Roy Exum: New Year’s Eve, 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I found myself wondering what if it had been the other way around yesterday. It certainly could have, you know. And the answer that I found to my self-imposed question gave me a pre-dawn glow as I smiled and turned the newspaper page early Monday morning.

You’ll remember that Robin Roberts, the popular co-host of “Good Morning America,” was blanketed with the prayers of a Christian nation in August when it was revealed she had MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease, and ever since millions of us have followed her stem-cell recovery closely in the hopes the treatments will work.

But Sunday, as we giggled over her early success at the 100-day mark and triumphed over the fact her doctors have allowed her dog to be reunited with her, Robin very properly and I might add very gracefully gave thanks to those who have helped her the most. "I am grateful for my entire family, my longtime girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together," she wrote on her Facebook page.

Yes, you read that right … Amber Laign, a massage therapist in the San Francisco Bay area, and Robin have been together for over ten years in a same-sex relationship. Robin also wrote, "Flashback 12/29/12....Hard to believe this was 1 year ago today ... when I reached a critical milestone of 100 days post transplant ...

“Reading this comforts me and I hope the same for you: 'If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present,'" she continued. "At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude."

* * *

The first thing I want to do on this last day of the year is to say how proud I am that, so help me, I cannot think of one person on my list of assorted friends who would dare ask that I take back a handful of personal prayers I have petitioned on behalf of Robin Roberts. I had no idea she was gay, or that she would “come out” on such a monumental day for a stem-cell recipient

But as I read my newspaper and sipped my coffee in the morning cold, I was stuck by the silent thought: What if we had known? I’m not exactly the Duck Commander when it comes to matters such as this but I suspect the public’s sympathy for an accomplished and poised television announcer might not have been quite what it was in August.

That is why, as a New Year arrives tonight, our resolution should be that we’ll continue to search for ways that all of us can walk this road of life together, holding hands with those who may be different from others when the way gets rocky and steep. As long as we will care about one another, we will always have a chance. And, by golly, I’m glad that dog who loves Robin finally got to come home on Sunday, too.

THE HEADLINE OF THE YEAR was on the front page of Monday’s Chattanooga Times Free Press. It read “Desjarlais: Look at my record, not my past.”

NINE-YEAR-OLD JOSHUA WADE underwent a simple endoscopy procedure at a Children’s Hospital in Colorado last week and everything went fine. Seems the little guy has reflux problems and a gluten-free diet will help. But as Joshua was being sedated for the procedure, his snuffed animal, “Wolfie” fell from his arms and Dr. Christine Hurtado noticed the well-worn comfort toy had a bad tear on a shoulder seam. When Josh came out of anesthesia, “Wolfie” was wearing a surgical mask, gloves on each hand, a bandage where a nimble-fingered surgeon had sewn the tear together, and a Band-Aid covering Wolfie’s IV site. Joshua is reporting “Wolfie” is “all better.”

VANDERBILT’S CODY STOTHERS has just been told he will receive a full scholarship to the prestigious medical school, which is pretty good for a baby who was born in an Arkansas prison and raised by a disabled grandmother. “We brought him home from prison on Christmas Eve,” his grandmother told reporters when the marvelous story was learned. It gets better: Two Vanderbilt professors, husband and wife Billy and Julie Hudson, started a program called Aspirnaut some years ago to help gifted kids in rural areas. The brainy Stothers, from tiny Sheridan, Ark., was asked to help younger kids work with a computer installed on a bus by Aspirnaut and now he will be a medical student taught by the Hudsons!

REMINDER OF THE YEAR: For years New Year’s Ever has been unofficially recognized throughout the world as “Amateur Night.” If you don’t need to be out, it is the one night of the year best spent at home. Local and state law enforcement officials will be out in abundance and, if you think a taxi is expensive, you haven’t paid attention to the check-in rates at area hoosegows.

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.

CHORUS:

On Old long syne my Jo,
On Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On Old long syne.

royexum@aol.com




What Is Conservatism?

 What is being a conservative really all about? Of late more and more of the news is talking about conservatives in D.C. wanting - urging really - for the country to embrace being a conservative.   I really don't know what that means. In the world around us those that speak the loudest are the few with money, lots of it. Koch Brothers, Mercer Family and even ... (click for more)

My Experience With The Assessor’s Board Of Equalization

According to the Hamilton County Website, the County Board of Equalization “hears appeals from citizens who do not agree with their property assessments.” That sounds good. I sure don’t agree with mine. It “exists to give every property owner a chance to be heard. The goal is not to be an appraiser, but to decide values based on consistency, equity, and evidence. When properties ... (click for more)

Sweeping New Off Ramp, Frontage Road Off I-24 Eastbound Near U.S. Pipe Planned; $37 Million TDOT Project Will Have Signalized Connections To Broad, Market

A sweeping new off ramp for traffic coming into Chattanooga around Moccasin Bend on I-24 is planned, along with a new frontage road by the freeway that will have signalized connections to Broad, Williams and Market streets.   The $37 million project will replace a confusing set of freeway off and on loops along this section, including one near Howard School. ... (click for more)

Witnesses Say 69-Year-Old Jogger And Alleged Rapist Were Both Bruised Up After 2014 Encounter

Witnesses said a 69-year-old jogger and his alleged teen attacker were both bruised up during their 2014 encounter in North Chattanooga. Diontae Smartt, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, is standing trial for aggravated rape in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole. He is free on bond. The male jogger took the witness stand at the start of the trial, saying he was attacked ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Gets Revenge With Boyd-Buchanan

The Notre Dame volleyball team may have felt they let one get away in the championship match of the Hixson Invitational Saturday afternoon against the Boyd-Buchanan Lady Buccaneers, but they were bound to not let it happen again. At least, not during a home match against these same Lady Bucs Tuesday evening in the rowdy confines of their Jack Steiner Sr. Gymnasium. The Lady ... (click for more)

Despite Sloppy Finish, Lady Raiders Sweep McMinn

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Cleveland High School’s volleyball team came close to completely satisfying its coach Tuesday. The Lady Raiders then got lazy. Coach Trish Flowers, who has another state tournament contender on her hands this season, let the squad feel her displeasure in the postgame huddle. “I was within just a few minutes of being in a good mood,” said Flowers, ... (click for more)