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  • First Law of Corporate Planning

    Anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything.

  • Beach’s Law

    No two identical parts are alike.

  • Shanahan’s Law

    The length of a meeting rises with the square of the number of people present.

  • Willoughby’s Law

    When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.

  • Cat Box

    i’m finding it a bit more difficult to write something meaningful about growing up in Lebanon. i mean between Lebanon Democrat columns and posts here, i’ve written a ton. Maybe i’m running out of material. Maybe i don’t remember as well as i used to remember.

    The other day, while working in my garage, making the third parking space an even better work/play place for me.

    My father and i turned it into a workshop when he and my mother were coming out every winter. We moved my father-in-law’s work table into one side, and Daddy built another workbench on the back wall. i hung my tools on the walls and filled up old organizers with nails, screws, and lord knows what. And then, of course, being me, i added some music machines that over the years have gone through a bunch of replacements and upgrades: there aren’t any newfangled things in that workshop. i added my LP albums and CDs. When Sarah left home, i moved the desk my father made for her out there. Over the years, i have added photos and art work that are no longer appropriate for Maureen’s beautiful and tasteful house decor.

    It’s not a “man cave.” That’s too trendy a term, an excuse for men to create some luxury lounge with a iMax size television to watch sports and drink beer, or perhaps whiskey. If i ever finish the renovations, it will be my escape, my briar patch, where i can go and wallow in memories of growing up in a beautiful (and ugly sometimes) time and place, where dreams have turned into pleasant memories. i took some photos but decided i would wait until it’s finished to my satisfaction to post, which, of course, means there will be no photos here because it will, like an innumerable number of my pursuits, never be finished to my satisfaction.

    And perhaps that is the nature of my life, and it is good to pursue, to chase satisfaction but unfulfilled. The chase. Ahh, the chase.

    But i, as i often do, digress. In this new renovation effort, i relocated CD’s. Those memories i couldn’t remember came flooding back. i found a CD of an LP album Billy “the Agent” Parsons introduced me to almost seventy years ago. Some Nashville dentist, a folk music pursurer had gone up into the woods of Grundy County, Tennessee and recorded Hamper McBee, a moonshiner and folk singer and teller of tales. i remembered hitting the apex of I-24 headed east right after it had been completed and seeing the tavern. i was told that if a white mule was tied to the hitching post, Hamper was inside giving the folks a thrill of tall tales and good ole hillbilly music. i regret i never went in but loved listening to Hamper, something most folks nowadays would find politically incorrect.

    But i loved Hamper, and i listened to the album with glee. Then, another one hit me in the head with memories. It was an Ernest Tubb, the Texas Troubadour, album. One of the tracks took me back. Ernest teamed with Loretta Lynn to cover Nat Stuckey’s song “Sweet Thang.” Ernest and Loretta’s version came out in 1967.

    Back in the late 50’s, our family would dine out on Sunday’s after church. We went to a number of local eateries. The name of this particular one is causing a brain fart in my recall. i will remember it hopefully before i finish this post. i think it was on the corner of Nashville Pike and Winwood, although it could have been Blair Lane. Later, Jimmy McDowell sold cars there. For Lebanon, it was high end dining. (Okay, some Lebanon folks help me here: i think the name started with an “S”). Sometime in the early 60’s, it closed and became one of the few beer and sandwich diners in the county.

    When i returned to pursuing a college degree in 1965, i was the night time FM disc jockey and engineer at WCOR FM five nights a week. i would close down the station at 10:30, lock up and head home. Except on a number of evenings, i would head to the new diner. i think they retained the old name, but Clayton and Katherine Birdwell ran the new place. We called it “Cat and Birdie’s.” They served beer, pizza, Stewart sandwiches, beer and sodas and beer, did i mention that?…as i recall. On the west side next to the wall was a shuffleboard table. i would have a couple of beers, play several games, listen the the good folks around the place before heading home.

    And, of course, they had a juke box. One evening and then, for a whole bunch of following evenings, one of the most played tunes was…yep, Ernest and Loretta singing “Sweet Thang.” The song was about a man cheating around on his woman with someone else in a bar. One of my favorite lines of all time was when Mabel (Loretta) barges into this bar and sings:

    Well, has anybody here seen my sweet thang?
    I got a notion he’ll be headed this a way
    ‘Cause when my sweet thang is out tom cattin’ around
    He’ll find a sandbox like this to play
    .

    Listening to those two singing those lyrics nearly sixty years and about 2500 miles ago, i was back shooting shuffleboard in one of the best periods of my life.

    Of course, just about every period of my life has been pretty good.

    And if you are looking for me, just remember when i am out tom cattin’ around, i find a cat box like that to play.