loving family at his bedside. He is survived by son, Matt Jones, of Wadesboro; daughter, Holly Jones of Asheville, son-in-law Bob Falls of Asheville, and granddaughter, Gabriela Jones of Asheville. Also surviving are former spouses, Diana Burge of Asheboro and Linda Jones of Wadesboro, who both remained Neil’s friends and confidantes until his death. He also leaves behind four dear stepchildren, Paige Taylor of Raleigh, Ellen Huntley of Norwood, John Dosser of Charlotte, and Katherine Hoover of Raleigh.

Neil, the son of Jake and Margaret Jones, grew up in Charlotte and graduated from Central High School. He attended Duke University on both an Angier B. Duke Scholarship and NROTC scholarship, graduating in 1958. Upon graduation, he entered the US Navy serving 1958-1961 as a Lieutenant. He then temporarily shirked his Blue Devil ways and attended UNC-Chapel Hill law school as a Van Hecke Scholar, graduating in 1964.

Neil and his family moved to Wadesboro in 1964 where he began practicing law with respected attorney and statesman, Pat Taylor. Upon arriving in Anson County, he quickly found his true home. There was no greater advocate for Anson County than Neil Jones. He was involved in many civic projects over his 52 years of residence. A sampling of his service includes, serving as Wadesboro town attorney from 1968-1973, County Commissioner from 2002-2006 and Sandhills Mental Health Board member 2007-2012. He was proud to be a resident in the oldest home in Anson County that dated before the Civil War. In his last days, he spoke about wanting his county to “do things right” and made sure he got the latest Anson County Recreation shirt delivered to him at the Ambassador.

Keenly interested in politics, he was a life-long Democrat although he collected a lot of Republican friends along the way. He served in the North Carolina State Senate from 1970-1972.  His proudest accomplishment as a State Senator was spearheading the effort to develop the North Carolina Emergency Medical Care System, which he championed into creation and was Chair of the Emergency Medical Care Commission from 1974-1980. His final political accomplishment came as a staunch advocate for his daughter Holly Jones’ candidacy for Lt Governor. He was extremely proud that Holly won Anson County in the March Democratic primary.

Neil had a long history of dealing with substance abuse. For decades he tried to use his addiction to help others find sobriety. He cherished his AA community knowing that these friends were among his most intimate and devoted. As Chairman of the Substance Abuse Commission for the NC Department of Corrections (1986-1992), he was the champion for the creation of the DART program (Drug Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment), which continues to this day.

Many will remember him as a boisterous story-teller and indeed he saw this as his greatest God-given capacity. He enjoyed participating in plays and especially playing Winston Churchill, but he did not need a stage to engage an audience.
He also loved reading especially histories concerning the Revolutionary War and Civil War.  Recently, he worked with others to establish historical markers for a forgotten Civil War battlefield in Anson County.  Up until his illness, he was contributing to an article for the NC Historical Review about this discovery. Among his other passions were sports with a special devotion to the Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tarheels. He also loved classical music and was listening to Chopin at the time of his passing.

Neil Jones was a lifelong fighter for those without resources and he worked hard to build relationships across race and class. He was a long-time member and past Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian Church, Wadesboro, where his memorial service is planned for June 27 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Anson County Council on Alcoholism, 2177 Country Club Rd, Wadesboro, NC 28170, to sponsor individuals seeking rehabilitation. The greatest contribution that can be offered to the family are stories about their dad. They can be sent toDhjwnc@gmail.com The ultimate tribute to the ultimate storyteller of Anson County.