A few scraps from readers’ ‘doggy bags’

April 12, 2014 

Jim Stegall of Greensboro writes to say he enjoys the variety of subject matter found here.

“Your comments range from the salty to the sacred,” he wrote. “And that reminds me of what a friend, after listening to a particularly good sermon, told our minister at the door: “Preacher, your sermons remind me of a doggy bag. You always give us something to take with us.”

Columnists and preachers are a lot alike. Both enjoy compliments, no matter how they come packaged.

Today I am sharing some tidbits from readers’ “doggy bags.” I have the best bunch of readers a columnist could want. Somehow, your responses seem to reflect the best side of humanity. That’s not to say all of you approve of me or what I write. Nor should you.

Your responses offer a rich potpourri of pearls of wisdom, constructive ideas and heart-warming humor from your own lives. Checking your e-mails is reminiscent of when, as a kid, I would race to the mailbox after mailman Frank Bryant pulled away in his old Ford.

Your correspondence is a heckuva lot more entertaining than The National Republican or those seven-page handwritten letters from Grandma Holder enumerating her many ailments and noting her Winston-Salem doctors’ inability to cure them.


I received many responses to the “being poor” column that ran Feb. 16.

Raleigh artist Ronald Ragland wrote that on the first day of school, the teacher greeted him with, “You must be one of the Ragland boys.”

When he asked his mother how the teacher would have known that, she replied, “The teacher probably recognized those short, plaid pants you had on.”

“My brother had worn those same plaid pants for three years,” Ragland wrote, “and my cousin had worn them one year before it came my turn.”

Leadership ability

A Raleigh educator and friend responding to the May 9 “don’t want to be President” column recalls a student with apparent leadership ability. She was teaching sixth grade in Raleigh early in her career.

On a particularly stuffy day, one of the boys, without permission, walked to the back of the room and threw open the windows. “Somebody in this room has been eating pinto beans,” he announced as he marched back to his seat.

“With that kind of leadership ability I felt he might be president, if not of the USA, at least president of something,” my friend said with a chuckle.

Game for the ages

During the recent NCAA tournament, TV, radio and newspaper sports columnists have described some of the “games for the ages.” Let John Byrd of Raleigh describe a high school “game for the ages.”

“It was the Harnett County championship high school game played 50 years ago (in February) between Boone Trail and Angier that Boone Trail won 56-54 in 13 overtimes.

“Neither team scored in nine of the overtimes,” Byrd, a Boone Trail alum, recalled. “Amazingly, all 10 starters played the entire game, which ran so long officials worried that it would violate the state rule that sports events could not be played on Sunday.”

Dog tags

Your response to my March 23 column about my lost dog tags was overwhelming.

“I know exactly how you feel about your dog tags,” Ed Pryor wrote. “I served in Vietnam and Desert Storm and the Army Reserve for 27 years, and had two sets of dog tags. For good luck, I always wore my Vietnam tags.

“Shortly before returning to the U.S., I went to a gold market and arranged to have one set of my old tags gold plated. I presented them to my wife upon my return. She wore them proudly, and they were always a conversation piece. Most of the gold has long since rubbed off, but she still has them.”

What matters

Wendell Murray sends this food for thought:

“Eight members of the Army recently received Silver Stars for their actions in Afghanistan at a Fort Bragg ceremony.

“One of them caught an enemy hand grenade in mid-air and tossed it away to protect his fellow Americans.

“With the rampant fervor of the NCAA basketball playoffs and all of the ‘expert’ in-depth analysis of all the plays and players, all I gotta say is ‘Top that!’ HooAhhh!”

Snow: 919-836-5636 or

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