Minceys Musings

Big Macs and Birth Control

I was talking recently to a lady. In the course of our conversation, she told me that she has two children, one a post high school graduate, the other an early elementary student. I remarked that there was a lot of years between her two children’s ages. She told me that she lost a lot of weight before conceiving her second child. We determined then and there that Big Macs were a good form of birth control.

Beautiful Clichés

It is rarely that anything seems to surprise me. I suppose that is common as one grows older, but occasionally I am reminded that there might be a few surprises yet to come.
I went to the credit union to pay my car payment earlier in the week. I walked in just barely before the lobby closed. I walked up to the only available teller, a friendly young lady who grew prettier in my estimation throughout our brief encounter.

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

While scrolling my Facebook account, I came across a picture of The Lone Ranger. The thought came to mind that even he would not have been politically correct at this time in history—like a raccoon, his mask didn’t cover either his mouth or nose!
Neither would lots of car models from the 1980s and 1990s now be fashionable. How long has it been since you’ve seen a wood-paneled station wagon? Or a car with automatic seat belts?

Sometimes a Light Surprises

Each fall since 2012, with the exception of 2013, I have taught an adjunct course for Walters State Community College. The first year I taught a writing course, but the Tennessee Board of Regents changed the criteria, and I am no longer qualified to teach writing at the community college level. It seems almost ironic that I could write a dissertation for a doctoral program, the equivalent of a publishable research book, and not be qualified to teach writing to a college freshman.

Where’s George?

As I write, it is the peak for fall colors in Union County and the surrounding area. This sun-filled weekend has in particular been glorious. Driving to church with the light filtering through the changing colors was like being surrounded by natural stained glass fashioned by God himself.

The Little Man in the Shelves

A former teacher recently gave me several boxes of books and the promise of more to come. Last Sunday was my fifth Sunday to volunteer at the Union County Historical and Genealogical Museum. I was alone for those four hours (it was no surprise to me that I had no visitors on Halloween Sunday), so I used the opportunity to become familiar with my newly acquired old books.

Stages of marriage

I had lunch with some dear friends today. One was Debbie Gillenwater, currently co-director of the Union County Family Resource Center. Many Union Countians will remember Ms. Debbie as a wonderful first grade teacher at Maynardville Elementary School.

What a Difference One Letter Can Make

It was the summer of 1983. I had just graduated from Union County High School and was waiting to begin attending Lincoln Memorial University in the fall. I knew that I would be living on campus and that I would have a roommate. The college sent me his name, but nothing else. Of course I was somewhat apprehensive about having to live in such close quarters with a total stranger. My concern was greatly alleviated when my future roommate wrote me a letter more or less introducing himself to me. What a difference a letter can make!

A Little Over Fifty-Three Years Ago

Nothing in this world lasts forever. I offer a personal example. In 2009 I had my basement waterproofed. The sump pump came with a lifetime guarantee of free replacement if it malfunctioned. Just this past Thursday the dreaded malfunction came after twelve years. The basement again flooded. The company is going to honor its warranty and replace the pump free of charge, though I will have to pay the service fee, of course.

Mind Your Own Business

I had never seen an episode of Leave It to Beaver until just a few years ago. One thing in the show that I found interesting was Wally’s use of the phrase, “Aw, you’re giving me the business” whenever someone said something that to him was unbelievable.
Now let’s turn our thoughts to the movie version of A Christmas Carol that featured George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. At one point, Scrooge tells the ghost of his seven-year deceased partner Jacob Marley that he was always a good man of business. “Business! Mankind was my business,” the ghost replied.

Advertise it!

After helping my mother put up our humble, four-foot artificial Christmas for a few years, the responsibility was turned over to me. I’m not sure Mother was ever really fond of putting up a Christmas tree. I had an unspoken rule that the tree was to be put up two weeks before Christmas and taken down the day after.

Do You Find This Offensive?

I was on my way to work the other day. I was tuned in to the BBN radio station and heard a preacher tell a joke. A preacher was in the pulpit preaching his sermon. He noticed all through the sermon that a lady kept staring directly at him.
When the service ended, the lady marched up to the preacher and said, “There are frayed strings on your bow tie and they have been driving me crazy all through your sermon. Your attire is offensive to me!”

Write It Right

When I on occasion have the opportunity to look at documents from the past, there are times that I am impressed with the penmanship written by those who have long since departed this earth.

What's Your Sign?

Last week I shared about various signs that have caught my attention throughout the years. Today I continue with that thought.
Several years ago in the Sunday morning service at Loveland Baptist Church the elderly, esteemed Rev. Oliver Wolfenbarger stood and announced his text. It was the same text he had preached on the week before. He said, “I know what you’re thinking—poor ol’ Wolfenbarger, he’s losing his mind, can’t even remember that was what he preached about last week.” He continued, “I know this is the same text I used last week, I just didn’t get through with my message. And I’ll tell you something else. I’m just about as crazy as you all think I am.”

“Bass Ack’ards”

I’m sure most people have at one time or another in their lives heard of a book titled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. It was published in 1992, and is purported to be the ultimate guide to help men understand the opposite sex.
Let me share something with you. I took a class called Marriage and the Family when I was an undergraduate at Lincoln Memorial University. I made an “A”. I have also read the aforementioned book, long before I got married. Neither experience taught me one thing that I have found useful in my own married life.

Pearls Dissolve In Vinegar

I was speaking the other day with one of my nieces. As our conversation progressed, I shared about a particular person who always seems able to irritate me. My niece informed me that this person was my “sandpaper”. Perhaps there is a connection here with the phrase “rubs me the wrong way”. I am grateful that there are few people who have this effect on me, and I hope that I don’t have that effect on many people.


There is a story in my family of an in-law (or outlaw) who stole so many new pairs of shoes from K-Mart that he was banned for life from entering any K-Mart store. I have heard of another reputedly banned from shopping at a certain thrift store chain due to changing of price tags on the merchandise.

At Last

In last week’s article I wrote about “firsts” in life. Also important in life are the “lasts”.
The Scripture records in Matthew 20:16 (KJV): “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” I have over the years attended many meetings and church services. When presenters at meetings or preachers during sermons utter the word “finally” or another similar expression, it seems to have an effect on the audience or congregation. It seems if not another word in the entire presentation excited interest, that one word or expression indicating the end is near breathes new life into a weary group.

Feels Like the First Time

I was recently amused to read the following sentence in a communication from the Tennessee State Department of Education: “Tennessee is preparing to launch its third search in two years for its first superintendent over statewide school turnaround work.”
Honestly, if my wife had been required to conduct three searches for two years to find me one push lawnmower to trim my grass, my yard would have lots more weeds than it did after our fifteenth wedding anniversary.