Randy Smith: Preserving Sanity

Friday, July 18, 2014 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The older one gets, the harder it seems to be to hang onto one’s sanity. Years ago my wife Shelia and I bought a small pop-up camper for our college graduation present. We camped in it a couple of years and even joined the Sequatchie Valley Ramblers Campers’ Club. This was in the mid-1970s and by the time Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States, we had moved up to a small camping trailer. Within a year, that small camping trailer had been replaced by a thirty-foot trailer with a pair of doors and two air conditioners. We had been hooked. When we went camping we took almost all of our earthly belongings. Camping became a chore rather than a recreational outing, so in the early 1980s we sold our camper and got out of the camping business.

We stayed out of the camping business until October of 2013, when we purchased a twenty-six foot camping trailer. The trailer has two doors, like our last camper, but only one big air conditioner. It’s a bit easier to camp now than it was thirty years ago. You no longer have to light a pilot light for the water heater, because it’s on automatically and can be run off propane gas or electricity. The awning opens easier now and with a brand new Ford F-150 pick-up truck to pull it, it’s much easier to get from campground to campground.  I’m saying all that to say this; backing in a tough place is not easier than it was. After more than thirty years and a lot of age on the driver, I have had a tough time backing into a camp spot without getting dizzy. I prefer the pull through campsites, rather than a back-in, for obvious reasons.

Since we bought our camper last fall, we have been to four different campgrounds, all county or state park facilities; Harrison Bay State Park, Cumberland Mountain State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park and Chester Frost Park in north Hamilton County. There have been quite a few improvements at Chester Frost in the last thirty years or so, but the state parks look the same way they did in the 1970s; with the exception of Harrison Bay.   

Harrison Bay has completely remodeled one entire section of camping facilities, with the new section being opened on July first. The sites are large, paved, and shady. For once we have a real modern section to pull our camper to, and a lot of sites are right on the waters of Lake Chickamauga. Perhaps the biggest advantage to camping now is the fact that Harrison Bay is a mere twenty minutes from our house in Hixson. Chester Frost is still a little more than ten minutes away, but it’s always too packed this time of year, and they don’t take reservations at Chester Frost. They also don’t have a swimming pool at the Hamilton County facility, but the one at Harrison Bay is like brand new and is huge.

To camp just to preserve your sanity, (if you have any left) is meaningless unless you have fun. We have truly enjoyed our little camper and will likely buy another bigger, nicer unit within the next year or two. As I finish writing this column I can hear the birds sing, the roar of distant motor boats on the lake and the sound of a small billy goat coming from inside our camper. It’s actually our youngest granddaughter CoraLee who makes that sound when she cries. (Unlike the sound of a mashed cat her older sister Dellamae made)

Earlier this morning, our oldest grandchild, Coleman was forced to sit in “time out” by my wife for trying to place sea shells over my eyes. This was just before his two-year-old brother Boone arrived and fell twice in five minutes while climbing on the picnic table.

Oh the joys of camping…..and preserving my sanity.  

-----

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have four grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, DellaMae and CoraLee.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Lookouts Rally Falls Short In Thursday's 7-6 Loss To Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts battled back with two runs in the ninth inning, but could not complete the comeback against the Tennessee Smokies Thursday night at AT&T Field. The 7-6 loss evens the series at one game a piece. The loss drops the Lookouts'record to 20-27.    David Freitas   was the catalyst for the Smokies' offense on Thursday night. The 27-year ... (click for more)

Peterson's Emotional Race Helps Signal Mountain Win

MURFREESBORO – It’s one thing to win one state championship in track.  It becomes a tougher challenge to repeat and at times impossible to even think about a three-peat. But that’s what the Signal Mountain Lady Eagles did here at the Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University early Thursday evening. Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Attorney Says Lacie Stone, Advisor To Mayor Berke, Is Victim, Not Instigator

The attorney for advisor to Mayor Andy Berke Lacie Stone said she has been thrust into the spotlight, but said she is "the victim of an unprovoked attack" by her husband, Bobby Stone. Attorney John Cavett said it is ridiculous "to suggest that she was the perpetrator." Mr. Stone is facing charges of domestic assault and vandalism. Attorney Cavett said, "It is unfortunate ... (click for more)

Dr. Russell Dyer Chosen As Director Of Schools By Cleveland City School Board

The Cleveland City School board unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to offer the job of director of Schools to Dr. Russell Dyer. Dr. Dyer serves as the chief of staff of schools in Collierville, Tn.  If Dr. Dyer accepts the school board's contract, he will be paid $132,500 a year.  After contract negotiations, the board plans for Dr. Dyer to start at Cleveland City ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Judge's Night Behind Bars

There is very little doubt that retired Army Sergeant Joe Serna has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving three tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. Once he barely avoided being blown up by a hidden IED and then there was another terrifying brush with a suicide bomber. But the worst was when a truck he was in slid off the roadway into a canal. “It was like ... (click for more)