From Sunday's TIMES and NEWS-STAR
Somewhere, there’s a guy named Cliff Fiscal who is really upset with his parents during these trying financial times for not naming him Bob…or even Sue.
It was a haul around here during Christmas. I feel confident going into the new year, as Santa left me a gross of new high-quality underwear. If this underwear were a football team, it would be playing Alabama for the national championship tomorrow night. Tiny Tim would turn a backflip over my 100-percent cotton good fortune.
It is funny how a man’s idea of what makes up a “good gift” changes as he putters along through life. Good underwear is underrated in youth but is a worthy treasure in life’s early autumn. It’s the little things. Sweet!
Also scored some pictures of my people, which I like. The Picture People can do anything with pictures these days. I have pictures of my people on a calendar, on coasters, and even on a puzzle, which I plan to put together and frame. I puzzle my people sometimes, so it is surprising that the puzzle picture wasn’t of me, along with a note: “Here. YOU try to figure you out. We give up.”
Check this out: My baby sis cross-stitched a Christmas tree for me and framed it. The ornaments are buttons that were on clothes belonging to both my momma and grandmother. Teddy wept.
Speaking of weeping, many did when the Hostess people quit making Twinkies this year. The good news is that the shelf life of those things are about the same as the shelf life of granite, so you should be able to hang in there with your current stash until the recipe is sold and other bakers start churning out the handy, easily edible treat again.
Speaking of things we lost this year, two of everyone’s favorite Andys: Griffith and Williams. Genuine to the end.
It also hurt me that Jack Klugman, 90, and Charles Durning, 89, each passed away, on Christmas Eve. In a next-day story, the New York Times referred to these two as “extraordinary actors ennobling the ordinary.” Bingo. It didn’t get any better than Klugman as my favorite sportswriter in “The Odd Couple” or Durning as my favorite assistant coach and mythical ex-Terrapin, Coach Johnson, in “North Dallas Forty.” (Coach Johnson screaming at a player: “If you moved any slower, you’d be going backwards!”)
Speaking of favorites, everybody’s favorite column writer is enjoying times at Ruston’s Huddle House and reading again. Wiley Hilburn has been home in Choudrant since Thanksgiving, “enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of good hamburgers,” wife Kate reported. “Wiley is gaining weight, able to drive, walk and enjoy every sports broadcast on both TV and radio.”
I am asked about Wiley nearly every day, which is a beautiful thing. He was in a “chemo fog” for a bit, but that has cleared now. He at was able to read “Team of Rivals” and also finished the November-released book on Churchill, the final one of William Manchester’s Churchill trilogy, (written in part by Paul Reid, friend and fan of the deceased Manchester.)
Wiley returns to Little Rock for tests this month; all is well now. Kate writes to you: “We agreed that we are especially grateful to our friends and family for the support, prayers, food, favors, encouragement and basically making it possible for us to survive this year of living on the line. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”