• Buckwheat’s, a new place in town just opened.
    I was close to ecstatic when I realized the second word, (in much smaller print), after “Buckwheat’s,” was “BBQ.”
    One of my all-time favorite things to do in this lifetime was to get up early and meet my good friend Joe Faggione for a hearty breakfast of buckwheat pancakes.
    Now I search far and wide and cannot find a restaurant that serves those delicious, dark buckwheats.

  • From a teacher’s point of view, a child’s academic mistakes are worth their weight in gold. I really, really wish they wouldn’t be punished. Corrected, yes; punished, no. If a child is punished for making mistakes on a sheet of paper, either through bad grades, scolding or just simple disapproval (and coming from a respected adult, there is nothing simple about that disapproval), the child is going to go to great lengths to avoid punishment. It is human nature.

  • As my wife, Judy, waved to me through our office window from the backyard and flashed that beautiful smile of hers toward me, it warmed my heart.
    This wonderful woman, wife and mother spends most of her day performing tasks around the house and yard to please me.
    She is what most of us would call an “old-fashioned housewife” — she’s very clean, fussy, and makes other women feel uncomfortable whenever they visit us.

  • If the state of Florida is serious about helping each child succeed in school and reach full potential as an adult, it needs to find a radically different way to conduct business.

  • “Hon, come quick! Look at the bluebird on the fence,” Judy called out to me hurriedly.
    I didn’t waste any time in rushing to the large kitchen window where she pointed to a proud, male bluebird sitting atop our fence in a dignified manner.
    His body was of that lush, deep blue, only a male Eastern bluebird possesses. His breast was prominent, displaying a magnificent shade of fiery orange.
    He allowed us to admire him for an instant before he flew away into the azure sky.

  • BY Bill Hoatson

  • “Tra-la-la, tweedlee dee dee, it gives me a thrill to wake up in the morning to the mockin’ bird’s trill.”
    I’ll bet many of you remember those unforgettable song
    For those of you too young to remember this great singing lady from long ago, those are just some of the words from one of her most famous songs, “Mockin’ Bird Hill.”

  • Usually in February my thoughts begin to wander toward the joys of the upcoming spring.
    School curriculums should be doing the same thing, but are not, becoming bogged down over increasing testing concerns. This sterility of the school atmosphere is a shame, because spring offers unprecedented opportunities for a real, diversified and hands-on education for all children.
    They should be planting and tending to gardens instead of being stuck in testing centers.

  • Have you ever experienced an epiphany?
    I believe most of us have at least a time or two in our lives.
    “Epiphany” is defined as a time of sudden and profound understanding of something, as a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.
    For example, someone has lost a set of keys and has been looking for them when suddenly has an idea of where they are.
    Another definition would be an appearance or manifestation, especially of a divine being.

  • It seems that ever since my wife and I have been able to stream our movies all I’ve been watching lately are “chick flicks.”
    I don’t have a problem with my male ego or machismo and would readily confess to anyone, I watch more than my share of the Lifetime and Hallmark movie channels.
    In fact, I enjoy a good many of them and shed a tear or two over a good love story that focuses around a couple with some substance and likeability.

  • Thank you, dear friends, for taking the time to email me some of your thoughts on my recent columns.
    Most of my loyal readers must know by now how much I value any feedback you are willing to offer about the worth of this
    I’ve shared with you more than once how much I love writing for you each week and am honored to be doing so and now entering into my eighth year.
    I am used to sharing the loneliness that so many writers experience often in our

  • By Jack Levine
    It was late August 1963. I was 12. I remember my father calling me into his room. The radio was on, and I heard cheering.  It was not a baseball game kind of cheer.....it seemed louder and longer. It was a sustained roar.
     My dad, aged 72 and blind, pointed in the direction of the radio with one hand, and put his other index finger to his lips....he was telling me to be quiet....and to listen.

  • It’s been a while since I’ve taken early morning walks in the cold.
    Not since living in Tucson a decade ago do I recall walking with gloves and hat on when the temperatures were at the freezing mark.
    The only difference is that in Tucson I wore my cowboy hat, and here, in Aiken, I wore my Carolina Gamecocks baseball cap.
    What I thought most about along my walk this morning is how fortunate I am to have a wonderful, brick home with plenty of heat and hot water, and living like royalty compared to those who are homeless.

  • In retrospect, it would have been a great idea to ask all the staffers here at the Times to write a few paragraphs about what they’re thankful for this edition. Everybody’s list is always different because every life path is different, even though some may run parallel for a long, long time.
    But once a parallel line starts deviating by any amount — even  just a degree or two, over time the separation becomes more and more pronounced until those lines wind up in vastly different places.

  • As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember that the holiday’s name is a compound word — Thanks and Giving. Take these few moments to consider my ideas for enhancing Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season ahead.
    Each of us has much to be thankful for —our lives, families, friendships and work that fulfills us.  While there is no perfection in life, let’s admit that the glass is more than half full for most of us, most of the time.

  • The baseball season is finally over, and the New York Mets did not win it all.
    Yes, the Kansas City Royals, a truly better team won the World Series.
    I remain proud of my Mets. Who wouldn’t be, when your favorite team won a National League pennant for the first time since 2000?
    However, more important, for me, are two players from the Mets who really stood out as heroes and role models for our kids.

  • A few Saturdays ago I had to take my time getting back home because of tourists lurching down the road on Segways. That’s right, Segways in Quincy.
    Until then the only place I had seen them used by sightseers was in downtown Chicago.
    I think the Porchfest organizers deserve kudos for continuing the quirky tradition of live music outdoors at private homes and for the teamwork that brought the Segways here.

  • “Semper Paratus” is the U.S. Coast Guard’s motto; it means “always ready.” It has been one of my life’s guiding principles to live by.
    Humility is another of the goals I strive for on a daily basis.
    Trying to be humble, when I am able, requires much continual prayer.
    Sept. 23 marked the 56th anniversary of the day I entered the Coast Guard on active duty.
    My long association with the outfit has made more of an impact on my life than anything.

  • I hope you are one moved in a positive way to the beauty and splendor of autumn and able to observe the spectacular changes of color at this wonderful time of year.
    Most Floridians, outside of Gadsden County would probably have to drive fairly long distances to view the fall foliage.
    My wife and I missed viewing the fall colors while we lived in Florida.
    Before I left New England, I was always awed by the beauty of autumn and the graceful falling of the leaves of red, brown, green and yellow.

  • Many South Carolinians living in Aiken County have lost their homes or can’t gain access to them because of high flood water.
    Judy and I have once again been spared from the wrath of nature, or could it be the wrath of God?
    Too often lately I’m convinced that our God, for reasons too deep to fathom, has spared us from peril or loss of our home and property.
    I’m certain one day soon none of us will be spared from the wrath of God and mankind will no longer exist on this wonderful planet we call Earth.