Notes from the Southwest Corner: Potpourri and the weather

As i noted on FaceBook, i am still working on getting this new website working the way i want it to work. This column was written last Tuesday, October 13, when it should have had a link to the Democrat’s publishing it, not today, as was done a bit earlier.

Oh, this is so confusing. i do plan to get better at it, but sometimes golf gets in the way.

SAN DIEGO  – I spent last week wondering what to write here.
No idea seemed suited for a complete column. When I became The Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times sports editor in 1972, I announced there would not be a daily column, as my predecessor, Jack Case (who gave Raymond Robinson his nickname of “Sugar Ray”) had written for more than 40 years).  I believed there would be times (there were) when I would just be making up stuff.

Writing here for eight years has changed my opinion. There is always something to write about. Yet sometimes, there is nothing requiring a full column. If I were in Lebanon, I could certainly pursue a couple of topics included here, but alas, I’m not. So I must channel Fred Russell again and devote this column to potpourri, specifically weather-related potpourri.

Southwest Corner

We really do spend a lot of time talking about the weather.

I have spent the last quarter of a century boasting about Southwest corner weather, and now, I’m going to have to rein in such bragging.

It’s been almost two months of Tennessee August out here. High temperatures have hovered around 90 degrees, and the humidity has been higher than I can remember. Maureen and I are aware of this because we never put air-conditioning in our home of 25 years. Didn’t need it. Oh, there were a couple of days every year or so when a Santa Ana would come rolling through and it was a little bit warm. But the weather patterns have changed, and these past few months are different from the norm.

Surprisingly, we coped, confirming I prefer fresh air if at all possible.

Heights Homecomings

Meanwhile, it appears this weekend’s Castle Heights homecoming weather was like what I remember from mine as a cadet. I wish I could have been there this year. Autumn is only a charade in the Southwest corner. CHMA Homecoming autumn remains a pleasant memory.

The bordering trees on the drive up the hill were splendiferous in rust, red, and yellow. The football field was decked out fully. Cadet dates were splendid in their fall suits with the mums pinned on their jackets. The maroon and gold uniforms matched the autumn colors perfectly. I could smell autumn.

It was a special time in a special place. Sometimes I think my faulty memory has erred. It just couldn’t have been that wonderful.

homecoming 1
Homecoming, Castle Heights Military Academy, 1961: Alan McClellan, Sandy Colley, Sharry Baird, Mary Hugh Evans, and an unidentified cadet and his date. Sandy, from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was my date for the weekend.


During this weekend’s evenings, I watched the PGA President’s Cup golf tournament in Inchon, South Korea. The Americans won a nail biter, 15½ to 14½, great drama. Bill Haas needed to tie the hole for a USA win. If Bae Sang-moon won the hole, the Cup would be shared. Bae, a South Korean, was playing in his last PGA event for two years. The 29-year old will begin his required military service next month. The drama turned to sadness when he chunked his third shot, a chip, assuring the U.S. victory. I wanted the American team to win. I did not want the Internationals to lose…if that makes sense.

Equally impressive was the new Inchon in the backdrop. The last time I was in Inchon was 1975. It was a different place. The city was dirty and, in some places, squalid. I recall lots of small, dark and musty casinos. But of course, sailors migrated toward such environments on overseas liberty. The positive change to an amazingly modern and beautiful city was shocking.

Over the four-day, 30-match tournament when the cameras panned out to the Yellow Sea with commercial ships at anchorage, recollection of South Korea weather came flooding back. The tournament experienced 30-knot wind several days. Rain pelted everyone for almost the entire proceedings on day two. The announcers noted the apparent temperature was hovering around 40 degrees.

I’ve been there. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a colder, windier, wetter place than when entering Korean waters beyond the summer months, even October.

Not much to do about it

The unusual heat in the Southwest corner is dissipating. In a week, we should be back to our normal winter averages of mid-70 highs and mid-50 lows. But El Niño is predicted to bring lots of much needed rain soon. There’s not a great deal we can do about the weather.

But it would be nice to be at an October homecoming at Castle Heights.

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