Roy Exum: Man’s Need To ‘Jaw’

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

On the first day of every month, I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a stroll in “my garden.” I mix up the “orchids” (good stuff) and “onions” (bad stuff) that has idled in my brain from the month before and most people seem to like it. I know I do. One of the “onions” for this January read like this: “AN ONION to the disappointing realization Chattanooga no longer has Bill Kilbride in our midst with the Chamber of Commerce and that Bob Corker will end his Senate run this year. You’d be hard pressed to find two people within 50 miles of MLK and Market who have been better ‘heavy lifters’ for us.”

I really believe that. Both are wonderful friends of mine and, after Kilbride molded our Chamber into the very best in the nation, we must be eternally grateful for the really big stuff he has made happen. Bill hasn’t yet whispered where he plans to smack his next home run but, brother, mine will be the loudest cheers as he rounds the bases. You can count on that.

Corker’s a little different. He’s on the world stage. There was a wonderful story in the Nashville Tennessean about the newspaper naming him as 2017’s “Man of the Year.” In Tennessee. I mean, he’s a guy who calls the leader of Russia by his first name -- “Vladimir” -- and takes no sass from the President of the United States. We’ve been friends since high school and, other than the fact our state’s elected Republican officials are too gutless to confront the vermin that continues to sore Tennessee Walkers in this very state, I am a huge admirer of Bobby’s.

Not only will we miss Corker’s wisdom and vision in the Senate, our entire nation will too. I don’t blame him -- after two terms he’s had enough of our dysfunctional government (I think) -- but here’s what really surprised me. In the eight years Bobby’s been in Washington, I don’t believe he has ever asked a favor or whined about something I’ve written or “asked for ink,” as many politicians are wont to do.

But on January 1, hours after my monthly “garden” report appeared, Corker sent me an email: “I appreciate so much your words today. Been a tough quarter, and the untruths if the last several weeks hard to take. I hope you have a productive and meaningful New Year. Thank you for your friendship. And again, thank you again for today. What a privilege it has been to be able to serve.”

I wrote him back, telling him that the next time he’s home, and has a hole in his schedule, to whistle me up and we’ll “jaw” a bit. I hope he does.

The art of “Jawing” is darn near lost in this world turned plastic by cell phones, Twitter, and CNN but I’ve been a lifetime devotee of the “jaw.” It is the way I was raised. The first time I was ever invited to “jaw” was by the late Merv Pregulman, the University of Michigan football Hall-of-Famer, who worked unknown wonders in our city after marrying the ever-wonderful Helen Siskin and settling here.

Merv was always happy when I would stop by Siskin Steel and, lordy, I loved to “jaw” with him. Maybe it’s a Yankee word, I’ve really never thought about it. But there is nothing more fun than “jawing” with one another when there is no pressing reason to talk. It stokes your soul and reminds you that a solid friendship is a blessing for every one of God’s children. The biggest thing is something good will come from any visit, so help me that’s true.

Another thing: You “jaw” with a guy but you “visit” with a woman. I don’t imagine many females who wouldn’t get nervous if you suggested to “jaw” with them but for two or more guys it’s a real blessing. Some have coffee together in the mornings and some meet for beer after work. Before the legendary T-Bones finally closed on Chestnut Street, the back room would be empty until a little after 4 every afternoon but some days you couldn’t find a chair after 5. And the funny thing was by 7 o’clock just about everybody would have gone home. It wasn’t about beers with your buddies, it was to “jaw” I’m telling you.

Wouldn’t you love to “jaw” with Bobby Corker? Fifty years ago we did it between classes at City High School. For those who know how to “jaw,” we’ll pick up right where we left it and never miss a lick.

royexum@aol.com


Jim Bethune Is The Best Choice For East Ridge Mayor

I wanted to offer my support for Jim Bethune for mayor of East Ridge.  Jim has been an East Ridge boy for a long time, served his country in the military and came back home after his service.  He has been here through thick and thin and even when (just being honest) we have not agreed on everything we respected each other’s opinions without harming our friendship.  ... (click for more)

Vote For Danielle Mitchell

I am a 71 year old who lives in Chattanooga.  I am writing to urge you to vote for Danielle Mitchell for Congress.  She has been our family doctor for five years, so I know her and I trust her.  Please help send Dr. Mitchell to Washington where she can help to heal our country.  She is very smart and extremely passionate about fighting for regular folks ... (click for more)

City "Moves Away" From $4 Million Light Show On Walnut Street Bridge

The city is no longer pursuing a plan for a $4,050,000 light show on the Walnut Street Bridge. Dennis Malone, assistant city engineer, told City Council members on Tuesday, "We have moved away from that project." The council had earlier pulled capital funding that had been proposed for the "Ripples of Light" on the historic "walking bridge" that dates to 1891. “Ripples ... (click for more)

Developer Of Publix Grocery At St. Elmo To Go Before Variance Board

The developer of a planned Publix grocery in St. Elmo will go before the City Board of Zoning Appeals on Nov. 7 seeking three variances. Mike Price of MAP Engineers said the grocery has been working with community members to try to come up with an acceptable plan for the site where the former Mt. Vernon Restaurant and Pizza Hut are located. There has been controversy over ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins First Match In State Volleyball

MURFREESBORO – The first match of the 2018 TSSAA State Volleyball Tournament is in the books for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. The defending Division II, Class AA state champs defeated Father Ryan for the third time this season, Tueday’s match by a 3-1 final at Blackman High School. Wednesday's second match at Siegel High School will be against the Briarcrest Saints, who improved ... (click for more)

East Hamilton Roars Back To Beat Camden, 3-1, In Class 2A State Vollleyball Tourney

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Sleepwalking through a lethargic first set after driving from Chattanooga, East Hamilton awoke and stormed past Camden, 3-1, Tuesday in the first round of the Class 2A state volleyball tournament at Middle Tennessee State University. Scores were 25-9, 22-25, 16-25 and 20-25. The Lady Canes (29-2), who have won 22 straight matches, advanced to the semifinals ... (click for more)