Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Transportation is the important topic again

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Dear Mayor Haddix,

I don’t believe we have formally met, and I should rectify that. But I’m writing now to express my hope that you will be taking your place on the regional transportation planning group with enthusiasm and openness to ideas once believed to be unpopular.

There is a knee-jerk response among elected officials here that regional mass transit is not welcome in Fayette County, that we don’t need it, and that it will bring crime to the area. You are in a perfect position to help dispel those notions and show leadership in bringing Fayette into the 21st century. Read More»

Barred owl a piece of work

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Listen. Hear that? These evenings when it’s cool enough to have a window open, around midnight, take a moment and listen for an owl.

Traffic is light and humans are mostly indoors at this time of day, so one may surmise that an owl feels safe enough to come out and vocalize in the quiet darkness. Step outside and listen.

What a piece of work an owl is.

Let me introduce to you one of the really interesting members of the bird family, Strix varia, or the barred owl. Colloquially he is called a hoot owl; I call him a hootie owl. Read More»

Life isn't always manageable

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This week’s column is highly personal. If “personal” bothers you, stop reading now. I intend this to celebrate the power of a single word: Manageable.
For the first few years, I wouldn’t call my demon by its rightful name. When you may be in the grip of an incurable disease, what’s a little denial? Can’t make things worse or better. Read More»

‘Our Family Serving Your Family’

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Call it a motto or a mission statement, the C.J. Mowell, Jr. family lives it, and has since 1964. C.J.’s late father was the Carl J. Mowell in the company’s name, and C.J. was the son. Now a third generation is the son, David. Read More»

Airplanes and peaches

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“One day is just like another when you’re retired and it’s too hot to do anything outside.” Dave speaks from the couch, where he reads between naps. His daily outing is Driving Miss Sallie to work out at Curves, by golf cart.

So when he said he wanted to drive to a small airport about 25 miles south, I felt obliged to keep him company. After all, it was Saturday and I was tweaking the column I had started, due Friday. I was practically done. I could afford to take a break. Read More»

A Rose by any other name...

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In Sunday’s paper, two adorable little blondes in frothy blue dresses are seen rollicking in puddles after a rainstorm. They were at a Butterfly Festival, and could almost be taken for butterflies themselves.

The photo drew me in, but their names held my attention. The 5-year-old is Happy and her 2-year-old sister is Coco Bluebell. At least that’s what the cut-line says; I hope they are real. They are unusual without being cumbersome and should stand up to use for years. Read More»

Some things I don't understand

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For the life of me, I don’t get why technically savvy people recommend dusting the insides of a computer with propellant-driven canned air. Maybe it’s because they’ve never been household engineers, a.k.a housewives.

Any household engineer knows that blowing air into dusty corners merely stirs up the dirt and drives it into other nooks and crannies. Why did they invent vacuum cleaners but to pull dust up into a canister, safely secured until it could be emptied outside the house? Read More»

One-Hoss Shay

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Remember “The one-hoss shay,” an Oliver Wendell Holmes poem about an open carriage built by the deacon who used only the strongest, most hardened materials? Every component was exactly as strong as every other. That chaise wasn’t about to wear out, but everything in it would break down at once.

One hundred years to the day after it was completed, it collapsed into splinters:

“[I]t went to pieces all at once, –
All at once, and nothing first, –
Just as bubbles do when they burst.” Read More»

Mary's summer plans

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Our German daughter Mary really wanted us to join her when she has vacation time this year. As it turns out, we ran into some staggering expenses and simply couldn’t afford it this year.

Among her suggestions for a shared vacation: Oaxaca, Mexico, where a medical group was soliciting for people to participate in studies, all expenses paid. We all but begged her not to apply – this was when drug violence was really flaring up in Mexico earlier this year – and were relieved beyond words when she wrote and said she missed the deadline. Read More»

Chicken in every pot

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Just about the time you’re convinced that your editor doesn’t read your stuff, he chides you for miscrediting a quotation and sends you back to the dictionary. No wonder I sometimes “forget” to copy him when I send my column in.

But a “misassigned” quotation in last week’s Pulitzer-worthy epic about armadillos caught his eye. This is one of those situations in which something is defined not by what it is, but by what it isn’t. Read More»