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Familyspeak is a real thing. It consists of the language within a family or other close-knit group unique to the members therein. Generally, words and phrases under this heading are based on a specific incident or verbal exchange solely within the clan or tribal unit.

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“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Human nature coaxes us to appear at our very best. Some exhibit a public demeanor and a very different private one. As we struggle to appear perfect, we must not fall into the trap of deceit and hypocrisy despite the fact that there is a bit of Dr. Jekyll as well as Mr. Hyde within our makeup.

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None of us chooses our own name (at least not the original one). Let that sit for a moment. You might be John or Steve or Julie or Lisa, but not by choice. Most likely, your name came by the choice of your parents.

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Editor’s note: Guest writers featured in The News Courier are expressing their personal observations and opinions. While the newspaper does seek to ensure these columns are based on fact, the comments are the sole responsibility of the authors.

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Although I could probably name a dozen bad things about the pandemic, there are some very notable positives at work. Families are spending more time at home, which I feel is a welcome change to the busy and overloaded schedules that have become the norm. Folks are taking up hobbies, getting …

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Way back yonder in the Appalachian holler, before indoor plumbing and other luxuries, during the winter or inclement weather, every house had one or more chamber pots. That was the formal name and a more acceptable phrase in social circles; however, they were also known by various other name…

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I consider myself to be frugal. I bang on the ketchup bottle to get the last drop, save newspapers to use in garden beds, use old shower curtains as painting drop cloths, and I clip coupons — although, I usually end up at the store without them. But, hey, I try.

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Abraham Lincoln is attributed with saying, “A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.”

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Is your garden overflowing with vegetables, and is your family giving you the death stare when you put down another plate of zucchini or squash? It may be time to freeze some of these veggies for use during the months when they aren’t freely growing in the garden.

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Do you dread Monday? I used to, but retirement renders sameness to most days. Still, the reputation for Monday and misery go hand in hand.

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I’m not sure of the exact definition of "middle age." I guess it depends on how long you plan to live. I’m not ready to publicly admit to middle-agedness, as I plan to live forever, but I am beginning to get a feel for some of the changes that happen during the F-word decades.

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I am one of those citizens who is proud to be from the quaint little historic town of Athens, Alabama. Throughout my years in the military, whenever someone asked me where I was from, I always said Athens. Some claimed to be from larger cities, like Huntsville or Birmingham, but I always cla…

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Editor’s note: Guest writers featured in The News Courier are expressing their personal observations and opinions. While the newspaper does seek to ensure these columns are based on fact, the comments are the sole responsibility of the authors.

When we were stationed in Germany, we had a landlord that had a huge garden. My husband was there a few months before me and had told the landlord that I was a chef. When I finally got there, he came over to meet me and, somewhere in the conversation, asked if I had ever made pickles. I told…

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What country kid hasn’t had an encounter with a mean rooster? If not, you probably witnessed one. Either way, you understand the reality of pure panic.

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We are living in unprecedented times. Tough times. A virus has torn our nation apart. The murder of a man — and too many others like him — has torn our nation apart. We as a people have torn ourselves apart in some regards. It is beyond sad — for our country and us as individuals.

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The dreaded anniversary has come and gone once again. Aug. 4, 2000, changed our lives forever as we learned the tragic news of our 32-year-old son’s death in another state.

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As this is International Assistance Dog Week, I thought I would share with you information provided by the USA Service Dog Registration concerning the differences between service and emotional support animals.

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You might not have known, but when I was an owlet, I spent a lot of time thinking. After all, I can only say so much, so I guess I substituted a lot of quiet time thinking. 

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This past spring, a large number of my neighbors and I decided we were going to revamp the flower beds around our homes.

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Some folks don’t like to perform repetitive, boring, monotonous tasks. They seek excitement and exhilaration in a non-stop, perpetual whirlwind. Not me.

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As weird as it may sound, this is a question I’ve pondered lately. I’m willing to take a bet that very few reading this have thought about walleye (as in the fish) being in heaven. But you aren’t the daughter of my dad.

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I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of pumpkin. Now, I don’t go as far as to flavor my coffee with it, but baked and savory dishes that include pumpkin — especially pie — have a place at my table.

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Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "Christmas in July"? Nowadays, it is apparently when the Christmas items hit the shelves.

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My husband and I agree on many things. We share a lot of the same opinions and have even been known to finish each other’s sentence or have the same thought at the same time.

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This week’s question comes from a problem that I was having in my own backyard. My yard is sloped, and while that really isn’t a problem, it becomes one when we get an abundance of rain. We historically receive approximately 58 inches of rainfall per year, with about 32 inches typically fall…

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Sunday morning, I awoke to replay the events of a year ago yet again in my mind. We had made a quick trip to Michigan for the funeral of hubby’s brother-in-law. The day of his funeral, one of hubby’s two best friends slipped quietly to the other side of the veil.

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It was carried home on the last day of school with all the careful energy a 6-year-old can muster. It didn’t look like much at first glance: a basic yellow plastic cup, filled to the brim with smooth black dirt.

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Many years ago, the McElyeas and Smiths were part of a feud of the fiercest kind. What started it was a corn cob battle at the McElyea barn on their homestead. It became heated when Bumguard McElyea hit Loggerhead Smith up the side of his head with a corn cob that had been soaked in cow urin…

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Readers of this column will attest to the fact that I like words. Heck, you might even use the “love” word here. I love playing with words. I love learning about their origins. I love words that are my friends, or at least they seem like friends. I love lengthy words that stretch their sylla…

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There's something about the Fourth of July — a hot summer holiday celebrating the nation's independence — that is etched in my memories through the decades.

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Few summertime holidays elicit as much excitement in the United States as the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day. Each year, family, friends and revelers anticipate the arrival of the holiday so they can host barbecues, enjoy the sun, listen to their favorite summertime tunes and…

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As it turns out, we just thought we understood how much we needed better broadband accessibility in Alabama. Rural farmers, hospitals, and schools have been telling us for years that the inequality of our broadband infrastructure created two classes of Alabamians: internet haves and have-not…

What strange observations keep my Eye active in these times of pandemic? As one who grew up in a city, the only growth I recall was the multiplication of telephone poles, or the unrolling of streets ever farther and farther. Oh, and there was concrete, plenty of concrete. And bricks. So it i…

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Back in the 1930s and 1940s, when we were young, the things we enjoyed so much and looked forward to would be very dull and boring to kids today. When we had time off from school or working in the fields, we took advantage of every free minute.

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The Owl has had much time to reflect from his quarantine perch up here in the branches, observing our little world. Join me. Look around at all the people who come across your path today. Do you see them in person or online? Do you hear them on the phone? Who are they and why are they there? 

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Athens has hidden gems. Did you know that? With Depression-level unemployment, underemployment and hard times, there are people who will help. And help is here, free, for all of us.

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Have you ever awoken and the only thing you wanted to do was nothing? Without even opening my eyes, I roll over, pull the covers a bit snugger and embrace the comfort of my memory foam mattress amid the silence of the early morning.

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Now, you may think it impossible to enjoy fancy cooking on the banks of the river, but don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. For an appetizer, try the famous Blackbird on a Stick, roasted over an open fire. It will have your taste buds jumping for joy.

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