The Richmond Register


May 11, 2013

That’s just how it is: Part three

RICHMOND — I received a nice congratulatory email from Dick Ham soon after my retirement announcement was published. He understood why I was retiring, but was comforted by the fact that I was in the big chair, seeing that all the variety of operations were done and done well.

Dick and I were not especially close, but we always made it a point to have a conversation when we ran into each other. My most memorable experience involving Dick was a little different in that it was about something in one of his columns.

His columns humor us and educate us each week, but I never thought they would be offensive to anyone. But I guess everything we do or say could be considered offensive because we live in a hypersensitive society.

I guess even Dick’s columns about Bubba or his dumb blonde jokes could set someone off, and they did. I really don’t remember the circumstance or the person who called me, other than it was one afternoon after his column had published. I do recall something happened on the national scene regarding something a celebrity said about women that was offensive or was taken out of context.

I can’t recall, but it think it was either Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Riley. Whatever it was, this lady had had enough. She wanted to know how I could allow Dick to write dumb blonde jokes and then publish it. If we were going to allow him to continue, she said, we should censor Dick’s columns.

I just let her vent for awhile and then explained that newspapers are supposed to inform, education, entertain and even upset people. I explained that Dick was a model citizen for our community and had been a music minister at a local church. No matter what I said, she still didn’t buy it. Eventually, I was able to end the phone conversation somehow without making matters worse.

I don’t know if I ever brought this up with Dick because he is good man, brought humor to our readers every week, and I had never received any complaints about his columns. And it will be the only one unless this column sets this person off again.

Anyway, I hope that Dick keeps on writing about those dumb blonde jokes and stories about Bubba because we all need a little humor in our lives. Besides, as Dick stated in the email to me, he has considered ending the column many times until a complete stranger comes up to him and tells him how much they enjoy his columns.

I was thinking, who could follow Dick Ham in writing a similar column? Who could hold a candle to Dick. Rita Smart came to mind. For many years she was a popular Extension Service columnist until she retired and then was elected city commissioner.

My first personal encounter with her was after she retired as a Madison County extension agent. I believe we met at Community Trust Bank either for a Gallery on Main reception or a chamber after-hours event.

After we exchanged pleasantries, she told me she liked what I was doing with my columns and to keep it up. I explained that’s what local community papers should be doing.

Rita then invited me to become a member of the exclusive KMA Club. (I can’t tell you what KMA stand for, but it’s not the Kentucky Medical Association.) I was honored and told her to sign me up. You will have to ask Rita about the club.

In a recent conversation with Rita, she reminded me of the time I jumped on her case because she voted to pass the city’s budget soon after being elected. I asked her how she could have voted for a budget with numbers that were bogus.

I guess that encounter was sort of a wake-up call, because after that she was a fearless city commissioner on a mission. She was aggressive, demanding and inquisitive. She wanted answers and got them.

She was the breath of fresh air that we needed in city government. I wish her continued success in the state legislature.

And that’s just how it is.

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  • 06.29 CrystalFarewell.jpg Starting over at Head Start

    All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
    I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ike Adams They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days

    I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
    At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
    I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth

    When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
    Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate

    Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
    His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Senate campaign already in full bloom

    Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
    Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
    McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG ‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’

    What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
    Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association

    Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
    Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Hitting the campaign trail

    The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
    We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
    McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case of the scary black cat

    If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
    Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.

    May 10, 2014

  • Ike Adams Basking in the spring sunshine

    If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
    I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.

    May 8, 2014 1 Photo

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